Kia Soul’ster Concept makes it debut at the Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian A., on January 26, 2009

The long-anticipated and talked-about Kia Soul'ster, a top-down concept based on the Soul, has made its appearance at the NAIAS in Detroit. The Soul'ster is an economical front-drive concept, a version of the Soul production model which was introduced last year at the LA Auto Show. The Kia Soul'ster is a two-door concept with a roadster foundation that comes with a lowered windshield for a more sporty and hunkered down appearance.

A two-piece roof gives the passengers the option of exposing either the front or the rear seating sections individually or both. The roll bars serve both as a slider for the detachable roof and for protection (which is absent from most standard convertibles).

The front end of the Soul'ster is unique with its refined but tough features which comes from details such as its anodized skid-pad insert which goes with the design scheme of the wheels, fender vents, and roll bar header. Headlights provide an amber glow while the side vents and signal lights in the side-mirrors, LED headlights, fog and taillights include blue shades.

The uniquely dynamic overall appearance is carried from the front bumper to the dual chrome exhaust and polished aluminum exhaust tips that comes with carbon-fiber inside sleeves. The Soul'ster's appearance is completed by the big 19-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels making the Soul'ster a nice-looking vehicle from any angle!

The interior of the Soul'ster features improvements from the Soul which consist of the latest 4-passenger seating arrangement, providing more space for luggage for extended weekend vacations.

Other key features include passenger and rear seats that can be folded flat, cranked up windows plus audio speakers that are built into the dash. The cornered design format is boosted by the non-floor-mounted cantilevered seats giving the illusion of being suspended in space which actually offers more legroom for rear passengers while the fold-flat rear seats give more cargo space beneath it.

More cargo space could be found at the rear and under the cargo hold section. The Soul'ster comes with different engine configurations for a variety of needs. Available are a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder powerplant joined to a 5-speed manual gearbox, that generates about 120hp; a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powerplant with either 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto transmission, generating about 140hp. Both engines are rated 30mpg plus; and also a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder powerplant with 124hp or a 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine.

Press Release

Kia Soul’ster Concept

Kia Motors America (KMA) arrives at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with the Kia Soulster open-air concept, a variation of the highly anticipated Soul, arriving at Kia Motors retailers this spring. With young buyers' budgets in mind, the Kia Soulster is an efficient front-drive car based on the production model Kia Soul, recently introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

"Kia Soulster delivers something new, intriguing and relevant to today's buyers - a fun, affordable convertible for active people who like to share good times with friends," said Tom Kearns, chief designer, KMA. "Defying categorization and providing utility and practicality, the Kia Soulster exhibits distinctive design cues and satisfies multiple consumer needs."

Stylin' Soul'r Yellow Design

A two-door concept with roadster roots, the brightly colored Soul'r yellow Soulster 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, using elbow-grease technology. The roll bar serves a dual purpose and includes a place for the slider tracks, while providing protection not found in traditional convertibles.

With a unique face, Kia Soulster has a tough but refined character. The toughness is expressed through details like the anodized skid-pad insert, which matches the fender vents, roll bar header and wheels.

Kia Soulster'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.

The energetic, distinctive look carries from front to rear with dual chrome exhaust and polished aluminum exhaust tips featuring carbon-fiber interior sleeves. The large 19-inch, five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels perfect the Kia Soulster's appearance. Regardless of Soulster being viewed from front, back or side, it offers innovative perspectives derived from the original Soul.

Inside Out

Once inside, Kia Soulster takes even 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 surprisingly flexible Kia Soulster provides real seating for two in the front with comfortable seating for two more adults in the back. Fold-flat passenger and rear seats combined with ample headroom make this the perfect car for social outings outdoors and on the beach with friends. 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 myriad cargo needs. In addition to the spacious cargo area, dual storage compartments also can be found in the rear and underneath the cargo hold area.

All Revved Up

With young buyers in mind, Kia Soulster offers an agile, smooth and spirited ride. As with its Soul cousin, Soulster's can be made available with a myriad 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 a little 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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