Kia's planning on unveiling their Soul-based Trail'ster e-AWD concept at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show, but they're just so damn excited they couldn't help but release this picture, seemingly taken by a dog. This should be a fun concept, and, unlike the other Soul-based "-ster" concepts, maybe it'll actually get made.
In 2009, Kia had their Soul'ster concept, a fun little Soul-based truck. In 2012 they had the Track'ster, a cut-down 2-door, 250 HP hot-hatch. Both were fun, but both also incorporated some pretty heavy body modifications to the Soul, which made actual production seem fairly unlikely.
The Trail'ster appears to be different. The basic body seems to be retained from the normal Soul, with the addition of an e-AWD system and, what sounds most fun to me, a LeCar/2CV-style full-length canvas folding roof. Their blurb with the picture also calls it the "turbocharged Trail'ster," which, to a cunning super-sleuth like myself, suggests the engine will have a turbo.
Earlier Trail'ster teasers show a beefed-up Soul with underbody plates and fun wheels, but so far nothing too radical for production:
This new teaser picture also shows some fun taillight treatments, including some nice, big concentric circular lights with what may be a simple, but pleasingly utilitarian, rear fog lamp.
The e-AWD system is probably the easiest way to get to AWD as well, and I'm wondering if Kia may actually be serious about this as a possible Renegade/500x competitor. It wouldn't be the worst idea, really, so here's hoping they're not just jerk'stering our chain.