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Auto Show:  2012 Chicago Auto Show

Kia Track'ster Concept Preview: Chicago Auto Show

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author photo by Jeffrey Archer February 2012
  • A new rendering previews Kia's new Track'ster Concept.
  • The concept will add performance to the Soul hatchback.
  • We think the Track'ster is unlikely to see production.

Kia is bringing an all-new concept car to this year's Chicago Auto Show. Officially dubbed the Track'ster, the new Kia concept is based on the popular Soul hatchback and was recently teased in a rendering ahead of its debut at the show.

According to Kia, the Track'ster is a design study that displays the potential of a performance-inspired Soul. The automaker says the vehicle was conceived by its southern California design studio, noting that the Track'ster is the "heavy metal companion" to the "rock star" Soul. And while Kia says the hatchback is unlikely to see production, the automaker calls the Track'ster "a thought-provoking concept about what the Soul could someday be."

In the newly released rendering that previews the Track'ster, the high-performance hatchback is shown retaining the Soul's distinctive shape, but offering just two doors instead of the Soul's more practical four. The rendering also shows the Track'ster with pronounced side skirts, a massive air scoop on each door, sporty alloy wheels and an exaggerated spoiler.

While Kia hasn't announced what to expect under the Track'ster's hood, we imagine the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine included in the automaker's midsize Optima EX Turbo and sporty Optima SX will power it. That would give the concept hatchback around 250 horsepower and nearly 270 pound-feet of torque - a healthy boost over the 164 horses and 148 pound-feet found in the Soul! and Soul+.

The Track'ster is Kia's second major concept car based on the funky Soul hatchback. The first was a two-door soft-top model dubbed the Soul'ster, which was released at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While Kia is unlikely offer the Soul'ster due to its limited appeal and high production costs, the automaker recently announced the model is "currently under final assessment for production."

Although we don't yet know any further details about the Track'ster, we'll have more information to report later in the week during our live coverage of the Chicago Auto Show.

What it means to you: The Track'ster is a sign that Kia is looking to add performance to its product line.

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Kia Track'ster Concept Preview: Chicago Auto Show - Autotrader