A KIA Soul drop top convertible? Rumor and speculation was rife in the automotive industry. KIA’s idea about creating a convertible was fortified by the advent of the KIA Soulster Concept. KIA currently has one vehicle with the potential for dropping its top and that is the KIA Soul. Can you imagine the boxy KIA Soul a drop top? The Korean automaker has the reputation of being a risk taker and their award winning modern design permeates all of their offerings.
Sorry folks, those rumors look like they are false. Well, at least for now. The rest of this post is conjecture based on a few, flimsy tidbits of information. Some of it comes from Car & Drive and Autocar who got KIA to fess up to the (now dispelled) rumors.
Pictured here is the KIA Soulster Concept from 2009. It’s a cross between a Suzuki X90, Barbie’s dream convertible and an athletic cross-training shoe that’s meant for slow walking. In other words, it’s a topless KIA Soul meant for tarmac, conceived to be youthful while not being particularly utilitarian. A KIA Soul drop top convertible is most certainly that.
That’s okay. We know that convertibles are extroverted and relatively useless, but that’s what makes them so fun. They are frivolous and point a giant arrow at you, for all to see. Even fat, bald guys, who have nothing to show off, enjoy a jaunt in a pop-top roller. I would take my family to a drive-in movie in KIA Soul drop top convertible.
The idea was to take the KIA Soul platform, which is for a small four-door, and turn it into a two-door, boxy convertible. I think it was much the same idea Chrysler had when they produced the PT Cruiser convertible. The wheelbase would have remained about the same and many of the mechanicals would have been shared with the regular KIA Soul. I would imagine the same four-cylinder engines would have remained as well.
The look is… unique.
I admit to not loving the design, it’s kind if funky/cool – with too much sheet-metal for my tastes, but I love the sheer audacity of the thing. If KIA did build the Soulster, it could have competed with FIAT for selling one of the cheapest convertibles in the country. That in itself is enough of a reason to revisit this concept in the future. As I said, KIA takes chances and this Soulster looks like a reasonable idea.
Let me put it another way, KIA and its parent company Hyundai have yet to mass produce a convertible for American consumption. This, and a pickup truck, are the only things missing in their North American fleets. We know how hard it is to bust into our country with a pickup truck (although, KIA has some cool concepts with potential). The financial requirements for such a vehicle would be a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand, having the capitol for the advent of a convertible may be less of a stretch.
I like KIA and so do you. We know that they are visually more interesting than Hyundai and we know they have appeal in younger markets that rivals Scion. KIA does not feel like a company of bean-counters like so many others. KIA feels real. KIA feels cool.
… and that’s the rub.
KIA needs to change gears and expand their fleet. We need more interesting cars and we need them now. KIA has a few, but with the possibility of building a convertible, they could hit that youth market square in the kisser.
Let’s hope they reconsider… at the very least, the hamsters would dig a KIA soul drop top convertible.
Here’s a fun video with Roman and I playing with a KIA Soul on a ridiculously windy day!