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Review (2/2)

Kia's Performance Concept Kick Starts Driving Enthusiasts' Hearts

Source: Kia | Published: Thu Feb 09, 2012

(continued from the previous page)

With performance as the top priority, the Track'ster rolls into Chicago with a concept drivetrain sure to kick start any driving enthusiast's heart. KMA's design team dreamed big, but also kept their vision firmly rooted in reality. A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine pumps 250 horsepower to the pavement, a 66 percent increase over that of the production Soul. Power is routed to all four wheels via an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. The short-throw six-speed manual transmission is capped with a stubby spherical shift lever. The Track'ster rides on a lowered sport suspension tuned for track performance.

Opening the driver's door reveals a light and airy interior highlighted with deeply bolstered Inferno Orange suede-covered racing seats. Granite Gray leather envelopes the interior landscape and imparts a feeling of strength and stability. Granite Gray suede wraps the sport steering wheel and door panels. Located deep within red-glowing nacelles, the primary instruments are large and easily readable. Auxiliary vehicle information such as oil temperature and battery voltage is found atop the dash panel while navigation, entertainment and HVAC controls are accessed through a large touch-screen panel located just above the engine Start/Stop push-button.

Behind the front seats is where Track'ster takes a significant step away from its Soul stable mate. The rear seats have been removed and replaced with a fully integrated equipment tray and spare-tire well. "We saw the Track'ster as a performance-inspired concept that could spend time on the road and racetrack," said Kearns. "The idea was to make the tools and equipment necessary to keep the car performing in top condition easily accessible." 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.

While there are no current plans to produce the Track'ster, Kia's California design center team enthusiastically took on the project. "Concept cars are icing on the cake," said Kearns. "They allow KMA's design team to dream about what could be. Whether that dream becomes a reality or not is a separate question."

Kia Trackster Concept: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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