Well, it looks like the time has come for me and the Astra to part company.
I've had the gear problem slightly resolved by Vauxhall but still having trouble changing down from 4th to 3rd which means that the gearbox needs to be taken apart/repaired or that I need to get a new one fitted. The chap on the desk has suggested that another option may be to sell it to a VX dealer and run (or is he just saying that cos he wants it for himself! )
Anyway, I'm beginning to think that the last option may be the best for me as I've been thinking about a change for a good few months now and I've also recently discovered that I can get a car loan upto 10k through work (3% apr).
The question is, what to go for? Has to be fairly economical, not stupidly high on servicing (which sadly means no TVR Chimaera), and also practical(ish) as I need to be able to use it for work (I guess that means no elise/VX220). Insurance is also an issue with me being 22 (and a half), with 3 points which are now 4.5 years old. Got 5 years NCB though (well, I will in Jan).
A few thoughts so far:
Astra MK4 Cab (2.2 or turbo)
Seat Leon Cupra (could I stretch to an 'R')
Golf V6 4motion (not a huge fan and I'll always compare it to Dad's R32)
Civic Type R (which I think is currently my favorite)
High(ish) mileage or imported S2000
Old shape Audi S3 (but will probably be high mileage)
Also quite like Celicas but my mate has just got one so think that's a no no.
Mini Cooper Works*
Mini Cooper S*
Any other suggestions / comments?