I'm 36, and currently thrash about in my trusty X reg 1.6 8 valver Astra MK4. Cost me £2000 3 years ago, Full Motability History, 1 owner from new, 50000 miles.
It's not glamorous, it's not pristine, it's dented, it rattles a bit (although I know what that is, it's just tracking down a repair bit that's tricky), and it has 2 baby seats in it. It doesn't get the care it deserves, but it has yet to disgrace itself, and despite being a Club Spec and the "worst" 1.6 engine out there, it's comfy, it's happy to roll at 70 all day long, gets there nice and quick, and with the autobox in sports mode, it loves to rev..heh. Some people would call it naff, indeed I get several people saying "time to replace it".
I don't care, TBH. It does it's job, day in, day out. Carries me and the sprogs, provides me and DD with entertainment, handles beautifully (Astras handle best when pressing on, as witnessed by 40mph Roundabouts), is extremely predictable and stable in bad weather, and has paid for itself over and over again. Flies well, too.
I also own a 1.4 Auto on an M plate, that really does qualify for "naff", but it was only an emergency stopgap and now it's being broken for spares (most of the injection/cooling systems, ancillaries etc are common to MK3 and MK4). Before that I had a P reg MK3 1.6 Auto, that was a stunner but got written off. As I need autos, I'm limited to 1.4/1.61.8/2.0 in the older cars, but that's a nonissue...heh. New cars..nah, no fun. Older ones I can buy outright without worrying, and drive them without fear of dings.
When this Astra dies, I think I might go Zafira MK1, 1.6 or 1.8 auto..same chassis, 90%+ common parts, cheap as chips. My brother drives an SLK - nice, but it won't drive in bad conditions..TC on, power gets killed, barely moves. TC off, goes sideways. Makes me chuckle. I had no issues at all. Looks over practicality - you can keep it.