Volvo XC90 Mystery Mule Has Us Wondering: Bigger SUV or Pickup?

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If you're struggling to work out what this thing is, rest assured, we're as surprised to see it as you are.

At first glance, it looks like we're dealing with an early prototype of some sort of large utility vehicle, seemingly based on the XC90, but with a significantly larger wheelbase. In fact, our spy photographers estimate that the rear axle on this test mule was pushed back some 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) in comparison to a regular XC90.

Apply a bit of math and common sense and we get a total of roughly 126.5 inches (3,213 mm), which would fit a possible pickup truck that would rival something like a Nissan Frontier (125.9 in/3,197 mm) or a Ford Ranger (127 in/3,225 mm).

Also, there's currently no evidence of Volvo developing an even larger SUV than the XC90, and even if there was, something like a Mercedes-Benz GLS has a wheelbase of around 121.1 inches (3,075 mm), which would make this an alarmingly large people carrier that wouldn't even fit in with regular luxury full-size SUVs.

Does this mean it's more likely to be a pickup? Maybe, especially with that steel platform built over the rear-end of the test mule (to simulate a fully loaded cargo bed perhaps), though if we were to roll with the pickup hypothesis, how well do you think such a product would be received?

In terms of segment positioning, it wouldn't really be all that unique of a car since Mercedes have already went ahead and came up with the X-Class - which by the way is based on the third-generation Nissan Navara, which has a wheelbase of 124 in (3,150 mm) and that number is awfully close to whatever is happening underneath this fake XC90 body.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops