Originally Posted by briancl
i dont get how my comparison is flawed. the rental cars i drive are what make up at least 50% of whats on the road (i made that up, but its a best guesstimate). i will be more specific... i get camry's and taurus's and f150's and explorer's and grand prix's. there.. that alone has got to be a third of all cars on the road... not to mention all the other misc cars/trucks/suv's ive had as rentals. my comparison is fine.. as the sample is quite varied and covers a large portion of the american driving population.
as to your question.. i own and daily drive a 2005 subaru sti. i've done medium level suspension mods (replace lots of rubber bushings, stiffer springs, stiffer sway bars, billet aluminum strut top mounts, etc) which greatly improve the handling (i.e. turn-in and neutrality on the race track, as well as progressive breakaway and predictability) and ride quality (i.e., this car shouldn't be soft. stock, i felt the car oscillated at speed far too much. now its actually more comfortable, even if that sounds counterintuitive).
You are comparing a Ford F150 to a Subaru STi...if that's not an unfair comparison, I don't know what is. Also, on a STi the stick available is better than the auto. However, if you take a car that has a DSG, like the new VW GTI, well then that's a whole different ball of wax. The DSG is going to be faster than the manual, and will get better gas mileage.
Personally, my main reasons for not getting the shifter was its feel combined with the offset of the gauges. Secondly, traffic ended up playing part of the decision, but not a large part.