Vauxhall is joining the green car party slightly late with its new Astra ecoFLEX, the most economical Astra in the range, which has a 1.7 turbodiesel engine producing CO2 emissions of just 119g/km and fuel consumption of 62.8mpg on the combined cycle.
The new model, which will be available in Hatch, Sport Hatch and estate guises, falls into the lowest Benefit in Kind tax band for company car drivers, while private buyers will only pay £35 per year in Vehicle Excise Duty thanks to its band B credentials.
The Astra 1.7 CDTi ecoFLEX produces 110PS, an increase of 10PS over the existing Astra 1.7 CDTi, which takes it to a top speed of 117mph.
Vauxhall’s engineers have achieved extra efficiency from the Astra’s 1.7 CDTi drivetrain by fitting a taller axle ratio, optimising the engine management system and reducing the engine’s idle speed.
In addition, the ecoFLEX’s kerbweight has been reduced by 30kgs, while aerodynamics have been improved by lowering the suspension, modifying the front air intakes and fitting a drag-reducing lower engine compartment panel. Engineers also reduced the power steering pump’s idle speed and fitted low rolling-resistance, 15-inch tyres (16-inch optional).
Hans Demant, GME’s Engineering Vice President, summed up Vauxhall’s commitment to further reducing fuel consumption and emissions in cars with conventional internal combustion engines: “At General Motors Europe, environmental consciousness means offering clever technological innovations at affordable prices, making them accessible to as many customers as possible. The Astra ecoFLEX is the newest example of our strategy and directly addresses the needs of buyers in high-volume sectors.”
Five door Hatch versions of the Astra ecoFLEX are on sale now at a starting price for the Life model, with air conditioning, of £16,340. Prices and availability of the Sport Hatch and estate models are still to be announced.
In 2009, Vauxhall will introduce two further ecoFLEX models: a 109g/km Corsa 1.3 CDTi with combined mpg of nearly 69mpg, and a low-emissions version of the Insignia.