At the risk of sparking a debate about ‘fake news’, the results of our survey — and recent UK sales figures — reveal a gulf between the perception and the reality of diesel engines.

Autocar survey: diesel sales set to slump due to pollution fears

Buyers are turning away from diesel because they believe it’s a dirty fuel, pumping the most CO2 and NOx into the atmosphere. Maybe that was true once, but the reality of modern Euro 6-compliant diesels is different.

The trouble is, that doesn’t matter, because the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal has eroded belief in the figures that prove modern diesel engines aren’t as polluting as the headlines are suggesting. And now that perception has taken hold, it’s hard to see how public trust in diesel-powered cars will be restored.

There is one interesting side-effect: our survey shows people are switching from diesel to hybrids. Could we ultimately reflect on VW Dieselgate as the tipping point for EV take-up?

Jaguar Land Rover boss: 'There is nothing wrong with buying a modern diesel car'