Why choose an 'Automatic?
In most of Europe, the norm is to drive a car with manual transmission - the automatic is still the odd one out.
Automatic transmission takes much of the physical work out of driving and leaves you with both hands on the wheel for more of the time. This should make you safer, especially if you do lots of long journeys or short trips in busy stop-start traffic.
However, there are some differences in technique required if you are going to stay safe in an 'auto'. Having said that, some of the systems now used on upmarket automatics are very sophisticated and will get you out of trouble!
Automatics used to be less reliable, but the technology is now well established and although you may use a little more fuel*, this is offset by the fact that many drivers find driving an automatic is less stressful.
*Modern automatics are designed for optimum fuel efficiency and some drivers might well use less fuel in an auto than they would in an equivalent manual car, especially if they have not had training in eco-driving techniques.