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2012 will go down in the history books as a cracking year for new cars.

Not only at every motorshow were we treated to a glittering array of tasty machinery, but it seemed every single week there was a brand new car that was launched.

Cars which were were bigger, better, more efficient, faster, roomier and more luxurious appeared from all of the world's largest and smallest car manufacturers' factories.

Coming up with a list of the top five cars which surprised us this year was hard. Our role call of the best five cars had to be ones which really left an impression on us and cars that really exceeded our expectations.

With regret some real crackers had to be left to one side; if we had some gongs, our highly commended awards would go the Volkswagen Golf MKVII; Volvo V40; Ford Focus ST; Fiat Panda; Mercedes-Benz SL; Peugeot 208; Kia Cee'd; Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Citroen DS5.

Bu here are the cars which pipped them in 2012.

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