Kia teases Trail’ster concept, will debut at Chicago Auto Show

Kia Trail'ster concept

Kia’s vehicles have been steadily improving in both build quality and driving excitement over the last several years. However, our favorite characteristic of the brand remains its offbeat quirkiness.

For proof, look no further than the string of Soul-based concepts featuring the ‘-ster’ suffix.

It started in 2009 with the Soul’ster, an open-air concept with a roll bar, two-piece roof, and new four-passenger seating layout.

Three years later, at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, the Track’ster was unveiled. A performance-focused three–door, the 247-horsepower all-wheel drive concept wore upgraded brakes, rally-inspired LED foglights, and Inferno Orange accents throughout the exterior.

This year, at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, Kia will present a new member of the family.

Like its predecessors, the Trail’ster is based off the Soul and has an immediately apparent design ethos. This time, it’s off-roading, so the five-door wears upgraded bumpers, bolstered rocker panels, and a fully retractable canvas roof. We’ve only seen teaser photos thus far, so there may very well be additional upgrades elsewhere.

Kia Trail'ster concept

The most interesting aspect of the Trail’ster, though, is its electronically controlled AWD system. The concept’s turbocharged engine reportedly powers the front wheels while an electric motor motivates the rear. This system could eventually make its way to a future AWD Soul EV, or perhaps a Jeep Renegade Trailhawk-fighting off-roader.

The vehicle will be fully unveiled on February 12th and the Chicago Auto Show.

For more Kia concept craziness, think back to the GT4 Stinger that wowed in Detroit last year.

Instead of oddball design choices, the GT4 employs a classic sports car formula: front engine, rear-wheel drive, and 50/50 weight distribution. Ok, it’s a bit eccentric too. Underneath its bright yellow paint and futuristic, sculpted body is a 2.0-liter turbo that makes 315 hp. The Stinger concept weighs just 2,874 pounds.