Subaru Outback owners with more experience in both manual and the Auto versions of AWD (manual is viscous coupling, Auto/CVT use electronic clutches) found that both were great, but the Auto was slightly better because the system responded quicker to changes in traction.
This makes sense because the viscous coupling fluid has to heat up to begin transferring more power, which takes longer.
Personally I like having the simpler viscous coupling AWD and the manual transmission because they are proven for longevity and cheaper to maintain and replace.
I also like controlling the gears myself, and don't find the clutch or hill assist to be bad.
Of course it shifts a lot more smoothly when you change the differential fluid to Amsoil Severe Gear, at least that was my experience.