Here’s something almost certain to see production. It’s the Kia Trail’ster concept. More adventurous iterations of existing models tend to do well, even if the air of ruggedness is only a veneer of more cladding and a slightly raised ride height. This is essentially a Kia Soul with a little more muscle.
“The Trail’ster concept is a near-future look at how the production Kia Soul would logically evolve into an AWD-capable version that’s built to escape the city streets and roam into the mountain wilderness,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center of America (KDCA).
It’s a purposeful looking thing, kitted with a roof rack, meaner alloys (that you wouldn’t want to scuff) and chunkier body mouldings. The concept also has a rollback canvas top that promises to help occupants enjoy the outdoors even more. Inside, it gets brown leather and aluminium accents for an “earthy” ambience. The cabin materials are said to have been inspired by snow gear and sports equipment.
Beneath the hood sits a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 138kW on tap. This is paired with an electric motor powering the rear axle. According to Kia, it’s there to provide “enhanced launch acceleration” and better traction in poor conditions.
It’s an approach promising to mitigate turbo lag, in addition to serving as an energy recovery mechanism. Compared to a standard Soul the Trail’ster rides two-and-a-half inches higher, thanks to coilover shocks. It also has Pirelli Winter Carving snow tyres.