Kia Soul Concept

Though the Kia Soul hasn't quite hit showroom floors in the U.S. yet, Kia has already brought out a new concept, dubbed the Soul'ster, to illustrate possible future adaptations of the Soul.

Kia promises that the Soul'ster is more than just fresh sheet metal. The biggest change is the two-piece removable roof, that Kia says uses "elbow grease technology." We're pretty sure that means you have to take it off yourself, especially considering that this vehicle has crank windows. They attach to permanent roll bar running across the middle of the vehicle. Kia says the Soul'ster is targeted at hip, young buyers looking for sportiness and versatility on a budget.

With that in mind, the company designed the Soul'ster to seat five, though they admit that four would fit more comfortably. They'll be riding on seats that aren't bolted to the floor, a feature Kia added to increase storage space. To drastically increase storage space, the rear seats can be folded flat.

The Soul'ster utilizes the same engines as the standard Soul, a set of small four-cylinder units. The base engine is a 1.6L mill mated to a five-speed manual transmission and generating 120 hp. Optional is a more-powerful 140-hp 2.0L engine mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Kia says both powerplants are good for 30 mpg fuel-efficiency or better. Non-U.S. markets can also choose from a 124-hp 1.6L engine or a 1.6L turbo-diesel.

Debuting in "Soul'r" yellow, the Soul'ster also features a number of cosmetic updates beyond the new roofline. Also featured on the concept are a new front end and new lighting all the way around, as well as special 19-in. wheels and dual chrome exhaust tips with carbon-fiber interior sleeves. It is not yet known if the Soul'ster will ever make it past the concept stage, and its future likely depends on the success of the original Soul, once it finally goes on sale.