What is it?

As far as Vauxhall is concerned, this is where ‘eco Astra’ meets ‘value Astra’. Which is to say that this version of the firm’s bread-and-butter hatchback blends Ecoflex badging (CO2 emissions of 119g/km) and ES Tech trim level. That translates into sat-nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, air-con and 17in wheels as standard fit for £19,530.

If that sounds like a relatively conservative formula, it is. Which is to say that anyone who’s aware of the Astra’s strengths is unlikely to be disappointed here.

See pics of the Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi in action

What’s it like?

The 1.7-litre diesel engine has enough twist for all but the most optimistic of overtaking manoeuvres, claimed fuel economy is well north of 60mpg and the cabin feels a generally well sorted, pleasant place.

This is an accomplished family hatch – and the ES Tech extras are welcome, thanks.

That said, some weaknesses remain. The steering, although accurate and nicely weighted, stops short of really communicating what the front wheels are doing. And while the 1.7 CDTi lump does seem more muted than previous, rowdy incarnations (particularly when warmed up and cruising), it’s still more gruff than the 1.6 common-rail unit you’ll find in a Golf BlueMotion.

The Volkswagen also has the edge on interior finish, offers a similar level of involvement, is more economical and almost as fast. But it’s also £600 more expensive, and comes with fewer toys than the Astra.

Should I buy one?

So the ES Tech could turn out to be a finely judged model for Vauxhall. It may not be the class benchmark, but it offers an appealing blend of economy, kit and value. It’d certainly be our pick of the Astra diesels, and were you to choose it over the Golf purely on cost grounds, we’d quite understand.

John McIlroy

Vauxhall Astra ES TECH 1.7 CDTI Ecoflex

Price: £19,530; Top speed: 122mph; 0-62mph: 10.7sec; Economy: 62.8mpg (combined); CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1435kg; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1686cc, turbodiesel; Power: 123bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 206lb ft at 2000-2700rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
8

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Anyone who thinks this is a good way to spend twenty grand really doesn't deserve to have it in the first place.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Why have GM Europe spectacularly failed to make the 1.7cdti a refined engine? The older iterations sounded like a large bag of bolts in a tumble drier, were laggy, rough and only really suitable for a commercial vehicle.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Is this 1.7 engine the same one that they have been using for years now (obviously with some work to it) that can trace it's roots back to the Isuzu engine? If so, that always was a rough engine, with poor power delivery characteristics.

I've never understood (but I guess it is to do with cost) why they didn't do more with the 1.9 Fiat derived unit, which was a far more refined and better performing power plant.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

TegTypeR wrote:
Is this 1.7 engine the same one that they have been using for years now (obviously with some work to it) that can trace it's roots back to the Isuzu engine?

No, I understand it's GM's way of downsizing the Fiat Powertrain-derived 1.9 "Family B" unit, the same way that Fiat Powertrain has turned it into a 1.6 for Fiat Auto's own use

TegTypeR wrote:
I've never understood (but I guess it is to do with cost) why they didn't do more with the 1.9 Fiat derived unit, which was a far more refined and better performing power plant

It seems that the GM-Daewoo treatment has worked wonders on the 2.0 unit whose design it licensed from VM (remember that the Fiat deal did not cover supplying to the Koreans), to the point that the 2.0 engine found in the Captiva et al. seems to be more refined and better performing still than the Family B found in Opel/Vauxhall and SAAB cars. So I would not be surprised if GM decided to roll out the Korean engine to European cars.

On a related note, the Family B twin turbo (currently found in 159, Delta and SAAB) and the Family C five-pot (available in the 159) have disappeared from official future engine plans of Fiat Powertrain, replaced by the VM 2.8 and 3.0V6 units. I think that's not smart.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Chris576 wrote:
Anyone who thinks this is a good way to spend twenty grand really doesn't deserve to have it in the first place.

Too true at half the price. Someone should have a word with the Met Police transport dept which buys the 100bhp in their thousands...

www.thecarexpert.co.uk/forums

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

Why are they still bothering with this engine? Its self evidently too old to be competitive with the rest of the class.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 51 weeks ago

giulivo wrote:
On a related note, the Family B twin turbo (currently found in 159, Delta and SAAB)

The twin turbo version of this engine has never been available in an Alfa 159.

Probably a good thing, I had a Saab with that engine, and wasn't too impressed, it never felt any more powerful than the 150bhp single turbo version, and was less economical. Although the Alfa 159 and Saabs both used more or less the same engine, it felt far nicer in it's Italian version, although claimed output was the same, there must have been some differences.

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi

2 years 35 weeks ago

Having driven a few Astras with the 1,7 CDTI engine (in 100ps guise) I have to admit it is far too gruff by today's standards (Can't comment on the installation in the new Astra) however it always seems to settle down when cruising, and the noise is really only when accelerating or idling.

However I have always found it's power delivery to be pretty good, very even and progressive, and willing to rev. And it feels unburstable.

The 1.6TDCi/HDi engine in the Focus however, while far more muted, is much laggier with all of the thrust coming in around 2000rpm but you are left floundering below this level. I find this makes it difficult to trickle along in slow traffic, and occasionally infuriating - when rolling onto a roundabout in 2nd gear, for example, the lag is horrendous.

Horses for courses I suppose.

What if the hokey-cokey really is what it's all about?

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Our Verdict

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

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