When I was looking to purchase my Forte, I tested all variations of the EX (5-spd manual, 4-spd auto, and 5-spd auto). The manual drove fine - more fun than an auto, imo. However, since the auto's have the ability to be 'manually shifted' in a sense, you can still have some of the same fun, with the convenience of an auto.
I eventually opted for the model with 5-spd auto. Great gas mileage and still have the ability to manually shift if I'm ever in the mood.
Resale value is higher with the automatics. Plus if you live in a place with lots of hills and stop and go traffic definitely get the automatic. I am pretty sure they will come out the paddle shift as an accessory and it will probably standard on SX in the future
With great reluctance I chose the "slap stick" transmission. My wife has a stainless steel knee that is a problem. I was familiar with these as I had an Acura in 2003 which was a wonderful and gas hungry beast with seductive lines and a great engine. It was
equipped with the same sort of compromise solution. VW, Audi and some others are working on what seems to be a better alternative--a double clutch sort of pre-selector
which was featured in the 1937 Cord! It is not the same, but similar in application. I hope it becomes adopted widely as it would seem to put the driver back in control in
reality rather than mere illusion--always an important "fun" factor.
Dual Clutch transmissions are already out on the market in in lots of VW's and the Mitsubishi Lancer Rallyart and Evolution MR. They are great transmissions, the manual select mode is just like a standard transmission and the auto mode is just like an AT. Best of both worlds, would love to have a car with one. I will say that I cant drive a manual because of a bad hip, so I have to get an AT and my next car will have a dual clutch. I actually wish this car had a CVT like the Lancer does, they are great transmissions and hold power right were you need it.
Ordered my SX Sedan with a 6 spd manual. I've always had a manual, and with the 173 hp engine, I couldn't resist getting another manual. I test drove the manual in the Koup, which would be the same as the sedan as far as feel, and noticed that the clutch is very long. I mean that you have to let it out a lot before it grabs. Very similar to the Toyota Corolla but very different from my Mazda 6. Just something to get used to I guess. Still waiting to get my Forte SX from the dealer. Hard to find one with the manual in black or dark grey.