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Green Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex not green enough

Most efficient Astra can't match rivals

Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex 1

VW has Bluemotion, Vauxhall has Ecoflex 

The new Ecoflex is the greenest version on sale and is powered by a 93bhp 1.3-litre CDTi turbodiesel. Having recently made its debut in the Vauxhall Corsa Ecoflex, this engine is new to the Astra range, bringing a 12.1% emissions improvement over the 1.7-litre CDTi turbodiesel Astra.

Rivals are more efficient

With CO2 emissions of 109g/km, the Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex lags some way behind the 99g/km versions of rivals the , Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion and Audi A3 1.6 TDIe.

The Astra’s official combined fuel economy also fails to reach the heights of these rivals. At 67.3mpg combined, the Astra is 7mpg shy of the 74.3mpg figure for the Audi and the VW, and 6.9mpg shy of the Focus.

There is no confirmed performance data, but preliminary testing suggests 0-60mph in around 13.7 seconds and 109mph – making the Astra quite a bit slower than the above cars.

Down on performance but well priced

The Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex does have a mild price advantage over its German rivals. Priced from £17,920, it undercuts the £18,100 Golf and £18,008 A3, but it is a whopping £2,508 cheaper than the £20,428 Focus. It’s even £1,741 less than the entry-level Ford Focus Econetic, which has a less powerful engine and emits 104g/km CO2.

However, annual road tax for the Astra is £35; the 99g/km cars get theirs for free.

Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex 2

Ecoflex Astra doesn’t get stop-start 

Active aerodynamics but no start-stop

Modifications to the Astra to turn it into an Ecoflex variant include bespoke engine management software, longer gear ratios and improved aerodynamics, including an active panel that automatically closes behind the grille at higher speeds. There is also a gearshift indicator to help the driver select the optimum gear to be in at any speed.

What it doesn’t have is a start-stop system to automatically switch the engine off at idle; this is where rivals get their advantage.

The Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex arrives in showrooms this April in S, Exclusive, SE and – for the first time – SRi equipment levels. For little extra cost, we would probably choose the more efficient Audi or Volkswagen.

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