Kia Officially Debuts Trail'ster Concept And Its Hybrid All-Wheel-Drive In Chicago

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As well as bonus off-road bits.

Kia's Trail'ster concept, which just debuted at the Chicago Auto Show, is an unusual thing to say the least, but we mean this as a compliment. First off, it is clearly based off the Soul hatchback, but it has been given 2.5 additional inches of ground clearance, aluminum skid plates and a retractable canvass roof. This is all intended to convey, as you might have guessed, new off-road capabilities. Not a direction the Soul has been taken before, but that's fine.

Helping with this off-roading is a new all-wheel-drive system, and here is where it gets unusual. The system is a hybrid AWD system, where the gasoline engine powers one set of wheels and an electric motor controls the other. But while basically every other example of this system is performance oriented and sends the gasoline engine power to the rear wheels, this one is the other way around, with the rear wheels powered by an electric motor. Since this system is built for off-roading, does it make more sense to swap the system around like this? We have no idea, but we're looking forward to finding out.

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