Got mine in 1995 at 52,000 miles and have since put 40,000 miles on it. AC worked great in TX. Starts on even the coldest days in MI. Control dome for wipers and alternator need changing in first 60K. Interior panels cheap and rattle like hell, keep coming off. But engine is reliable and has lot of low end torque. Steering fairly responsive, but lots of body roll. Excessive road and wind noise - especially on highway. Body of car still free of rust after 90K. Repairs to date: $3000 - changed alternator once, all brakes twice, shocks & struts once, battery twice and other small repairs. Radio quite powerful and has lot of bass.
Runs good and always starts on cold days, constantly has electrical problems. A great car to start out with, relatively hardy car. Had a power window motor go up in smoke (no damage). I would recommend looking over the wiring before buying. Other than that a great car with everything a student would need to get around.
This is my third Cavalier: I've had an '87 Z-24 (BEST CAR EVER!), '88 wagon, and now a '91 RS Sedan. I have never had any major problems with any of them. These cars are reliable - never afraid to take them anywhere! The radios are awesome with kickin' bass! The mileage has been superb and the comfort and styling of the Cavalier is the best!