28.6.2011 Vauxhall takes Astra below 100g/km
Vauxhall has pulled out all the stops to make its latest Astra ecoFLEX one of the cleanest and most efficient compact cars in the UK.
Using technology like energy recuperation and adaptive aerodynamics has achieved combined fuel consumption of 76.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
CO2 emissions falling below the 100 gram threshold means total exemption from TfL's Congestion Charge, as well as zero VED (Vehicle Excise Duty), inclusion in the lowest 13% BIK (Benefit in Kind) tax band, and 100% capital allowance for businesses.
But thanks to its high-output, 1.7 CDTi diesel engine, strong performance has not been sacrificed. With 130PS of power and 300Nm of torque, the new Astra ecoFLEX leaves other eco-rivals in the shade, maintaining Vauxhall's reputation for combining driveability with exceptional efficiency.
Available to order soon, the Astra ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS produces emissions 20g/km less than the Astra 1.7 CDTi 125PS – a massive 17% reduction. One of the keys to this is an all-new engine management system, allowing a reduced compression ratio, and a new fuel injection system. A new variable geometry turbocharger also provides even greater boost-pressure control.
Friction reductions have been applied to piston rings, tappets and piston pins, while sensors in the low-pressure glow plugs enable more accurate combustion control. To help the engine reach its operating temperature quickly from cold – normally a highly inefficient phase – an oil-cooler bypass has been introduced.
Unlike many rival eco-models, the Astra ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS is fitted with a friction-reduced six-speed gearbox that has been tuned to work with the new version of the engine. A shift-indicator between the speedometer and rev-counter shows drivers the best time to change up, while a graphic-assist function helps adopt the most fuel-efficient driving style.
For the first time on a Vauxhall ecoFLEX model, an energy-recuperation system has been introduced. When the driver takes his/her foot off the throttle, or applies the brakes, kinetic energy is collected and stored in the battery, allowing the alternator to shut down when there is sufficient charge to run ancillaries.
Aerodynamics play a significant role in the new Astra ecoFLEX's reduced emissions. It is fitted with low rolling resistance tyres and an active aero-shutter in the radiator grille. The grille remains open at low speeds, but closes at higher cruising speeds where less throttle is needed. As a result, air is diverted around, rather than through, the grille, improving the car's aerodynamics.
Already available on 1.3 and 2.0 CDTi versions of the Astra ecoFLEX (as well as low-C02 versions of the Corsa and Insignia) this is the first time the 1.7 CDTi engine has been fitted with start-stop technology. The system shuts down the engine when neutral is engaged and the clutch pedal released, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. To re-start the engine, the driver simply engages first gear and moves away.
In showrooms from late this year, with pricing to be announced shortly, the Astra ecoFLEX 1.7 CDTi 130PS comes in three trims: Exclusiv, SE and SRi.
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