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Kia Showcases Soul'ster In Detroit

Kia Soul'ster concept car (copyright image) 15th January, 2009

  • Open-air concept turns up the heat
  • Distinctive design portrays style, practicality and efficiency
  • Kia Motors' design team delivers another high-style concept

Kia Motors is bringing a sunny beach feeling to the 2009 Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) on a cold Detroit winter day with the arrival of the Kia Soul'ster open-air concept, a variation of the highly anticipated Kia Soul urban crossover.

With young-at-heart buyers' budgets in mind, the Soul'ster is an efficient 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 another example of Kia's increased and long-term focus on design, which recently received official praise and recognition from the Korean government*, through its three international design facilities.

"Soul'ster 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, Kia Motors America chief designer. "Defying categorisation and providing utility and practicality, the Soul'ster exhibits distinctive design cues and satisfies multiple consumer needs."

Tough and refined roadster design roots

Soul'ster is a two-door concept with roadster-like appeal. Along with a brightly coloured '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.

With a unique face, Soul'ster has a tough but refined character. The toughness is expressed through details like the anodised skid-pad insert, which matches the guard vents, roll bar header and wheels.

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.

The energetic, distinctive look carries from front to rear with dual chrome exhaust and polished aluminium exhaust tips featuring carbon-fibre interior sleeves. The large 19-inch, five-spoke aluminium alloy wheels perfect the Soul'ster's appearance. Regardless of whether Soul'ster is viewed from front, rear or side, it offers innovative perspectives derived from the original Soul design.

Inside out

Kia Soul'ster concept car (copyright image)

Once inside, Soul'ster 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 Soul'ster provides real seating for two in the front with comfortable space 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 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.

All revved up

With young buyers in mind, Soul'ster offers an agile, smooth and spirited ride. As with its Soul cousin, Soul'ster can be made available with a series of engine choices depending upon each market's needs. A 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine is matched to a five-speed manual transmission. For those looking for a little more power, a 2.0-litre four cylinder engine is available with either the five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Other markets might choose the 1.6-litre turbodiesel.

Note: Standard equipment and specifications based on US concept model.

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