Despite its advanced age, the Volvo XC90 remains a highly competent luxury SUV. The design has aged nicely, and it's clear from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety naming the big Volvo a Top Safety Pick + that the safety-minded Swedes behind it knew what they were doing. Still, even the finest cars need replacing, especially after nearly 12 years on sale.

Here we have the first spy shots of the next-generation XC90, under development somewhere cold (at this rate, it could be anywhere from Arvidsjaur to Atlanta). Now, as our spy photogs point out, this is the real deal, judging by all that camo over the vehicle. There's a production body under there, rather than this being a mule with the old vehicle's skin on top of it.

It's difficult to make out much because of all the camo, although there are some similarities to both the Concept XC Coupe from the Detroit Auto Show and a batch of teaser images we showed you earlier this year. We can see the greenhouse retains a shape similar to the current XC90, although the beltline climbs rather aggressively once past the C pillar, much like it does on the Concept XC Coupe. In back, Volvo has eschewed tall, vertical lights in favor of more conventional units, which we expect to be similar to what we saw in the teaser images. We'd bargain that there will be a traditional rectangular grille, like what you can see on the concept. The headlights, meanwhile, should wear T-shaped LED elements, like the teaser images.

Unlike the current car, which draws its power from a 3.2-liter six-cylinder, our spies claim the XC90 will switch to four-cylinder power in its second-generation. Turbocharging will, obviously, be featured, while both diesel and gas-powered engines will be available (don't count on the diesel in the US, though). An eight-speed automatic should be standard, while a plug-in-hybrid variant could arrive later in the SUV's life.

We're expecting to see the next XC90 early in 2015, or perhaps even later in 2014, if we're lucky. It's plausible, although unlikely, that a concept variant could show up at the Paris or Los Angeles shows, ahead of a production debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, although it's too early to be certain of anything.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 10 Months Ago
      I am excited about this
      • 10 Months Ago
      That body is sitting quite low on the wheels, so low that I'd call it a wagon. Clearance needs to be better. Even soccer mom commutes often require driving in snow and mud if you live in the mountains. I'm kind of disappointed in how bad the proportions are, especially compared to XC60 and XC90 that are both gorgeous vehicles(XC90 is 10 years old and it still looks great).
        • 10 Months Ago
        Maybe if you add the roof rails that the current one has it would look a little more like it? I don't think the proportions are THAT far off. Also, maybe air suspension hunkers down at speed? Compare these two shots:
      • 10 Months Ago
      Assuming the doors & pillars are real, the greenhouse is less sculpted than I hoped. Hard to make out anything more than that. It would be great to see Volvo sell a production version of the Concept Coupe--that one is truly special, in a way that no other Volvo has been decades?
      • 10 Months Ago
      The most interesting thing about the XC90 to me is that it has changed a little in so many years, and drivers in the UK still like it and buy it. More than anything, I'm glad Volvo is getting necessary investments under Geely ownership. It needs not be stated that this car will be a sales success. I wonder if they'll take it upmarket from the last one when it debuted. The luxury SUV game has really moved on since the XC90 was first introduced, and they have the great XC60 doing battle with smaller CUVs. I agree with those who seek a production XC Coupe as an SUV design halo. If Volvo were under German ownership, they'd probably have a lot more SUVs in their lineup. It really is perfect for their brand. Enough space and weight for safety equipment, a hatch and third row seating for practicality, you can capture that boxy Volvo aesthetic, and it's a Swedish company, so AWD is perfect for the snow. If I were Volvo's execs, I'd bring a ton more SUVs to market, to compete in many different segments. It's a great way for them to bolster sales while being consistent with their brand values.
      • 10 Months Ago
      they are definitely going after a larger class of vehicle!
      Ryan C. Lawson
      • 10 Months Ago
      Already love.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Reminds me of a legacy outback.