From £12,240
Sensible eco modifications help to lift a car that’s beginning to feel its age.

Our Verdict

The Astra is now in its sixth incarnation, but it can trace its linage back to 1963's Viva

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

What is it?

With this, the Vauxhall Astra Design 1.7 CDTi Ecoflex, Vauxhall has joined the green ranks. The Ecoflex gets all the usual green tweaks: a lower idle speed, modified air intakes, lowered suspension and low rolling resistance tyres.

The idle speed of the power steering pump has also been reduced, and Vauxhall has fitted a taller axle ratio to lengthen the gearing.

What sets the Vauxhall Astra Ecoflex apart from the eco competition, however, is its engine. At 109bhp and 192lbft of torque, the long-serving 1.7-litre turbodiesel actually gets 10bhp and 15lb ft more in Ecoflex trim.

What’s it like?

The extra power is welcome, almost offsetting the longer gearing. It means that the Ecoflex hits 60mph in 12.0sec, just half a second shy of the regular 99bhp 1.7-litre CDTi.

The green credentials are justified too. Combined fuel consumption improves by more than 7mpg over the regular 1.7 to 62.8mpg, while CO2 emissions drop by 19g/km to 119g/km, allowing the Astra Ecoflex to sneak into the £35 VED band B.

The problem is that the Astra has been around for more than four and a half years and it shows. The seats are flat and unsupportive and the dashboard, although good looking, isn’t the most user-friendly thing. The gearchange has a slick, positive action, but the steering is lifeless and the ride fidgety.

Should I buy one?

Yes. If you can put aside the shortcomings of the Astra range as a whole, the Astra Ecoflex makes a strong case for itself, especially with that extra helping of power and torque.

Matt Rigby

Join the debate

Comments
8

31 December 2008

How come in Autocar's 2006 road test of the Astra, it was said:

"The ergonomics are good, the design of the dash modern and effective."

Yet now "The ergonomics of the Astra's cabin aren't exactly sparkling"

And, in 2006:

"The front seats are wide and comfortable even after hours at the wheel"

2008 - "The seats are flat and unsupportive"

In 2006 - "conspicuously good steering"

2008 - "the steering is lifeless"

I appreciate that the expectations of a class of car progress with time, but surely if the cabin ergonomics are good, that's an absolute and doesn't change with time. Same with seat comfort. The way the article is written suggests these aspects are being assessed in isolation as absolutes - not compared to X, Y or Z - so I don't understand this inconsistency.

31 December 2008

[quote NiallOswald]I appreciate that the expectations of a class of car progress with time, but surely if the cabin ergonomics are good, that's an absolute and doesn't change with time. Same with seat comfort. The way the article is written suggests these aspects are being assessed in isolation as absolutes - not compared to X, Y or Z - so I don't understand this inconsistency.
[/quote]

All car mags do the same thing. When something new comes out it's great but by the time its 3 or 4 years old you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's the biggest pile of shite ever sold. BMW's are of course not included; they're great regardless.

31 December 2008

Then to confuse things they run a test with some older cars (usually including an E30 M3) and declare them to be miles better to drive than anything new...

31 December 2008

The really worrying part of the article is £17,369 for an Astra!!

31 December 2008

[quote trocadero]

The really worrying part of the article is £17,369 for an Astra!!

[/quote]

I shouldn't worry, I am sure there is a hefty discount that will be applied.

 

 

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

31 December 2008

Sounds like a car for people who have no interest in driving.

1 January 2009

If you really must have an Astra diesel.......try autotrader...

08/08 Astra CDTI 1.3 Life - 4000 miles in silver for just £7250 or £7000 for cash no doubt.

These manufacturers are still living in cloud cuckoo land with car prices.

5 January 2009

Not sure what shape the road tester is, but I found the seats in the my old Astra very comfortable and so did many of my passengers. Ok, so the heater and radio controls are a bit fiddly, but nothing serious. At least they work with a quality feel.

The ecoflex modifications are essential to keep the Astra viable in the company car market. Though as much as I like the Astra, the normal 1.6 TDCi Focus is the better all round car.

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