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2012 Chicago Auto Show: Turbocharged Kia Track’ster concept

Consumer Reports News: February 08, 2012 03:23 PM

Aimed at car enthusiasts, Kia unveiled a high-performance concept called the Track’ster based on the Soul wagon at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

The three-door Track’ster is powered by a 250-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s also matched with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. In Subaru parlance, this is the WRX imaging of the mainstream model—an interesting concept, indeed, for Kia.

The Track’ster wheelbase is about an inch longer and five inches wider than the production Soul and rides on a lower, track-tuned suspension on 19-inch wheels. Larger 14-inch Brembo brakes in front with 13.6-inch in the rear also differentiate the Track’ster from its Soul-mate.

The interior includes a touch-screen display with navigation and start/stop ignition button.

One other noticeable difference from the Soul is the absence of a rear seat—pure show-car folly. The front doors have been extended and the rear has been replaced with an equipment tray and spare tire well.

At this time there are no plans to build the Track’ster, but these designs could hint at a future Soul. And significantly, it opens the discussion on whether there is room for a performance variant, and perhaps separately, is there a market for an AWD Soul.

Liza Barth

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