One of the things I haven't seen touched on is a car being bought in one
configuration and then modified trans wise down the road. If you buy a car
with manual it's easier to go to an auto or a different manual later than
vice-versa. The manual car holds more options. My preference has always
been auto but the manuals I've owned never made me wish I hadn't owned them.
Find a car with the engine and options you want, color you can live with,
and not been beat to hell and in the long run the tranny is of little worry.