Chevy Orlando hybrid mule - paperwork closeup - spy shotChevrolet is testing a very peculiar MPV, one that isn't sold in the US but is wearing Michigan plates. On top of that, riveted bodywork aside, it sure looks suspicious with a bunch of Chevy Volts and a Ford Fusion Hybrid buzzing around it like flies. Upon closer inspection, our spy photographers say it's actually a test mule for a yet unannounced hybrid vehicle from General Motors, which will probably end up competing with the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Toyota Prius V.

After the swarm of GM engineers finally left the car alone, our photographers were able to move in and snap some shots up close. What they found was a heavily modified Chevrolet Orlando (which is sold in North America, but not the US) with tons of gas-electric hybrid components and testing gear scattered about the interior. The cargo area, for one, is stuffed with a battery and rudimentary cooling system comprised of tubes, and the battery's casing has a "High-Voltage" warning sticker affixed to it. No plug-in port is visible, leading us to suspect it's a straight-up hybrid. Our spy photographers were wondering if it was the Volt MPV5 concept testbed, which debuted at the Beijing Auto Show in 2010, but they have heard the MPV5 was cancelled to divert resources to the Cadillac ELR. No Voltec powertrain is suspected in this Orlando mule.

One of the telltale signs of a test mule for a new model – and not a new variant of an existing model – is body modification. From the riveted front end with Chevy Spark headlights to the lengthened cargo area, it's clear from the outside that major modifications have been done to the Orlando's body. After analyzing the pieced-together door panels, our spy photographers also believe the front doors were lengthened and the rear doors were shortened.

These Orlandos have been seen testing since early this year, buy they've been shrouded in mystery until now. They're still quite mysterious (is GM trying to fool us by testing them alongside a Fusion Hybrid instead of a C-Max Hybrid?), but the hybrid battery found in the cargo bay is our biggest clue yet.


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  • 86 Comments
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The bodywork may be meaningless and it is just a mule underneath. But based on the size this might be the platform for the next gen Equinox, Terrain, and Buick-whatever. And the battery may be either for a full hybrid or the next get e-assist.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      "And whatever you do, don't touch the red button!" - "I must touch the red button."
      Sacto1654
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't be surprised that Chevrolet unveils at NAIAS in January 2014 a hybrid MPV that will use the Orlando platform but will have an all-new body--and will use the hybrid drivetrain tested on this modified Chevrolet Orlando "mule." And unlike the Orlando, it will be available for the US market.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      That headlight just looks off...
      TIMMAH!
      • 1 Year Ago
      First interior drivetrain photo -- WHAT THE HECK IS THE SPATULA FOR!?!?
        Ray
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TIMMAH!
        That's to flip the eggs on the battery pack. Those things get hot. Lol
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ray
          [blocked]
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TIMMAH!
        There's a different item there in the other two shots (pair of glasses). I'm guessing that GM is leaving unique objects there during different test drives so they can tell when spy shots were taken when they see them on the internet. They can map where the spy photogs are staking out and then later use that info to evade spy photogs later or else intentionally drive to hotspots to put leaks out.
          Jim1961
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          It's sounds like you've been reading too many spy novels. :D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          [blocked]
        thumerzs
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TIMMAH!
        If the whole damn thing starts burning, at least they can make pancakes.
      Jerry
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Orlando would have sold in North America, but... At the expense of the Equinox...
      london1121
      • 1 Year Ago
      How ignorant and/or illiterate do you have to be to comment as if what we see here is anything close to something production? From the article you could not have read : "One of the telltale signs of a test mule for a new model – and not a new variant of an existing model – is body modification. From the riveted front end with Chevy Spark headlights to the lengthened cargo area, it's clear from the outside that major modifications have been done to the Orlando's body. After analyzing the pieced-together door panels, our spy photographers also believe the front doors were lengthened and the rear doors were shortened."
      efrost96
      • 1 Year Ago
      ok this seems like a decent idea to me Chevy can use that Orlando here in the US in a logical way that fits in with its current line up. Its smaller and more efficient then the equinox but bigger and more family friendly then the Malibu. And I'm guessing they are building off of existing hybrid technology to keep cost in check
      King of Eldorado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is it possible this is a plug-in hybrid, and the charging port is behind that bowtie cut-out on the front? Those cut-lines look a bit suspicious.
      scout62
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hmm, does the Orlando have IRS? It's hard to tell from the pics but this looks like it does. I'm thinking next Equinox like a previous poster.
      Jesse Gurr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if this will give Ford the kick in the pants it needs to offer the Grand C-Max here as a hybrid with 3 rows. That would be something but I doubt it will happen. Might encroach on Transit Connect territory.
      Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      It has a plug cord hanging out the front bumper...and a Spatula in the back to cook with!
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