Kia Motors America details its open-air, outdoor-oriented Soul’ster concept car ahead of its debut Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The concept, based on the ’10 Soul production cross/utility vehicle going on sale in the U.S. this spring, features design details such as bright “Soul’r” 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, “using elbow-grease technology,” KMA says in a statement.
“(The) 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,” says Tom Kearns, KMA’s chief designer.
While the production Soul will have four doors, the Soul’ster is designed with two. It also has 19-in. wheels, compared with the Soul’s 16-in. standard issue.
Particular attention has been paid to the Soul’ster’s 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 Soul’ster as having “tough” 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 Soul’ster.
Inside, there is seating for four vs. the production Soul’s 5-passenger layout. The loss of the fifth seat lends “spacious versatility for long summer weekends,” 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 vehicle’s side.
Kia envisions the Soul’ster offering a variety of engine options, from a 1.6L 4-cyl. making 120 hp to the Soul’s 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 Soul’ster, KMA says.
The Soul’ster is the latest in a series of Soul concepts, following the Soul Burner, Soul Diva and Soul Searcher, all of which debuted at last year’s Geneva auto show. The Soul Hybrid was unveiled at last October’s 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.