Sensible eco modifications help to lift a car that’s beginning to feel its age.

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

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Will86 5 January 2009

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex

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.

jonfortwo 1 January 2009

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex

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.

Tinny Frog Rocket 31 December 2008

Re: Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi ecoFlex

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