That's right, it's personal preference, and I prefer Vanilla. I'm the first to admit that I'm an odd ball in the US as a manual transmission lover. The down side is all mine though. It makes it VERY DIFFICULT to find a car to my liking. My list of possibilities is a very small percentage of the size of the same list for a slushbox driver.
Also, I chuckled at the comment about not worrying about icy roads in Texas. Last week I was in Boston for a few days and the weather made me wonder if I had taken the wrong plane and was actually in Hawaii. It was beautiful. When I came home, I got back to DFW airport and found the shuttle train shut down due to ice. I saw someone crash into a bridge railing on the way home. They didn't have enough sense to realize that the bridges were icing over. Of all the times, I was in my daughter's car, the only automatic MB on the place.
Last Christmas, we had an ice storm in NorthEast Texas that ultimately received disaster area status. It broke zillions of limbs from trees. The problem in North Texas is not snow, snow is easy to drive on. The problem is that when it snows or drops other precipitation, it typically melts off during the day, then refreezes into black ice at night.
Long live the clutch and stick,