I am a manual owner with over 40 years of driving and have an 07 SG Forester XT manual with 246,000km and a 13 Mk7 Golf 90 TSI manual with 23,000km. The only two CVT cars I've driven are a Mitsubishi Lancer and a Subaru XV, both gutless 2L cars that my supposedly less powerful Golf would eat for breakfast (that's turbo torque for you) and with refinement, driving dynamics and quality build and materials. However, while being impressed with the smoothness of the CVT's they both still exhibited the same horrible characteristic of every torque converter automatic I've ever driven and hated - that surging excess rev effect when you put you foot down. And the CVT's were probably even worse. I guess I just really like that connected feeling that a manual gives and the enjoyment I get from the interactive play between the clutch and gearbox/change. When you get a good one (like the Forester) or an unbelievably brilliant one (like the Golf) then it makes any auto/CVT just so boring, suited for those who want smooth transport with less driver input. but I guess that's what most people want judging by sales here in Australia and in America. Thank god we still have European manufacturers and drivers.
Intrigued, I used Google Earth to "explore" Toowoomba... if I lived there I'd have an MT, too. It appears easy to escape the confines of a city whenever you want, and drive where you can see open spaces.
Of the places on Earth that I'd like to see, Australia has always been at the top of my list. As a motorcyclist, I read with eyes glued to the words of stories about individual motorcyclist's trips across the continent. Scary, but thrilling. Of the few Australian people I've met, they all seemed aware of their fortune to be native there.
I've only driven one other CVT besides Subaru's, and didn't like it. But someone I trusted assured me the Subaru CVT was different and I took the chance with the '14 FXT... he was right, it is an incredible transmission. Then we got the '14 2.5i for my wife and it, too, is an excellent "automatic" transmission. The FXT CVT goes beyond "just an automatic transmission."
When I lived in New England I always had manuals, thirty years with a few exceptions for family cars. But MY car was always MT. But then, when I lived there, there were open spaces to drive, too. And I drove a lot on long trips across many states. All was good. When I moved to WV things changed. It is nothing but hills and mountains, plus where I live city traffic is everywhere and unavoidable. Soon I found using the manual a burden, and had a clutch fail for the first time in my life. When it was repaired I knew my MT days were over.
After twenty one years of AT Subarus I got my '11 WRX... then traded that compromise for an '11 STi and discovered what a good MT felt like. I could have lived happily with it forever I think, but for the EJ motor, which I didn't trust anymore. This FXT's CVT, if one has to have an automatic transmission, is a more than worthy replacement. It handles these mountains better than any MT I've ever owned. With the FXT's turbo and HDCVT the mountains are made virtually invisible... there is no sign from the vehicle they are there. In the city's stoplighted confines, of course, the CVT is a joy, where the STi's slick 6MT could only growl at being teased constantly.
I guess I'm saying there are different tools for different jobs, and I've found this '14 FXT an unparalleled one for handling where I live, as a whole. But if I lived where you do, I'd have, and keep, a manual for sure.