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Well in order to resolve this issue i think it's best to see what the manufacturer says about auto and manual trans.
AUTO MANUAL
F.C. URBAN( l / 100 km) 6.9 5.9
F.C. ROAD( l / 100 km) 4.6 4.1
F.C. COMB.( l / 100 km) 5.5 4.7
ACCELL(0-100km/h) 17.9 s 15.1 s
MAX SPEED 154 km/h 144 km/h

Now it seems that the manual is far better than the automatic. However theese numbers are quite off when it comes to real life. In my case (i drive a 1.0 MAN) fuel consumption is around 8.5 - 9 l /100km
(but i drive like lunatic and the engine has done only 500 km so it's to be expected) and it should be under 6. Also top speed for a 1.0 should be 152 km/h but i drove it 155 km/h at 4500 rpm (didn't want to go further cuz the car is only few days old) meaning that at 5500 rpms (wich is the let's say normal max revolutions without overheating the engine) i should be able to reach some 160 - 165 km/h (probably even more with 98 octane unleaded fuel.)
So in retrospective to what i have writen above, manual is at least 10% faster and furioser than auto, but it's at least 20% more effort to drive it properly. I think it's up to anyone to decide whats proper for them. (You cant expect a housewife driving her children to work to appriciate 10% more strength over 20 % less comfort while she's wiping her 7 year old sons nose. On the other hand i like to be able to shift from 4th to 3rd while driving 100-110 km/h and push it to the limit to pass someone in front of me). And when it comes to safety it's hard to decide. just a month ago i was driving my old kia pride (75bhp 120000 km) and found my self in situation that i was driving 120 km/h and slowly speeding up in 5th and some moron cut me of at about 50km/h on the 2 lane road so i had to react realy fast withouth having anywhere to go. I knew that whatever i did i was gona crash so i just went to minimize the damage as much as possible i grabed the gear knob and pulled it fast towards the 4th and i missed it and went into 2nd. My engine went formula 1 on me at some 7000 - 8000 rpms (never again or before have i heard that sound) and the belt buckled and strangly enough within 10-20 meters i went from 120 to 50 km/h just a few centimeters behind the jerk that cut me off. I didn't have to sound the horn cuz i think everybody in the 10km radius heard the engine go frzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Now that is said i can say that manual transmition saved my life or at least serious damage (by mistake though) but this doesn't have to be a case for other people.
 
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