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Kia Soul'ster Concept Pickup Production Under Consideration


2009 Kia Soulster Concept

2009 Kia Soulster Concept

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Kia showed a funky little 2010 Soul-based concept (the Kia Soul'ster) at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Public response was so positive that it's rumored the South Korean automaker, who enjoyed a 3.5 percent sales increase in the U.S. market for January '09, is seriously considering production of the little car-based truck that looks quite a bit like the early 80s Subaru Brat.

Powertrains would presumably be similar to the 2010 Soul, which will debut with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder and an optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder. We've got pictures of the 2010 Soul over in our Car Reviews section, and we'll be driving the funky little crossover - Kia's first - next month.

The folks at PickupTrucks.com describe the Soul'ster concept's layout as a "small-footprint, front-wheel drive two-door garden truck."

2009 Kia Soulster Concept

2009 Kia Soulster Concept

Enlarge Photo

Kia senior executive VP and chief designer Peter Schreyer told PickupTrucks.com that "we'd be very happy if we could built it." With him was Kia senior executive VP Tom Kearns. Weighing in with their own truck expertise, the folks at PickupTrucks.com report: "we think it's quite a nifty little truck."

Is the market ripe for such a vehicle? In a recent weekend junkyard sojourn with my dad who was looking for a replacement tailgate for his stalwart '98 Nissan Frontier pickup, I saw him look longingly at two VW Rabbit pickups from the early 80s.

source: Popular Mechanics

source: Popular Mechanics

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"What kinda mileage you think those got?" he asked, increasingly disappointed with his four-cylinder Nissan Frontier's low- to mid-20s mpg. I told him that with the 1.6 diesel, the VW earned mileage in the 30s (Popular Mechanics reports 32/35) due to a low center of gravity and a car-based, front-wheel drive layout (visit site mpgomatic for more historic details). Not to mention, the little truck was built in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

"Why in the heck doesn't somebody build one of those today," he inquired?

Why, indeed.

If you build it, Kia...

[source: PickupTrucks.com via Automotive News]

 
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Comments (6)
  1. "Subaru"

    I think Subaru was a few year earky with the Baja. I wonder how it might sell today.

  2. "Soulster"

    Considering it has been welcomed with am overwhelming response, Kia should not think twice to build the Soulster!
    It's an attractive 2-door pick-up and gets decent mileage. If priced right, Kia would hit the nail of success with it and grow it's US sales numbers, while others would be loosing the market share.
    But this should hit the production this year and not in about two years as there might be some competition at that time. Now the compact pick-up market is free of competition, so it's the best time to enter it.

  3. "Kia Jimny"

    VW was getting that high mileage because it was a diesel too. I can't see Kia getting similar numbers with one of their inferior and inefficient gas powertrains. And c'mon, you'd be driving a Kia...

  4. "Ugly"

    I dont like that thing, its not very pick up trucklike at all. At the very least they could offer all wheel drive with it!

  5. "yo JKD!"

    Hey you're back JKD! Missed you. Yeah, Kia would need to install one of its (excellent) diesels (well, Hyundai diesels, but same company) from European market to attain great mileage. But I estimate they could get high 40s if they did so. But you know the U.S. - it'll never happen.
    BTW, whatever happened to our favorite blog commenter, Mr. Ed? Perhaps he did finally burst that blood vessel...

  6. "Pave the way"

    That actually looks like a rather fun little toy to get out in, and quite a bit more utilitarian than, say, a sports car. It might not be the mammoth V8 truck we're all used to here in America, but times, they are a changing, so we would be wise to get with the program

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