Witnessing the on-track carnage of banger racing, mountain-biking in the Dolomites with the help of a Honda long-termer and the unexpected driving crediblity of the Dacia Jogger on a back-road are just three of the highlights Autocar's writers have come up with for 2022.
In a turbulent year of massive changes for the motoring industry, one thing has remained constant - the abiding memories and simple pleasures derived from the cars themselves. Read on for the details of our favourite moments.
Jim Holder: In a lucky life of driving fancy cars and more, an hour in the company of softly spoken, fact-focused scientist Gill Pratt is what I’ll remember. Yes, really.CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, Pratt is well known for being an articulate exponent of (and I paraphrase) using the world’s finite battery resources for the greatest impact on CO2 reduction, which means, in some cases, prioritising hybrids over EVs. It’s a controversial stance, because it stands in the face of global governmental direction, enrages EV evangelists and neatly ties into credentials established by the Toyota Prius.
But it’s also courageous, because it opens him and his employer to criticism for being slow, retrograde and self-serving, and fascinating, because it forgoes hype for expertise. He might be right or he might be wrong – even he admits he can’t be certain – but successful change needs challengers. That the world’s largest car maker, renowned for conservatism, is prepared to provide it is to all our benefit.
Jack Harrison: As far as Instagram messages go, “Would you like to get a lift to a Bicester Scramble in a Jaguar Sport XJR-15?” is one of the nicer to get. I’ve always had a soft spot for this Tom Walkinshaw-developed monster. It’s essentially a toned-down version of the XJR-9 Le Mans winner, although it also raced in its own one-make series. With an unsilenced 6.0-litre V12 just inches behind your head, stiff racing suspension and a cabin so noisy that you need a headset to communicate, the XJR-15 is the sort of car that you feel just shouldn’t be on the road.But I’m seriously glad it is. I’ll never forget the roar of the engine as we climbed through the rev range. I’ll be amazed if I ever end up in anything that sounds half as good. I just couldn’t stop smiling. A huge thank you to David and Ludo for making it happen.