We've just gotten our hands on these spy shots of a funny-looking XC90 and we're at a loss. With an extended wheelbase and a pile of steel weighing the back down, this test mule has us scratching our heads.

It looks like the Swedes have just taken the sawzall to the rear fender to make up for the increased distance between the wheels, which is a modification we would advise against for your XC90 at home.


Meanwhile, the R&D department has built a pyramid of steel over the back end, which we assume is for payload testing.

While it's tempting to assume that this is a test version of a long-wheel-base XC90 for China, there's little evidence, outside of these pictures, to support that. The weight might be to test armor plating, though, which would make sense if an LWB were intended for government officials.


CarPix, who sent us the pictures, have put forward the theory that this could be an all new midsize pickup, like the Honda Ridgeline of the Ford Ranger, which would explain the weight over the back wheels.

What do you think? What does Volvo have up its sleeve with this mule?