As someone who came from sports cars I love a manual as much as the next guy, but to me there is absolutely nothing sporty about the performance of the Jeep IMO, so I would rather not have to worry about a clutch day to day.
Looks like getting into a pissing contest is a good way to get your post count up. Personally, I've always preferred manuals so I'm leaning in that direction. That said, I'll probably end up test driving both and make a decision at that point.
My last two jeeps were manuals so my JL will be also. I don't do any rock crawling which I think autos excel in and I just would rather be different and shift. Less likely to be stolen or borrowed by my daughter too! :cwl:
I would prefer a manual, I like to be an active driver, and my first two wranglers were stick. But the wife doesn't drive stick. Happy Wife, Happy Life. So my third wrangler was automatic, and I will be getting an auto again.
Do we know WHICH manual transmission will be used? The current one (NSG 370 I believe) shifts like a dump truck. There is absolutely nothing fun or sporty about it. They also have quite a few issues with noise in the syncros. I've driven manuals for over 20 years, but the JK manual is tough to drive smoothly.
The automatic 8-speed trans. will likely get better MPG numbers. It'll also be manually shiftable, better for offroad use, and will have higher resale value. So it's going to be really tough to choose the manual transmission again.
I the diesel comes out early enough, I'll go that direction. However, if it isn't available until August 2018, then manual all the way, for me.
Btw, I rock crawl all the time with my JK Rubicon, including trips to Tennessee, Colorado, and one week in Moab in 2015. The manual was just fine, even in the toughest situations. It is fine in sand, snow, and mud, too. It has also been fun to drive. My wife even loves driving it.
Hopefully, the new manual transmission will be smoother, feel better, and be more stout. It should be fun with a little more power in the 3.6 and if they take a little weight out of the JL.