Now that the current version of the Astra is going to be replaced, perhaps it's time to remember the previous generation. This model didn't make it to the States but was quite popular in Europe. Back in 2002, and before the outburst of the "green" and "eco" labels, Opel was pioneering the "Eco" brand image. With the Opel Astra Eco4, it had a very interesting addition in the lineup. The car's recorded fuel consumption was 4.5 l/100 km (52 mpg U.S.); not bad for a compact sedan that looked like most any other car on the road. The Astra Eco4 managed this fuel economy thanks to a 1.7 liter direct injection diesel that produced 75hp, the use of low-rolling tires and some now-classic aerodynamic tweaks that helped lower the co-efficient of drag to 0.28.

[Sources: Auto News, AutoGlobal]

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