Chicago 2012: Kia unveils Soul-based Track'ster Concept

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Feb 9, 2012
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TopGear.com.ph Philippine Car News - Kia unveils Soul-based Track’ster Concept

It seems high-performance crossover concept vehicles are fast becoming de rigueur and Kia is not one to be left behind. The Korean carmaker has finally revealed the Kia Track'ster Concept, just months after Nissan revealed its own take in the Juke-R Concept.

"The idea was to make the Track'ster tough-looking, like a bulldog," said Tom Kearns, chief designer for Kia Motors America. "But the car had to be approachable as well. We wanted to base the car in reality so people instantly knew it was a Soul, but with a lot of attitude. It had to be a bold interpretation that would change people's conceptions of what a sporty Kia could be."

For the Track'ster, Kia's signature grille is trimmed in carbon fiber and feature an air intake slit. However, its most striking feature is its lower intake grille. Flanked by LED driving lights with billet aluminum surrounds, the Track'ster devours prodigious amounts of air to keep the engine running cool even under the most grueling conditions. The lower valance, trimmed in carbon fiber, rides just inches off the ground and lends to the car's menacing stance.

While the Track'ster's angled roof immediately gives away its Soul platform, it lacks the production car's rear doors. Instead, front doors have been lengthened and adorned with smooth billet push-style handles, which echo the racing-inspired billet fuel filler door. In addition, the wheelbase on the concept has been stretched to 101.2 inches, almost an inch longer than the production Soul.

Powering the Track'ster is a 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line-four engine that puts 250hp to all four wheels via an electronically-controlled four-wheel-drive system through the short-throw six-speed manual transmission. The Track'ster also rides on a lowered sport suspension tuned for track performance with HRE-K1 monoblock billet performance wheels shod with 245/40-19-inch (front) and 285/35-19-inch (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 high-performance tires.

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As expected in a car with the Track'ster's performance intentions, large 14-inch Brembo vented and cross-drilled disc brakes are embraced by six-piston callpers up front and 13.6-inch discs are paired with four-piston calipers at the rear.

Inside, the Track'ster boasts deeply bolstered Inferno Orange suede-covered racing seats with Granite Grey leather enveloping the interior surfaces while suede wraps, also in Granite Grey, cover the sport steering wheel and door panels. Behind the front seats is where Track'ster takes a significant step away from its Soul stable mate as the rear seats have been removed and replaced with a fully integrated equipment tray and spare-tyre well. Large paneled bins stow racing gear such as helmets, suits, gloves and tools while emergency supplies are housed within a separate and highly visible Inferno Orange container.  A custom rear strut brace incorporates a quick-release handle to allow for fast wheel changes.

As good as the Track'ster looks though, Kia revealed that it has no plans to put the vehicle in production.

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