What is it?
This is the accomplished and exceptionally frugal Vauxhall Astra hatchback. Although it carries a punchy 1.7-litre diesel engine, this Astra is the most economical model in the car’s line-up, capable of upwards of 75mpg with emissions that undercut the golden 100g/km Co2 marker.
These figures are achieved thanks to revisions to the Astra’s diesel engine, including a reduced compression ratio and a new variable geometry turbocharger, which provides greater boost-pressure control.
In addition, an energy-recuperation system stores kinetic energy in the car’s battery during braking and throttle lift-off and an active aero-shutter in the radiator grille improves aerodynamics at higher speeds. A stop-start system, eco tyres and an underbody aero kit also feature.
Like the 99g/km Co2 emitting Seat Leon 1.6 TDI CR Ecomotive, VW Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI, Audi A3 1.6 TDI and Peugeot 308 SR e-HDi EGC (with stop-start), the Astra sits in tax band A and is exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
What’s it like?
Despite its headlining eco credentials, the Vauxhall Astra tested here makes impressive progress in most driving situations. Every nugget of the oil-burner’s 221lb ft torque figure is exploited by a well-suited and slick six-speed manual gearbox; unlike other similar-sized eco hatchbacks, the Astra doesn’t suffer with poor low-end twist, brought on by taller gearing.