The Kia Soul hasn’t even hit dealerships and already the Korean manufacturer is showcasing a “convertible” version of its box-on-wheels.
Looking somewhat like a cartoon Jeep, or a creation from the Rinspeed design studio, the Kia Soul’Ster was designed to prove that basic transportation can be cool.
While still a concept the Soul production model is certainly affordable with a just-released MSRP of $14,000.
Design cues include a rivet design for the bodywork and a shorted windshield. The two-piece top allows passengers to expose the front and rear independently, using what Kia calls “elbow grease technology.”
While a cute means of transportation the Soul’ster has plenty of masculine designs including the use of anodized metal for the thick roll-bar, fender vents and skid-pad inserts.
The concept features 19-inch wheels and, says Kia, could come with the 1.6-liter or 140hp 2.0-liter engine found in the Soul. A 1.6-liter turbodiesel is also a possibility as it is offered in the Soul in other markets.
Official release after the jump:
KIA MOTORS AMERICA SHOWCASES THE SOUL’STER CONCEPT AT 2009 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW Open-Air Concept Heats Up the Show
• Distinctive design portrays style, practicality and efficiency • Kia Motors America design team delivers another high-style concept
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2009 – Bringing a sunny beach feeling into Cobo Center on a cold day in January, Kia Motors America (KMA) arrives at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with the Soul’ster open-air concept, a variation of the highly anticipated Soul, arriving at Kia Motors retailers this spring. With young buyers’ budgets in mind, the Soul’ster is an efficient front-drive car based on the production model Soul, recently introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. “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, chief designer, KMA. “Defying categorization and providing utility and practicality, the Soul’ster 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 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, 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, Soul’ster 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.
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 aluminum exhaust tips featuring carbon-fiber interior sleeves. The large 19-inch, five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels perfect the Soul’ster’s appearance. Regardless of Soul’ster being viewed from front, back or side, it offers innovative perspectives derived from the original Soul.
Inside Out 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 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, Soul’ster offers an agile, smooth and spirited ride. As with its Soul cousin, Soul’ster’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.