I went with the manual tranny which I regret. The low torgue requires you to bump up the rpm's quite a bit to get this thing going.
Once going it's fairly responsive as long as you keep the tach above 1800 or so.
If you shift at or above around 3200 or so, you feel a LOT of vibration coming back thru the clutch pedal and the reverse gear seems to have been delivered with some rough teeth - sounds like you are grinding hamburger if you go very far in reverse.
Handling on the other hand is very good.
It's fun to corner with this rig and it stays very flat.
It's quite on decent roads and rides comfortably. The center armrest is too short and cumbersome (it moves fore and aft).
Mileage is good but less than advertised - about 26 hwy for me driving nicely.
Corners great, is fairly quite, but lacks power all around.
The gas pedel spring is too week - you have to hold your foot up sometimes.
The radio and heater knobs move to easily (try tuning with gloves on and NOT turn on the rear window defroster) or adjust the heat temp w/o turning on the a/c unintentionally - too wimpy Jeep... stiffen these controls up a bit - it's a Jeep after all not a Honda Civic!
Clutch assy dampening would be good and do a better job of machining the reverse gearing in the manual transmission.
Trip meter reset button on steering will is WAY too easy to press - another wimpy spring :)