I just bought a manual 2013 SE. I test drove an auto because I just wanted to make sure I had all bases covered.The feel was not the same at all. I found the standard to be more "peppy" and way more responsive. If I mashed on the gas with the auto it seemed to lag but with the manual I control what happens and when so it just felt so much better.
My old car was a 5 speed manual as well. I do a lot of stop and go driving and I've never had an issue with manual. My girlfriend drove my old car as well and she also never had an issue. I think if you were worried about driving a manual then going with an auto was the right choice. It all comes down to the driver. But personally I wouldn't have bought an auto.