They never used to be. If fact manuals used to be considered the better tow vehicle. In saying this, I'm only speaking from what I know about the car I choose to drive. I always had a manual. Definatley preferred them for towing and just in general really. When I went out to purchase the new ute I have now, I found that in these type cars the auto is rated to a higher towing capacity. It came down to the new tiptronic gear boxes they have in them. They're considered to be strong and can be driven as either an auto or a clutchless manual. Would be intersting to know how tow ratings compare in the manual v's auto 4wd's. Is there a difference at all ?