Vauxhall has pulled out all the stops
to make its latest Astra ecoFLEX one of the cleanest and most efficient
compact cars in the UK, using technology like energy recuperation and
adaptive aerodynamics to achieve combined fuel consumption of 76.3mpg
and C02 emissions of just 99g/km.
This last figure means a total
exemption from TfL’s Congestion Charge, as well as zero VED (Vehicle
Excise Duty), inclusion in the lowest 13 per cent BIK (Benefit in Kind)
tax band, and 100 per cent capital allowance for businesses.
But thanks to its high-output, 1.7 CDTi
diesel engine, strong performance has not been sacrificed. With 130PS of
power (5PS up on the current highest output 1.7 CDTi) and 300Nm of
torque, the new Astra ecoFLEX leaves other eco-rivals in the shade,
maintaining Vauxhall’s reputation for combining driveability with
Important revisions to
powertrain bring even greater efficiency
Available to order soon, the Astra
ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS produces emissions 20g/km less than the Astra 1.7
CDTi 125PS – a massive 17 per cent reduction. One of the keys to this is
an all-new engine management system, allowing a reduced compression
ratio, and a new fuel injection system with eight injections per cycle
at 1800 bar. A new variable geometry turbocharger also provides even
greater boost-pressure control.
Internal revisions to the engine
further enhance the package (see image).
Friction reductions have been applied
to piston rings, tappets and piston pins, while sensors in the
low-pressure glow plugs enable more accurate combustion control. To help
the engine reach its operating temperature quickly from cold – normally
a highly inefficient phase – an oil-cooler bypass has been introduced.
Unlike many rival eco-models, the Astra
ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS is fitted with a friction-reduced six-speed
gearbox that has been tuned to work with the new version of the engine.
A shift-indicator between the speedometer and rev-counter shows drivers
the best time to change up, while a graphic-assist function helps adopt
the most fuel-efficient driving style.
Energy recuperation and
improved aero enhance Astra’s green cred still further
For the first time on a Vauxhall
ecoFLEX model, an energy-recuperation system has been introduced. When
the driver takes his/her foot off the throttle, or applies the brakes,
kinetic energy is collected and stored in the battery, allowing the
alternator to shut down when there is sufficient charge to run
ancillaries. In addition, a clutch activates the air conditioning
compressor only when it’s needed. Standard LED daytime running lights
also reduce energy consumption.
Aerodynamics play a significant role in
the new Astra ecoFLEX’s reduced emissions. As well as being fitted with
low rolling resistance tyres (a choice of 215/60 x 16 or 225/50 x 17
sizes), there is an active aero-shutter in the radiator grille, which
automatically reacts to different vehicle speeds and loads to aid
efficiency. The grille remains open at low speeds, or where more
throttle load is required – such as when driving up hills – but closes
at higher cruising speeds where less throttle is needed. As a result,
air is diverted around, rather than through, the grille, improving the
Completing the Astra ecoFLEX’s aero
armoury, is a ride height which has been reduced by 12mm, creating less
wind resistance at speed.
Start/Stop continues roll-out
into ecoFLEX ranges
Already available on 1.3 and 2.0 CDTi
versions of the Astra ecoFLEX (as well as low-C02 versions of the Corsa
and Insignia) this is the first time the 1.7 CDTi engine has been fitted
with Start/Stop technology. The system automatically shuts down the
engine when neutral is engaged and the clutch pedal released, reducing
fuel consumption and emissions – a great advantage during city driving.
To re-start the engine, the driver simply engages first gear and moves
away. A high-performance battery ensures the electric system’s
reliability at all times, and the system can be deactivated altogether
via a centre-console-mounted ‘eco’ switch.
At a glance guide to Astra
ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi’s C02 reduction measures
- “Clean Tech Combustion” technology
- Intelligent Start/Stop system with
braking energy recuperation
- New engine management and thermal
- Friction-reduced six-speed
transmission with optimised axle and gear layout
- Improved aerodynamics including
- Low rolling-resistance tyres
- Standard LED daytime running
In showrooms from late this year, with
pricing to be announced shortly, the Astra ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS comes
in three trims: Exclusiv, SE and SRi. Details are shown below, with full
specifications to follow.
Provisional Fuel Economy & Co2
|Body style / Engine /
|HB5 1.7 (130PS)
ecoFLEX Start / Stop 99g/km with 16” & 17” wheels