What looks like an ordinary Volvo XC70 with a ski box on holiday, is actually an shortened and raised mule for the XC60 . The bolt on rails with the ski box, simulate the higher weight distribution.

In Detroit earlier this year Volvo showed us the concept version of the upcoming XC60, and now the first test mules are driving on secret test tracks in northern Scandinavia. What looks like an ordinary Volvo XC70 with a ski box on holiday, is actually an shortened and raised mule for the XC60 . The bolt on rails with the ski box, simulate the higher weight distribution. The Volvo XC60 Concept was the first Volvo to show us some of the new design language which is as boxy and boring as we are used to seeing from Volvo. Hopefully a lot of that new bold design by Volvo's designer Steve Mattin will be visible when the XC60 hits the showrooms in late 2008. In times where big SUVs are politically incorrect, it's a right step for Volvo to be able to offer a smaller version. Also the success of the BMW X3, and the upcoming rivals from Mercedes and Audi, makes it impossible not to have a smaller SUV in the model line up. The XC60 will be based on the Land Rover Freelander 2, meaning that it will have the 2,2 litre four-cylinder diesel from Land Rover/Ford, as well as Volvo's own 3,2 litre straight six cylinder. Even the 2,5 litre five cylinder turbo engine with 220 bhp will be offered. Swedish transmission specialist Haldex will be responsible for the 4-wheel drive system. The photos are showing the prototype mule and one computer image suggesting how the new XC 60 is supposed to look upon its release.

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SPY PHOTOS: Volvo XC 60