I had a Kia Soul rental car recently, and it proved to be a handy tall little car. I often found myself at eye level, or close to it, with people driving crossovers and minivans. At one point I parked next to a Porsche Macan and the Soul felt like it might’ve been taller.

The specs say the highest point on the Macan is a whole 0.4 inches taller than the highest point on the Soul, but with the Macan’s curved roof, much of it is lower than the Soul.

Sure, the Soul only comes in fwd, but there are plenty of fwd crossovers out there. Compared to the fwd versions of crossovers that offer awd as an option, does the fact that there’s no awd option on the Soul make it a tall hatchback rather than a crossover? Is there even a difference?

I’m actually tempted to get a turbo one for my wife’s next car when her Impreza lease is up next year. She digs the styling, and when she had a Forester service loaner she mentioned she liked sitting higher up than her Impreza. The Soul would certainly accomplish that. Plus with the turbo motor and DCT it would be noticeably quicker than her NA CVT Impreza which is...not fast. We’ll (hopefully) be living somewhere with less snow by then so awd isn’t as necessary.

There are a few knocks against it:

  1. Unlike stuff like the Elantra Sport where along with the turbo motor the rear suspension gets upgraded from the base twist beam to a multilink setup, the turbo Soul still has the twist beam. I wouldn’t call the handling on my rental spec Soul good, but I also did some mildly aggressive driving in it and I felt reasonably confident doing that in it.
  2. Even with all the assorted gizmos including active safety stuff, there’s no active cruise control. It’s not an absolute requirement but I’ve come to appreciate it in our Impreza.
  3. The interior wasn’t bad but it was kinda cheap and hollow feeling. Maybe the higher trim levels are better. Our Impreza isn’t exactly super premium either but it at least feels a step nicer than the Soul.

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So, it’s a crossover, right?