TWO things happen almost every time a new car is launched - it's a bit bigger than the model it replaces and it costs a little more.
And there's a third happening, too, which might interest anyone looking for a fine small family car... the outgoing version is offered at a discount.
Which ought to be happening about now as news sinks in that a brand new VW Polo arrives here around November; a little larger inside and out and bound, surely, to be costlier.
That might present a quandary for someone with a liking for the second best selling model in the Volkswagen UK line up: wait for the new one or grab one of the last oldies and save useful amounts of dosh?
If it's a three-door version of the Polo you fancy, your decision is easy. The current (but soon deposed) model is available with three or five doors (and an £880 price difference between the two) but there will only be a five-door offered in the newbie.
That was a simple move for makers VW, as the European market for three-door hatches is small and declining. It also helps simplify a range of cars that aren't making the profits the bosses think they should, partly because the offer is too complex.
So, what might persuade you to head for a car you know is about to become out of date in weeks, apart from the likely savings involved in deliberately going off trend (as they say)?
Well, after a week and 500 miles in a current generation Polo I'd happily let it sit on the drive and hold its head up high as a newer version drove by, showing off its extra length and width and feeling just a bit superior.
With one proviso; even if you're not a speed freak you might want your Polo to come with a bit more puff than the 75 horses available on this one.
Keep everything the same, I'd say, but go for the 90 horsepower 1.2-litre model and find the extra £620 for a much livelier machine.
You won't notice the difference in engine size at the pumps, with both cars easily capable of topping 50mpg but the more powerful one feeling like an eager spaniel straining to be let loose on the common.
Add in a snappy gearchange that would sit happily in a sports car and light clutch and brakes and here is a car built to save money that feels as though it had a fortune lavished on it.
You sense the depth of engineering from the way everything just works as you'd expect it to - so hardly ever any need to dig out the handbook to discover what a button does, for instance.
If you ever did open the pages you'd find them as crisply set out and written as a High Court legal judgement, the result again of spending the time and money to get it right.
On a thoroughly practical level, there's not much room in the back for lanky adults (a niggle addressed in the new one, apparently) but the boot is big enough for most weekly shops and the car comes decently equipped.
Topping the highlights are cruise control, parking sensors front and rear, manual air conditioning, trip computer, electric windows all round, remote central locking and a decent sound system with DAB and smartphone mirroring on the dashboard touchscreen.