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Kia Track'ster concept car (2012) first official photos

Mon, 06 Feb 2012

Kia will show the new Track'ster at the 2012 Chicago motor show. It's a concept car designed to show what a harder, faster Kia Soul hatch could be like.

Scant information is available at present, but Kia has confirmed the Track'ster was designed by Kia's Californian studio, led by Tom Kearns - and today it issued a new photograph of the Track'ster, after last week's design sketch.

Kia Track'ster concept car: a pocket rocket

The Track'ster has a 248bhp petrol engine, apparently. Enough to make this rollerskate a proper hot hatch tearaway, says Kia.

We're still not sure about the name, though: Kia loves a bit of grammatical violation, and the Track'ster has the same apostrophe nonsense as the Ceed range. CAR's sub-editors always remove the rogue apostrophe and don't allow the Cee'd style used by Kia...

It's a classic tactic to give an ageing model – the Soul is now four years old – a bit of a fillip. We hear development of the next Soul is well underway and it may be slightly less boxy, to swell its appeal globally.

Is that a shame, which may yet destroy the chunky appeal of the Soul? Or a clever marketing wheeze to broaden its customer base. We thought the Soul was deliberately more idiosyncratic, aimed at Mini buyers. Otherwise you'd just buy a Picanto if you wanted a sensible Kia supermini, wouldn't you?

Kia Soul convertible and hot hatch

The Californian studio was originally responsible for the Kia Soul hatchback; the American design team has also drawn up a Soul'ster convertible which is under assessment for final approval and production, according to Kia.

Americans bought 102,000 Souls in the US in 2011 – that's a record for Kia in the US.

There are, however, no plans for Track'ster production. Could be just the thing to give the Soul more sporting appeal.

By Tim Pollard