Low CO2 Astra on the way

  • Revamped 1.7-litre diesel Astra emits 99g/km CO2
  • Free VED and congestion charge, BIK at 13%
  • Fuel economy and performance also improved

Vauxhall has released details of a new low-emission Astra that gets the company's ecoFLEX badge.

The VW Golf and Volvo C30-rivalling medium sized hatchback is aiming to take on the might of the established green-branded models known as BlueMotion and DRIVe.

A stalwart top-five company car, the Astra is an incredibly popular choice for both fleet and private buyers. However, in the race to produce a low-emitting derivative with ultra-low running costs, Vauxhall had until now been floundering at a CO2 figure of 104g/km - unable to dip below the magic 100g/km threshold which means cars qualify for free VED, no showroom tax, and no congestion charging in London.

Using the firm's 1.7-litre diesel engine with a few mechanical tweaks, the car now emits just 99g/km of CO2. As well as the road tax and congestion charge benefits, the figure means company car tax is payable at the lowest 13% banding.

Fuel consumption is also lower, with the new car reputedly returning 76.3mpg on the combined cycle.

As well as improvements in economy and emissions, the engine now produces 128bhp - a five horsepower hike over the most powerful iteration of the previous car. Performance figures haven't been released at this time.

So the Astra is now cleaner, more efficient and more powerful. You might be wondering how Vauxhall has managed such a feat. According to the manufacturer, the secret lies in the technology the car comes equipped with.

As is par for the course with ‘eco' cars, stop/start and brake energy recuperation feature. The ride height has been lowered by 12mm to improve aerodynamics, low rolling-resistance tyres are fitted and the car also comes with a new low-friction six-speed gearbox.

The new engine will be available with a choice of three trim levels - Exclusiv, SE or SRi. Pricing is yet to be announced but the new engine will be available later in 2011.