If you’re calling about the car, it’s already gone. Selling my 2001 Seat Toledo TDI has delivered a fascinating insight into the dynamics of the modern car market. Main dealers might be filled with tumbleweed and racks of yellowing brochures, but demand for sub-£3000 diesels invokes an analogy concerning hot cakes.

Indeed, despite 93,000 miles and a reasonable crop of stone chips, my Toledo sold to the first punter to come and see it – for just £150 less than the keen price I was asking for it. I’m not surprised: soaring fuel prices mean that a realistic 48mpg is hugely compelling at the bottom end of the market.

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But, before it departed, the Toledo also delivered an insight into just why the modern car showroom is echoing to little more than the sound of glum-looking sales executives’ shuffling feet.

Like most punters at car-change time, my first thought was to offload the trusty Seat as a part-ex. And, to cut a long story short, my local Honda dealership offered me just £1100 for it: considerably less than half of what I eventually got, and barely 50 per cent of it’s official trade value according to the industry-standard CAP price guide.