Rate It: The Track-Focused Take on the Kia Soul

The Kia Soul isn't really known for being the sportiest car in the lineup, but that didn't stop the Korean car maker from trying to make something track-worthy out the divisive hatchback with the 2012 Soul Track'ster concept. (Before you ask, yes, that really is how it is written in the press materials.)

Debuting at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, the Track'ster made do with 250 horsepower, all-wheel drive and two fewer doors than the production model.

Meaty 19-inch HRE wheels also sat on each corner and covered large-diameter ventilated Brembo disc brakes.

Interior-wise, the rear seats were removed in favor of a "fully integrated equipment tray and spare-tire well," and a genuine six-speed manual transmission was fitted.

Of course, Kia noted that "there are no current plans to produce the Track'ster," but should the Soul get a hot(ter) hatch version, or is it better off as a tall, funky hatchback?

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Comments
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mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
9/17/20 10:28 a.m.

Looks gorgeous! However, like the boxy Scion, the intended demographic, and the actual demographic of the Soul, like the Scion, have been quite different...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/17/20 10:33 a.m.

Would totally drive it. 

D2W
D2W Dork
9/17/20 10:42 a.m.

That's cool

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
9/17/20 10:43 a.m.

2 more doors please

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/17/20 10:43 a.m.

My brother has an early Soul--all black and with a manual box. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/20 10:56 a.m.

2012 Soul Trackster, didn't happen.

2013 Juke Nismo, DID happen. But a lot of people still don't care. 

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
9/17/20 1:39 p.m.

Combine the widebody look of this concept with a tweeked Genesis Coupe drivetrain (RWD) and you would have a great little track monster.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
9/17/20 1:44 p.m.

Clio turbo rear flares would look nice on it as well

Shaun
Shaun Dork
9/17/20 4:02 p.m.

It is so much wider than a soul that it transforms into a hothatch except that is has old school amounts of glass and outward visibility. 250 hp awd useful daily it is winner in my brain.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/17/20 4:03 p.m.

Having driven a 1st gen Soul a lot, I would say no way. But, having driven the new Soul Turbo, I would say hell yeah. Not something I would try to autocross or track, but I am all for practical vehicles that haul A$$.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/17/20 4:24 p.m.

I'm not seeing much to complain about there.  Heck, it looks clean enough that they could sell it now and it wouldn't seem dated.

 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
9/17/20 4:25 p.m.

I love it!

with two more doors and seating, it’s basically exactly what I want... a fast utilitarian car. What a concept!

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
9/17/20 9:19 p.m.

I like it. If every hot hatch had fender flares like that the world would be a better place.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
9/17/20 9:24 p.m.

I dig the styling, and the awd would make the Soul more fun to drive.  For a concept from 2012 it was a serious step forward from the Kia that had previously sold such forgettable gems as the Amanti and Rondo.

barefootskater
barefootskater UltraDork
9/17/20 9:32 p.m.

I'd drive that every day. Looks better than the veloster. And 250 sounds great for a car of that size and weight on the street. Oh, what might have been. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/17/20 9:58 p.m.

Where do I sign?

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
9/17/20 10:58 p.m.

Kona N sounds like it might be the next best thing.  Better suspension and more power too.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/18/20 12:56 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

Kona N sounds like it might be the next best thing.  Better suspension and more power too.

I read that it's got the 195 HP 1.6 Turbo. The fictitious Trackster makes 250 HP. What am I missing?

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
9/18/20 5:30 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:
ProDarwin said:

Kona N sounds like it might be the next best thing.  Better suspension and more power too.

I read that it's got the 195 HP 1.6 Turbo. The fictitious Trackster makes 250 HP. What am I missing?

Supposedly it will have the 1.6 Turbo initially followed by the Veloster N motor further down the line but who really knows.........this is the internet. It seems very interesting at this point.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
9/18/20 6:14 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:
ProDarwin said:

Kona N sounds like it might be the next best thing.  Better suspension and more power too.

I read that it's got the 195 HP 1.6 Turbo. The fictitious Trackster makes 250 HP. What am I missing?

The Kona Turbo has that engine.  The N-line has 215hp.  The N has the Veloster N motor - 275hp 2.0t.

Vajingo
Vajingo New Reader
9/18/20 12:32 p.m.

Hey here's a concept that gets everyone excited, let's not build it. Add two doors to this frame and you have a car that sells to everyone for a price lower than everything else in the class. Less power than an STI? Yep. I also save $20,000 that I can put toward making the soul as fast or faster than an STI or evo. 
 

Or, perhaps you are a marketing agent that lives in the suburbs and is single. But occasionally you like to hit the mountain slopes. This car has you covered, and you look good and can go fast if you want. Or, do you have a family of four and youre used to have sports cars, but now you're relegated to driving a minivan? What to do? This car with four doors would've gave you everything you wanted.

So many missed opportunities.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
9/18/20 4:47 p.m.

We essentially got this in the form of a Veloster N. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/18/20 7:23 p.m.

I have a fetish for utility/sport hybrids - not the SUV kind, but the WRX hatchback/Z3 coupe/uberwagon sort. It's from my surfing and kayaking days where I needed the room to cary my gear, squirm into wetsuits, and occasionally, sleep. But I also live in Northern California, where those trips are on narrow windy roads that are a lot more fun in something like this Kia than a 4-runner or what have you.

 

So to reiterate, "Where do I sign?" or "Take my money!".

 

Error404
Error404 Reader
9/19/20 8:27 a.m.

It's got the same funky roofline as a Veloster, do not like. I applaud the concept, though, and I'm not surprised it never saw actual production.

 

A few minor tweaks would make it perfect, though. 2 more doors, a third row of seating, make it a turbo 4 with a 7500lb tow rating and you're close. Make it a wagon-ute and EV that is under 2500lbs and you could almost get GRM to buy it. cheeky

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/19/20 6:19 p.m.

It's amazing what nice wheels and big fender flares will do for almost any car. 

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/20/20 2:10 p.m.

I REALLY like the look of that rig!

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
9/20/20 4:17 p.m.

It's really cute.  Were I in need of something cute . . .

mhisstc
mhisstc New Reader
10/3/20 7:29 a.m.

I saw that in person at the 2015 Chicago auto show.  I thought it was very cool and looked very beefy in person, but was disappointed you couldn't see the interior and it wasn't going to be a production vehicle.  

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