Diminishing returns is something I used to understand well with cars.

It was a simple concept to grasp and it largely held true: the more you paid for a car, the better it was, although as they got more expensive, they got better more slowly.

A £50,000 car was lots better than a £20,000 car, for example, but a £100,000 car wasn’t so much better than the £50,000 one and a £200,000 car was a smaller amount better again.

Of course, there were exceptions and sweet spots across the market: cars that were never worth the money and some absolute bargains. But the basics were what they were for so many consumer products. You paid more, and got something better.

A manufacturer had invested more, therefore the product was superior and, as a buyer, you would feel it. A BMW 7 Series was better than a 3 Series; a Ford Mondeo was superior to a Fiesta.

I don’t know if I’ve changed or the market has changed or it’s a combination of the two, but this feels broadly much less true than it used to.

Recently I drove home in a bog-standard, sub-£18,000 Renault Clio. And I loved it. And not just ‘look at what they’ve done for the money’ loved it: I loved it regardless of its price.

It used to take an expensive car to give me all of the comfort and convenience features that I need, but the Renault has everything I can do while driving and more besides.

Fine, there’s no variable ambient lighting or massage function, but it’s a car, not a hot tub, and I’d rather not lug a function around if I’m not going to use it anyway.

Then there’s its size. It’s 4.05m long and 1.80m wide, which means it’s more useful, not less, than a car that’s 5m long and 2m wide. It’s easier to park and sneaks through gaps they can’t, therefore saving me time, and that’s the most precious thing I have. If time is money, then surely a small car is worth more, not less.