The Kia Trail’ster concept has been unveiled at the Chicago motor show with a turbocharged motor and an electric all-wheel-drive system.
Based on the Kia Soul, the Trail’ster concept takes the tall-boy hatchback and adds a whole bunch of off-road styling cues. The concept isn’t all show and no go, though.
Under the bonnet, the Trail’ster houses a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 138kW of power and 251Nm of torque. This turbocharged motor drives the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
At the rear there’s an independent 270-volt AC electric motor motivating the rear wheels to the tune of 27kW/136Nm. This through-the-road AWD system can operate as a pure electric vehicle at low speeds, with the electric motor’s 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery capable of driving the car for up to five kilometres.
The rear axle’s electric motor also kicks in during hard acceleration or whenever the car begins noticing that its front wheels are slipping.
To help the petrol engine stop and start, it has been fitted with a hybrid starter generator that’s allied to a high-voltage battery.
The Trail’ster’s suspension rides around 63.5mm taller than a regular Soul’s, and off-road traction is helped by Pirelli snow tyres that are wrapped around 19-inch alloy wheels.
Visually, the Trail’ster is distinguished by its black wheel arch extensions, aluminium bash plates at the front and rear, a slimmer and wider ‘tiger-nose’ grille, and LED headlights and tail-lights. A retractable canvas roof allows the Trail’ster’s passengers to commune a little more with nature.