Kia Motors America details its open-air, outdoor-oriented Soulâster concept car ahead of its debut Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The concept, based on the â10 Soul production cross/utility vehicle going on sale in the U.S. this spring, features design details such as bright âSoulârâ yellow paint and screw borders similar to rivets on fighter jets.
The concept also sports a 2-piece roof, which allows the front and back seating areas to be opened independent of one another, âusing elbow-grease technology,â KMA says in a statement.
â(The) Soulâster delivers something new, intriguing and relevant to todayâs buyers â a fun, affordable convertible for active people who like to share good times with friends,â says Tom Kearns, KMAâs chief designer.
While the production Soul will have four doors, the Soulâster is designed with two. It also has 19-in. wheels, compared with the Soulâs 16-in. standard issue.
Particular attention has been paid to the Soulâsterâs exterior lighting, with blue-hued light-emitting diode headlamps accented with an amber glow. The side vents, side-mirror turn signals and fog and taillamps also are blue in color.
From the front, Kia describes the Soulâster as having âtoughâ features, such as an anodized skid-pad insert that coordinates with the fender vents, roll-bar header and wheels.
Dual chrome exhaust pipes with polished aluminum tips and carbon-fiber interior sleeves are featured in the rear of the Soulâster.
Inside, there is seating for four vs. the production Soulâs 5-passenger layout. The loss of the fifth seat lends âspacious versatility for long summer weekends,â KMA says.
The front passenger and rear seats fold flat for cargo hauling. They are not mounted to the floor but cantilevered, providing the illusion of being suspended in space when viewed from the vehicleâs side.
Kia envisions the Soulâster offering a variety of engine options, from a 1.6L 4-cyl. making 120 hp to the Soulâs 2.0L 4-cyl. that kicks out 140 hp.
Overseas, a second 1.6L engine producing 124 hp or a 1.6L turbodiesel may be the more likely powertrain choices for the Soulâster, KMA says.
The Soulâster is the latest in a series of Soul concepts, following the Soul Burner, Soul Diva and Soul Searcher, all of which debuted at last yearâs Geneva auto show. The Soul Hybrid was unveiled at last Octoberâs Paris show.
Meanwhile, KMA announces the production Soul will be priced just below $14,000, including $695 destination and handling charges. A fully loaded Soul should top out at less than $20,000.