Kia Track'ster Revealed
The Kia Track'ster concept is out of the box. Attenders at the Chicago Auto Show yesterday had the privilege to witness the rather dramatic revealing. And now when the Track'ster is open to the public, we do are not sure from where to start.
Although it is based on the current Soul, in essence it is an entirely different car. The Track'ster is simply exciting to look at thanks to those air-gulping, carbon grille installations across the front and the massive auxiliary LED lights that complement them. The headlights themselves are impressive enough with that flowing figure that seems to be reaching for the fenders. And can you not notice the color of the whole thing? It's white and orange as if it's a pair of trainers – The roof and lower front, side and back valances are in, what Kia calls, an 'inferno' shade. That burning hue can be noticed as a motive also on the mirrors and at the front air-scooping slit and inside. To do the honor of the overall sculptured body lines of the Track'ster, Kia have fitted four HRE-K1 monoblock billet performance wheels. Ideal tires would be 245/40-19-inch for the front wheels and a stunningly wide and low pair of 285/35-19's at the back.
More features that set the Track'ster apart from the Soul include the dimensions – 101.2-inches of wheelbase length make the concept almost an inch longer than its production parent. And most certainly, the 14-inch Brembo vented and cross-drilled brake discs at the front and 13.6-inch ones at the back, gripped by six and four-piston calipers respectively, do not come as standard on a Soul but they are present in Track'ster. Such suspension attention on a concept car seems redundant but when we realize that the Track'ster hides a 2.0-liter, straight four turbocharged power plant that develops 250 hp things start to make sense. What also makes sense is the power being channeled trough an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system in order to prevent any torquesteer, understeer or oversteer tendencies. The transmission is a six-speed, short-ratio manual controlled by a stubby gear stick found on the center console (naturally).
Speaking of the center console, the inside of the car is certainly a place where we or any other car enthusiast might like to spend a great deal of time. The two bucket seats at the front are dressed in gray and orange (inferno) leather. The dashboard, door panels and center console have the same motives with added white patterns. There are standalone gauges on top of the dashboard that indicate things like oil pressure, temperature and battery voltage. Just bellow is a touch-screen interface which deals with the navigation, ventilation and entertainment system. The start button on the other hand, might just be the most exciting feature of all (for a 10 year old).
A part of the Track'ster's "street" appeal is lost when we look at the back where, on a normal Soul, one would find rear seats. The Track'ster however stands by its name and occupies the rear space with a section for tools, a sport's gear compartment, a place for a spare tire and other track-friendly items. It all sounds like a car enthusiast's dream really. Except one problem – Kia are not thinking of actually making it. It is said that the Track'ster is more of a test for the company's engineers and their creativity and ability to make perfect, road going, performance superminis. Point taken.