We haven't seen many Ford Expedition test vehicles out in public. A modest refresh for the full-size SUV is coming soon, and there will be new trim levels as well. We recently caught an Expedition Hybrid out and about, but today's prototype sighting is a bit more rugged. In fact, we have good reason to believe Ford will offer a beefy Expedition Timberline with some notable off-road upgrades.

How do we come to such a conclusion? For starters, this Expedition test vehicle sits a bit higher than previous models we've seen. That's especially noticeable when you look at the rear suspension, and speaking of which, those lower arms look rather stout compared to stock parts.

Gallery: Ford Expedition Timberline Spy Photos

At the front we see a skid plate protecting the underside of the engine, but perhaps the biggest clue comes with the front wheels. Do they look familiar? They should, because we saw them on aFord Explorer Timberline test vehicle back in January. Peel away the camo from the front clip and we bet you'd find red accents on the fascia.

What can we expect under the hood? Our sources haven't uncovered much to share on that front, but dual exhaust tips at the back likely point to the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. In the current Expedition, the twin-turbocharged mill offers 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) but a power boost could well be in order for a more aggressive Timberline model. We'd also expect it to offer additional drive modes for a variety of off-road situations.

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With this being our first sighting of an aggressive-looking Expedition, we have more digging ahead of us for detailed information. Given the wheels and the noticeable difference in ride height, we at least feel confident in calling this a Timberline edition. We also feel confident that Ford will unveil its updated Expedition later this year as a 2022 model.

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