Some will point to our test and say it proves the case for compensation for Volkswagen Group car owners who have been caught up in the Dieselgate scandal.

I do not want to be an apologist for VW, but I do not agree that is true, even if my sympathy is with owners.

Autocar test shows worse economy after Volkswagen diesel fix

I have absolute faith in our test process, both in terms of rigour and repeatability, but I’m also aware that it is one test of one car — testing more would cost thousands — and that it has been conducted to the test criteria established by sister title What Car? to measure real-world emissions and economy rather than mimic the unrealistic, lab-based NEDC test cycle by which VW is being measured by the authorities.

That the regulators and law makers have judged VW’s fixes against the NEDC cycle is inevitable, even if that test has been proven to be so flawed that it faces imminent replacement. The sad truth is that it is the only scientific benchmark they have. As a result, we are not comparing like with like — and that is VW’s ‘get out of jail free’ card when it comes to calls for compensation. 

Insight: Is it time to give up on the diesel engine?