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Car Confidential: Highs and lows of the motoring year

It has been a rollercoaster year, from the dizzy highs of the London motor show (half a dozen major world debuts! In the UK!) to the worrying slump of recent weeks. Here’s a quick review of my motoring year.

Favourite car of the year
Tata’s Nano. No, it’s not on sale yet but what’s not to like about a brand new car that costs just £1,500? A rare, genuinely radical vehicle that could just change the world.

Stat of the year
Oil prices plunging from $148/barrel peak to $40 this winter. No wonder pump prices have been yo-yoing.

Best motor show moment
Lotus managing to keep images and the name of the Evora 2+2 secret until press day at the London show. We’ve waited for a new Lotus for 15 years and it didn’t disappoint.

Worst car of 2008
The excellent Nissan Qashqai has been ruined with the addition of two cramped, inaccessible third-row seats in the Qashqai+2.

Man of the year
Ratan Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover, launched the revolutionary Nano and invested in pioneering air-powered cars. A true visionary.

Disappointment of the year
The crisis gripping the world’s auto industry. The Big Three’s failings have been cruelly exposed and they’ll never be the same again.

Innovation of the year

Toyota’s iQ. A back-to-basics reappraisal of what a supermini can be.

The award
Lewis Hamilton. A worthy world champion who’s made Sundays interesting again.

What made me laugh out loud
News that the new Porsche 911 Carrera averages 29mpg. Still hope for fun sports cars in the new eco age.

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