Gib has the only answer.
Over the years I have seen this question asked a million times for offroad whether it was a wranngler, XJ or whatever. I have seen some of the threads get pretty long debating different things. Including how you will be using it.
I went through the same debate when getting my JK. There are so many pros and cons to both it did not help me asking so I just went a drove a few.
here is a couple
Can get too hot offroad
Can get damaged by water offroad
Need to change fluid
Not as much "driver" control
Waayy better if you need to drive in traffic jams (like me in Seattle)
Some people allows more control in certain offroad situations, like if you are stoppped facing uphil on an incline and if you jolt or slip back you would roll type of thing
Need to replace clutch (and some drivers EAT these offroad)
Can take more of a beating
Able to use the egine to brake going downhill
Do not need to worry about temp
Most people prefer for towing
More user imput when driving
Some people say it is not a "real" jeep without a manual
Blah blah blah, I gt bored even writing this list, lol, it goes on forever
The moral is this. I bought an auto
. The reason was based on driving a couple. I felt the auto was more sluggish and I have always had manuals. However, I am coming from a high performance car and this thig just wfelt sloppy with a manual. It takes forever for RPMs to drop and the clutch was just so soft and no defined engagment point. I know this can all be changed but I like my point-and-gas wheeling now!
I am happy with my choice