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Automatics have already gotten to the point where they are usually more fuel-efficient than manuals, and will probably continue to improve with time. They are also much easier to drive in traffic, as manuals get very annoying if you do a lot of stop and go driving. I think what makes them more attractive to me, then, is that I think they are much more fun.

Manuals are still more responsive than most automatics (i.e. when you punch the gas, the engine power goes right to the gear you are in and straight to the drivetrain, whereas automatics tend to lag for a second or two before they find the right gear). I also like having control over which gear I'm in. With a manual I can decide whether I want to drive ultra conservative and save gas by switching at 1500 rpms, or if I need power (to accelerate past something or go up a hill) I can drop down a gear or two, go almost to redline, and get exactly the horsepower I need. Some automatics allow you to "sports shift" so you get more control, but I think the manual lets you choose more precisely.

It might help to understand how the two transmission types compare and contrast. I personally like http://auto.howstuffworks.com/transmission.htm and http://auto.howstuffworks.com/automatic-transmission.htm for an overview.

That said, I've driven both the manual and automatic tC and from my experience, the manual was significantly more responsive in acceleration, and the clutch had a very large friction point that would be easy to learn on. I'd test drive both if I were you and try to drive it in conditions that emulate your normal driving conditions (traffic flow) and see how you like 'em.
 
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