This time last year I wrote about diesel still being the right choice of fuel for some drivers. A reader got hold of my phone number and, after a heated debate, accused me of playing an active role in the deaths of my children (who had been pictured in a report about a long-term test car, a diesel-powered Skoda Kodiaq).

It was, I must admit, quite an emotive finale (yes, I bade him farewell pretty soon afterwards) to a conversation that had, up to that point, been notable for both of us quoting ‘facts’ at one another that we each passionately believed in.

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My view boiled back to the fact that the very latest diesels - independently tested by - were producing NOx and particulate figures in line, and sometimes better, than petrol engines that had been put on sale just 18 months earlier. 

I was aware that my point of view mirrored that of the car industry, something that always worries me, as I don’t want to be a stooge who just parrots one side of an argument, but - to stress again - it was backed by the results of our own testing.