12 January 2009

Kia Soul'ster

Kia showcases Soul'ster concept

12 January 2009 | Kia is bringing a sunny beach feeling to the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on a cold Detroit winter day with the arrival of the Kia Soul'ster open-air concept. With young-at-heart buyers' budgets in mind, the Soul'ster is a front-drive car based on the Kia Soul production model, which made its world debut at the 2008 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris in October.

Soul'ster is a two-door concept with roadster roots. Along with a brightly colored 'Soul'r yellow' finish, the Soul'ster projects a hip industrial look with screw borders, reminiscent of a rivet design found on a fighter jet. The windshield is shortened for a sportier and hunkered down appearance. A two-piece top enables passengers to expose the front and back seating areas independently. The roll bar serves a dual purpose and includes a place for the slider tracks, while providing protection not found in traditional convertibles.


Soul'ster's attitude incorporates lighting that shines through with an amber glow under the headlamps. The side vents, side-mirror turn signals, unique LED headlamps, fog and tail lamps incorporate blue shades.

Once inside, Soul'ster takes more progressive variations from Soul beginning with the new four-passenger seating design, a diversion from Soul's five-passenger arrangement, lending spacious versatility for long summer weekends. The Soul'ster provides seating for two in the front with comfortable space for two more in the back. Making basic features hot, its crank-up windows are a purposefully key interior design element as are the dashboard-integrated audio speakers.

Adding to the edgy design scheme, the non-floor-mounted cantilevered seats project the illusion of being suspended in space when viewed from the side allowing for increased rear legroom. Storage compartments below each of the fold-flat rear seats, offer room for a myriad of cargo needs. In addition to the spacious cargo area, dual storage compartments can be found in the rear and underneath the cargo hold.

As with its Soul cousin, Soul'ster's can be made available with a series of engine choices depending upon each market's needs. A 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which produces approximately 120 horsepower. For those looking for more power, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available with either the five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission, producing approximately 140 horsepower. Fuel economy for both engines is estimated at 30 or more miles per gallon. Other markets might choose the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 124 horsepower or a 1.6-liter turbodiesel.

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