Kia Soulster concept unveiled at Detroit auto show 2009 | CAR Magazine

Kia Soulster concept unveiled at Detroit auto show 2009

Published: 12 January 2009 Updated: 26 January 2015

To rub salt into the wounds of the beleaguered Big Three, Korean manufacturer Kia unveiled its own version of the iconic American pick-up truck at the Detroit auto show. But rather than a ultilitarian flat-bed, the Soulster concept is something at the very other end of the scale, designed to drum up interest in the Soul (on which it’s based) before the B-segment baby goes on sale later in 2009.

The Soulster concept was penned at Kia’s LA design studio – where the original Soul concept was created – and while there are no current production plans, company insiders have said that the right reaction from American customers could see the Soulster become a reality.

Kia Soulster? It’s not a full-size pick-up, is it?

Absolutely not, but rather based on Kia’s B-segment Soul. The Soul, a little jacked-up hatchback goes on sale in the UK and US very soon, and will cost less that $14k Stateside.

Compared to the production Soul, the Soulster features a lowered windscreen and an open-top with two removable panels so occupants can enjoy some open-air motoring.

Other tweaks and changes include a ‘Soul’r yellow’ paint job, amber backlighting on the headlights, and a blue glow from the fogs, tail lamps, indicators and side vents, while there’s lots of anodized metal body cladding and big 19-inch wheels.

And inside?

There’s only four seats, rather than the regular Soul’s five. The front passenger seat and rear seats fold flat, while the interior is pretty stripped-out – there’s even manual winders for the windows.

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large