Consumer Reports Names the 2022 Kia Soul the Best Compact Car for Tall Drivers

No matter what a car looks like or the technology it boasts, comfort is first for many consumers, especially taller drivers. Being cramped in the driver’s seat is more than uncomfortable. It can slow reaction time and increase the risk of an accident. Over time, tall drivers may experience chronic pain from the poor driving posture in a car not suited to their height. That’s why Consumer Reports‘ “Best Cars for Tall People” is a godsend. So, why might the 2022 Kia Soul be tall drivers’ best bet?

A red 2022 Kia Soul driving down the road.
2022 Kia Soul | Kia

Consumer Reports’ ‘Best Cars for Tall People’

Consumer Reports’ testers typically evaluate the vehicles they review using several factors of interest to tall drivers, including vehicle access, driving position, front-seat comfort, and visibility. To get an accurate gauge of these and other factors, CR uses test drivers of various heights.

To compile their 2022 “Best Cars for Tall People” list, they homed in on the evaluations from their tallest test drivers. From these assessments, they zeroed in on a selection of excellent cars and SUVs for drivers at least 6 feet tall.

Consumer Reports’ picks focused on cars with a solid combination of headroom, legroom, and reach to the steering wheel, in addition to the above factors. They also did note that some models may offer optimal seating for tall drivers at the expense of backseat passengers, so it’s important to assess each option with all of your driving needs in mind.

The Kia Soul is Consumer Reports’ top compact SUV for tall drivers

Evaluating these factors with an ear to their taller test drivers, Consumer Reports found the 2022 Kia Soul is the best option for tall drivers searching for a compact SUV. With a starting MSRP of $19,290, this small Kia has a spacious cabin with large windows that provide excellent visibility. It features large doors for easy vehicle access and an elevated seating position. The EX version also includes a power driver seat with added lumbar support, great for longer journeys or frequent trips.

Beyond the tall driver comforts, the latest Kia Soul is a solid performer with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four engine, producing 147 hp, and paired with a CVT transmission. The fuel economy is fair, at 21 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. And while it’s a bit stiff, it handles well at high speeds and can make sharp turns.

The Soul comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which can be accessed through the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen and heard through the six-speaker sound system. However, opting for an EX trim would also get you the power driver seat and heated front seats.

The Soul does not sacrifice back seat comfort for front-seat space. However, it does sacrifice cargo room. So, if you routinely need to carry a lot of luggage or equipment, you may need a larger vehicle. But if not, the Kia Soul is ideal for taller drivers. 

What if you’re not sold on the Kia Soul?

The Kia Soul is undoubtedly not for everybody. It’s affordable and handles well. But its overall Consumer Reports score, which encompasses a broader range of factors, was just 51 out of 100. Though it ranked high for tall drivers, it scored just 2 out of 5 on predicted reliability and 3 out of 5 on predicted owner satisfaction. The Soul got dinged for engine noise, rough handling, and interior materials that feel cheap on lower-level trims.

So if you’re not sold on the Soul, you may want to opt for the 2022 Subaru Impreza. According to Consumer Reports, it’s ranked number one in its class, compared to the Soul, which ranks 10 out of 11. The Impreza starts at $18,795 and comes with a 152-hp producing 2.0-liter turbo-four engine. It comes paired with a five-speed manual transmission, though you can get a CVT on higher-level trims. The Impreza gets an impressive 21 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway while handling gracefully on both.

The interior tech is comparable to the Soul, though the Impreza has a smaller touchscreen. The Impreza also shines as far as tall driver comforts. Its cabin has generous headroom and legroom, and it sports a telescoping steering wheel that can be adjusted based on the driver’s height. The Impreza’s base model also provides an average amount of seating comfort, but unlike the Soul, higher-level trims don’t come with added lumbar support in their power-adjustable seats. Nonetheless, the Impreza is a pretty good alternative for taller drivers and an all-around better vehicle.

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