Number 2. The fork on the comfort bike is low end.
Mtb well set can be fast, no do-dads, ridden in an good cycling position, small semi-slick tires and even custom rings.
A 'road' bike will do poorly offroad, and it's not even a good road geometry!
A mtb will do road o.k, offroad great.
Between the two, the soul seems to be a real cycle, not sure about the comfort.
But the comfort will restrict any developement into offroad riding, it's not a piece of 'sporting' equiptment = liesure, commuting, light exercise. Offroad I mean, a trail with a couple roots, a rock here -there.
I probably would not ride the comfort offroad, and offroad I bet the ride is not so comfortable.
The body position is basically the same, If you wanted, a suspension seatpost on the mtb.
As far as 700 vs 26 rims..it's firstly the power of the rider, position of the body, bike weight, tire contact.
Unless you are racing home everyday from work against US postal riders, I doubt it would matter.
My example is 38T chainring to 11T cog 80rpm.
A 700 wheel is 1.1 mph faster, this does not factor in increased road contact with larger tire.
Back to your Q?
Yes, bike one will do MUP, tourist fare.
Yes, but not much slower and you have more options as to what terrain you can cycle.
You need to ride both bikes and decide what feels best for you, a bike that has a good ergonomic feel is going to get ridden. A bike that you don't like will gather dust. Testride.