One thing the UK is not getting - at least initially - is the Volvo XC90 in this matt finish

One thing the UK is not getting - at least initially - is the Volvo XC90 in this matt finish

A highlight for the Z-list 'trade site' peasant this week was - courtesy of right place, right time - to sup down at the A-listers' table on the international first drive event for Volvo's superb new XC90.

I had been to the global reveal in Stockholm last August so this was a much looked forward to chance finally to get to drive the car in the D5 diesel, T6 petrol and T8 hybrid forms coming to UK and it really is superb. Performance, handling and ride are all up to standard and interior materials and finish are class leading, some experienced hands at the event were talking second only to the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley and even I know what their cabins are like.

Volvo talks of converting some current Range Rover owners and I think they have a good chance. Here in UK, we're getting seven seats and a lot of kit optional in other markets as standard, including the distinctive LED headlamps with the distinctive 'Thor's hammer' day runners.

Meanwhile, Dave Leggett was with Suzuki in Portugal, running a first eye over the redesigned Vitara and the automaker itself.

Elsewhere, analysts-r-us have been analysing again - looking at the new Smart and how it will work for Daimler.

Speculation had swirled around his future but reports suggested it was the man himself who chose to vacate the top slot at Honda. He'd shaken up the fusty old supplier system but quality issues apparently got him in the end.

Speaking of throwing in the towel, GM's given up on Indonesia, creamed in their 'back yard' by the Japanese. This does not include a pending deal involving China partner SAIC.

Ahead of Geneva, product has been mentioned a lot in industry despatches - stand by for forward word from Aston Martin and a first official look at the updated Evoque from Tata's Land Rover.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com