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by Tim Beissmann

Vauxhall has revealed its most environmentally friendly Astra yet with the unveiling of the ecoFLEX range in Europe.

Powered by a 70kW 1.3-litre CDTi diesel engine (borrowed from the new Vauxhall Corsa), the ecoFLEX hatch sips just 4.2 litres/100km and emits CO2 at a rate of 109g/km – 12 percent better than the current best-in-range 1.7-litre CDTi model.

Efficiency gains have been achieved by reprogramming the engine’s control settings and retuning the ratios of the five-speed manual transmission to optimise economy.

The ecoFLEX is also aerodynamically superior to the standard hatch thanks to an active aero shutter (which opens to allow air past the engine at low vehicles speeds and then automatically closes at higher speeds to smooth airflow at the front of the car) and a redesigned underside.

The Vauxhall Astra ecoFLEX will be available in four trim levels in selected European markets from April starting at £17,920 (AUD$32,150).

Holden chose not to import the all-new version of the Astra when it debuted overseas last year, instead opting for the Cruze small car.

Currently the most environmentally friendly Cruze is the five-speed manual CD model which is powered by an 110kW 2.0-litre diesel.

Its 5.7 litres/100km and 149g/km CO2 combined cycle efforts are a fair way short of the Astra. But then again, so is its $23,990 pricetag.




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