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Volvo's Blonde City Weave cloth upholstery in the XC60 Momentum. Photo: Volvo Cars

This week I'm driving the Volvo XC60 T5 AWD Momentum, a midsized SUV that made me smile just by opening the door.

  • Inside is something you don't see every day: awesome plaid cloth upholstery.

Why it matters: For years cloth seats have been relegated to the cheapest models, while anyone who could afford it would upgrade to the mysterious "leatherette" or real leather interior.

  • But cloth seats are popping up here and there, replacing those drab tan and black hides with tons of personality, like the worn blue jeans-inspired seats in the Hyundai Venue Denim.

Volvo's Blonde City Weave textile upholstery on the seats and door inserts is a nod to Scandinavia's home-furnishing heritage, blending seamlessly with the car's calming, minimalist interior.

  • No surprise, City Weave is only available on the entry-level XC60 Momentum, but the good news is you get a lot of car in a $44,000 base Volvo.
  • And, as Autotrader notes, you can get an XC60 with cloth seats and any of the three powertrains offered, including the 400-horsepower Recharge T8 plug-in hybrid.
  • My XC60 Momentum had the 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter base engine and $8,000 worth of options, including driver-assistance features like a vivid head-up display, a 360-degree camera and Volvo's pilot-assist technology.

The bottom line: Plaid is back, and I love it.

Go deeper

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 14 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Senate Dems receive max donations from Nord Stream 2 lobbyist

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.

Why it matters: If pressure from the White House to vote against reimposing sanctions on the Russia-backed natural gas pipeline weren't enough, Democrats who back such legislation also will be at loggerheads with one of their party's top fundraisers.

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