Is it a pickup? Is it a new SUV? We’re not entirely sure.
It should be immediately obvious to most of you that this is a Volvo XC90 – or at least the exterior of which. What’s not entirely clear, though, is what’s going on underneath all that strange added bodywork.
On the rear, a steel platform has been built out of the window and extended onto the roof. It holds what looks to be a pretty significant amount of extra weight. The rear axle, meanwhile, has been stretched by what our spy photographers estimate to be somewhere around eight to 10 inches (203 to 254 millimetres), bringing the total length from 117.5 inches (2,985 mm) in the standard XC90, to as much as 126.5 inches (3,213 mm).
There are two possible suspects. The first is a larger SUV (or minivan?) positioned above the XC90. Though Volvo has shot down these rumours on multiple occasions - luxury SUVs had a record year in Europe in 2016, suggesting the potential for even more vehicles in the future. The second option is a pickup. While it may seem unlikely, there are some details to back it up.
Comparably, with a wheelbase of 126.5 inches (3,213 mm), the test mule seen here is in pretty close proximity with some of the competition. The Honda Ridgeline, for example, has a wheelbase of 125.2 inches (3,180 mm), the Nissan Frontier Crew Cab has a wheelbase of 125.9 inches (3,198 mm), while the European Ford Ranger has a wheelbase of 127 inches (3,226 mm). So it’s possible.
For now, a revised XC60 and an all-new XC40 will make their debut in the next few months. This potential third vehicle could join the lineup in the next few years. For now, the test mule will remain mostly a mystery.