The biggest surprise in driving this car for 3 weeks was the powertrain. The 6 spd automatic with 2L motor is brilliant when driven in the select shift manual mode. Instant upshifts and downshifts, no lag in response, immediate compression braking on downshifts. I drive a 5 spd manual usually, and nobody can shift as fast as this car with a clutch and manual. The engine provides good acceleration and gets buzzy enough at higher revs to let you know what is going on in the engine. A lot of fun for a reasonable price.
The Soul has excellent headroom for tall drivers, and doesn't put the seat right on the floor to achieve headroom. Rather, it relies on a 63 inch vehicle height to gain headroom and driver visibility. The outward visibility is very good. The seating position is excellent, the seat being located far enough off the floor for good comfort, like getting into a SUV. The seat material itself is not particularly comfortable, but with the good seat position I was able to just put a foam pad behind my back for lumbar support and be comfortable enough for a 2 hour drive.
We averaged 29 mpg US gallon driving in 100 degree weather in Phoenix for 3 weeks with the AC on continuously. Driving at a spirited pace, not just cruising along.
Lots of places to put things that normally get in the way in a car, like maps, water bottle, purse, sunglasses, etc.
The controls are intuitive- no problem for this low tech guy to understand.