Kia Soul’ster is the Concept Truck of the Year

The open-air Kia Soul’ster Concept was recognized as the 2009 Concept Truck of the Year at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. During the 2009 North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards, the Soul’ster was appreciated for its beach-ready and creative design.

The concept was designed by Kia Design Center America of Irvine, California, with Tom Kearns as the lead designer.

"It is an honor for the Soul'ster to be named Concept Truck of the Year, and further proof that Kia's global commitment to design is dramatically altering the brand's image and consumer opinion of our company and our vehicles," said Tom Kearns.

The Soul’ster, unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January, is based on the Kia Soul, but shares a more sporty appearance, with the roof covering only the front two seats, while the rear seats are covered by a roll bar.

"The Soul production vehicle has provided our design team with a tremendous platform for expression, and with the Soul'ster we sought to highlight a different side of the Soul and take it to another level," Kearns added in a press statement.

The eighth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards are organized by the South East Automotive Media Organization. The winners are selected by the jury from 23 Concept Vehicles and 11 Production Preview Vehicles that debuted during the 2009 auto show season.

"The Kia Soul'ster shows the playfulness of the designers from the initial design of the Soul," said juror Lou Ann Hammond.

As for the engines, the Soul'ster is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit that develops as much as 120 horsepower. However, a 2.0-liter version that produces 140 horsepower is also available. There are two transmission types available, namely a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.
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