8/15/2016 update - STILL GOING STRONG W/173,489 miles.
I bought mine brand new in 2000. It is bright red with tan cloth interior. It is the base car with no power anything except brakes & steering. Exactly what I wanted! 3 speed automatic transmission and a 2.2L 4 cyl engine. Plenty of pep when it was new, a cold a/c, a hot heater, and no blind spots to speak of. I was in love with my car. For the first 10 years the only thing I did to it besides oil changes was a few recalls under warranty, and new brake pads/shoes. At 11 years I bought new tires, a battery, and had a tune up done. At 12 years the a/c compressor had to be replaced and it cost $600 at a mechanics shop, then little things here and there. The rear defrost went out at 127,000 miles - but I live in Alabama, so I never replaced it. At 140,000 miles I had my original serpentine belt and hoses replaced and an inline fuel filter put on. It has never run hot, and I have never let it get below 1/4 of a tank. It doesn't use or leak oil, it shifts like it has a shift kit in it and has since brand new. 16 years later it still runs good. At 167,840 miles It received its 3rd battery.
I have been driving this car for about 6 years and it has been pretty reliable overall. It has over 100,000 miles and still runs well. Some repairs needed include replacing the front wheel bearings, replacing the part that holds the muffler, and replacing the serpentine belt several times. At one time, the check engine light went on and the dealer said it needed new oxygen sensors. I did not get them replaced and it still runs fine and no longer has a check engine light on. There is some rust developing on certain parts, especially the side panel under the gasoline door. This car is easy and comfortable to drive. It is fast enough when you need it and still gets good mileage.
I've owned a z24 for 7 yrs. Bought it off lease with 50k and its been very reliable, cheap transportation. Never had anything but routine maintenance and minor stuff to do. I am actually surprised at how good this car has been as I didn't expect too much from a cavalier except economy. Everything about it is economical (repairs, mileage etc). Handling is good. Ok in winter but better get real good snow tires.
reliability, gas mileage (28-30 mpg)
road noise on highway, heater fan is crap at low setting
I bought this car in 2010, meaning it was already 10 years old. It had about 88,000 miles on it. For a 10 year old car, it sure didn't seem like one. Maybe because it's my first car and I'm just in love with the idea of a car but I think it is the greatest. It is very easy and cheap to maintain and runs great. I am very satisfied with the interior and exterior. There really isn't anything I feel I would change about this car.
The interior material, the radio (the stock radio is great), large back seat which is hard to come by with coupes, large trunk, GREAT gas mileage.
Heat vent that doesn't crack which is common with most cavaliers.