Showing off what could well be the next level for the Kia Soul, and the brand’s hybrid drivetrain strategy, the Kia Trailster Concept made its big splash down at the Chicago Auto Show.

Taking the already cute Soul, Kia added buff off-road touches inside and out. Larger 19-inch wheels with red aluminum accent pieces, skid plates and bulging body cladding give it more ruggedness all around while a canvas roll-top roof brings a sense of adventure.

It also got a 2.5 inch lift over a production Kia Soul with KSport coil-over shocks and a heavier duty suspension to handle the rough stuff we crazy consumers would throw at it.

Kia added K-900 style LED headlamps which look too cool, and should become a production option on the Kia Soul immediately. Other style touches include jeweled LED driving lights and a revised rear tail light panel.

Inside, the Soul’s interior gets reworked with rich brown leather and aluminum accents inspired Kia says by outdoor equipment. The center console of course has an oversized gear lever, embellished all-wheel drive controls and a bright red “ignition” button to underscore the off-road flair of the Trailster..

Its roll-top canvas roof brings a nice open air feel to the interior just as the glass panoramic roof currently available on the Soul does. But this scenario is a lot lighter and gives a full-open air vibe.

But the Trailster is far from a pie-in-the-sky concept car, this one drives and has a powertrain we will soon see in the showroom in either this or another Kia or Hyundai branded car.

It’s a hybrid all-wheel-drive system that starts with Kia’s 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine tuned for 185 horsepower which drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Out back is a 35 horsepower electric motor which drives the rear wheels.

In all, the system has a total 220 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque when both power sources are summoned. That makes it the most powerful Soul we have seen yet.

Like most hybrids, it can operate in a number of modes. The gasoline engine is the primary drive unit, assisted by the rear motor adding power to compensate for turbo-lag in high-performance situations. The rear motor also provides robust all-wheel-drive traction for snow, mud, and overall bad natured fun.

In less extreme modes, the Trailster can behave like any other hybrid, providing up to 25-30 percent better fuel-efficiency. It can operate in electric mode for up to 3 miles with the engine turned off, pulling power from its 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery which resides under the rear floor.

The electric motor at the rear can provide regenerative braking to charge the battery and a motor generator under the hood enables the engine’s robust start-stop capabilities.

My take here is that this baby is headed to a showroom soon or something very much like it is. The powertrain is one Kia and Hyundai has already been engineering and testing for some time and is all-but production ready.