You can always manually downshift it before a long uphill incline if power is the problem. It sounds like the engine may be lugging. I'm pretty sure I could climb up walls if I wanted to with the MT if I revved it high enough. Redline doesn't happen until just short of 7K, IIRC, and the engine is overspeed protected. I rarely rev higher than 3,500 - 4,000 except intentionally once in a while to let her romp a bit and blow the schmutz out.Thanks for your sharing. sounds like the base is working for you for the most part. Due to some financial realities, I've decided I'll likely go with the Base not the plus model. The only problem I had when I test drove it as a rental, is going up a steep incline, it didn't feel smoothe and I struggled a bit. Going down hill was fine, it handled well. I will be getting an automatic and the only time I use cruise control is on a long stretch of highway.
One thing that may explain my Soul's vigor on the hills is that I use 89-octane (mid-grade) gas. It doesn't make a difference on the flats, but it makes a yuge difference going up the hills. It puts off detonation just long enough to prevent the PCM from compensating for it. It also get better MPG, but again, only in those sort of high-load situations like steep hills where detonation is likely to occur. On flats, all it does is cost more.
I have noticed no difference in either performance or MPG using any higher than 89-octane unless it's ethanol-free.
Also, you'll probably want to buy a spare tire kit. The car comes with goo and a compressor, as do most cars these days. But using the goo may mean buying a new tire or plugging it yourself (because many mechanics will not plug or patch a tire that's been gooed) and will probably mean buying a new TPMS sensor (because it too will get gooed). Also, not all flats can be sealed with goo.
You can also buy a full-sized spare tire and wheel instead of the spare tire kit (which is a donut), but I don't know if it will fit in the spare tire well on the newer models. You'll also need a jack and a lug wrench in that case. Personally, I just went with the donut kit. I think I paid ~ $150.00, and it came with the jack and what passes for a lug wrench.
That's about all I can say other than that I'm on my second Soul and am very happy with it. So are my passengers, who never fail to marvel at "how big the car is inside." It's just a well-designed, well-manufactured car.