The 2009 KIA Soul’ster Concept, a variation on the Soul, targets young buyers with an efficient front-wheel-drive layout and fun open-air 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.
“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 categorisation and providing utility and practicality, the Soul’ster exhibits distinctive design cues and satisfies multiple consumer needs.”
The windshield is shortened for a sportier and hunkered down appearance while 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 anodised 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-fibre 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.
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.
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-litre four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which produces approximately 90kW. 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, producing approximately 105kW. A turbo diesel model may also be offered post-release.