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

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


  • Felipe Politano

    I say: Lynk&Co mainstream pickup truck (with all that “shared” bs)

    • Felipe Politano

      A “shareable” pickup truck from a startup car company makes more sense than a luxury swedish truck, doesn’t it?

  • Patrick

    I would say a XC90 LWB for China

  • luckyletterman

    Please no

  • Kash

    LWB XC90, probably to split the XC90 into 2 different classes and do like Mercedes, a SWB 2-row and a LWB 3-row version. This also opens the possibility for a LWB, even higher end version.

  • Pickup

  • eljih

    it reminds me the news about a Renault Espace with the same type of architecture. big Mystery !

  • edison

    Maybe it was for testing the chassi of this?

    • Zandit75

      Is this actually a thing or just a photoshop?

      • none

        It’s real, it’s made by the swedish company “nilsson”, they have built ambulances, funeral cars, limousines and other special vehicles on (mostly) volvo chassis a very long time, the company is 70 years old. You see their url above the windscreen.

  • Leofred

    Artic Truck conversion ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Zandit75

    Maybe a testbed for a Volvo Van? It could go along side Volvo’s commercial line of heavy trucks quite easily.

    • Classic Bob

      Except “Volvo commercial line” is actually a completely seperate company, nothing to do with Volvo Automobiles.

      • Zandit75

        Fair enough. I wasn’t sure if there was a connection at all.

        • Classic Bob

          Actually, they once were connected, a few decades ago.

  • Bigger, longer sure, seems to be testing more weight on the back. But I’m ready to bet Volvo does not plan to go into Pick ups. Too far from the core value of the brand. Very strange mule.

  • benT

    Chinese autonomous people mover

  • none

    The car being right-hand drive indicates it’s for UK or other countries where they drive on opposite side.
    There’s also a camouflaged bmw parked next to it.

    Don’t be too sure volvo own this car.
    My guess is that this photo was taken outside some company modifying cars for police, ambulance, fire brigade and similar, and that the weights placed so high up on the volvo is there to test how it handles when rebuilt into an ambulance.
    The photographer shouldn’t have masked the registration plate. With visible registration plates there could be a much better chance figuring out who owns it and then what it’s for. In sweden and some other countries, the registration database is to most part public information and can be searched on the net.

  • Miknik

    Given the comparably small wheels and that silver metal in the wheel arches, I’ll say something electric.

  • Yawn

    It’s the new Popemobile, hence the roof ballast,

  • Timell
  • Tostik

    Finally, the long rumored XC100.