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Soulful buggy concept from Kia

2009-01-15 13:53
Adding credence to the Oriental cube car craze, Kia has unveiled an open-topped Soul’ster buggy in eye-popping yellow.

Kia showed the Soul five-seater locally at JIMS last year. Kia’s little box wagon should go on sale in North America by the end of the first quarter this year. The cube shape design and neat proportions present a styling exercise only the Orientals could pull off without rendering it looking completely ridiculous.

In an attempt to keep customer interest keen in anticipation of the Soul's market debut stateside, Kia unveiled the radical Soul’ster this week in Detroit.

Beach cruiser

Either retro Suzuki Samurai or diminutive, urban FJ-series lookalike - depending on your point of reference. Whatever styling cues you recognise in it, the Soul'ster takes cube styling to another level.

It features a two-piece removable roof (split by a mighty roll bar with buttressed rails flowing to the rear of the load box), vents cut into the fenders and LED headlamps, fog and tail lams all in shades of blue.

Viewed from the rear there are distinctive dual chrome exhausts with polished aluminium top and carbon-fibre interior sleeves.

As befits an elaborate concept car; the Soul’ster rides on 19-inch, five spoke alloy wheels. As a whole it has a very funky (almost bakkie-like) feel to it with the top down.

Funky interior

Interior design features four cantilever mounted seats (instead of being floor mounted) and manual windows, the latter apparently handles sand better than powered glass.

The single spoke steering wheel is a wonderfully unique industrial design touch and the interior as a whole looks like it could survive production homologation relatively unmolested...

Engines options are a 91kW 1.6l petrol and 103kW 2l. The front wheels are driven through either a five-speed manual or four-speed (a bit of a shame) automatic transmission.

Kia says customer interest could influence production probability – which supports a line of thinking intimating the Soul’ster showcar at Detroit is more production prototype than concept as we think.


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