Chicago Show 2012 Highlights: Kia Track'ster Concept

There must be something about the Soul hatchback that compels Kia to use bizarre punctuation. Take, for example, the Soul’s + and ! (Plus andExclaim in our language) trim levels, and the topless Soul’ster conceptfrom three years ago. This Track’ster is the company’s second apostrophe-laden Soul-based concept: It’s a 250-hp, all-wheel-drive hatchback that sacrifices the normal Soul’s rear doors and rear seat in the pursuit of track-readiness. The somewhat tough-looking concept makes its first appearance at the typically pickup-truck-heavy Chicago auto show.

The Track’ster’s basic shape was carried over from the Soul—the front end and sloped roof are vaguely familiar—but much of the rest is unique. The concept rides on a wheelbase that’s nearly an inch longer than the Soul’s, and its fender flares contribute to an additional five inches of overall width. It hides its size increase well; the extra width and lengthened front doors make it appear more compact and sporty than the five-door Soul.

The Track’ster’s best angle might be the rear shot, which features two booster-rocket exhaust outlets and taillights that illuminate from behind the hatch’s glass. Out front, Kia stuffed a pair of giant LED fog lights into the corners of the equally oversized lower intake. The headlights look like squared-off versions of the current Soul’s, and between them is a rather conventional-looking take on Kia’s corporate grille. Scoops and vents adorn both sides of the front and rear bumpers, each front fender, and both rocker panels just ahead of the rear wheels. Speaking of, they’re custom 19-inch HREs wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber.

Inside, there are just two deeply bolstered seats covered in grippy suede. In place of the absent rear seat, there’s a special parcel tray with has spots for track gear like helmets, racing suits, and tools. In keeping with the Track’ster’s racy theme, there are dash-top readouts for oil temperature and battery voltage.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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