Well seeing that you live in NB I would hazard a guess as to why you
are torn on this decision,global warming aside I would go AWD/CVT
but again if you are a competent seasoned NB driver I am sure
you would make out just fine with FWD/5spd.
I have driven FWDs since 1984 and although we don't get snowfalls
like you experience we have had our moments and have never been
stuck with FWD.Good luck on your decision!
I guess it depends on what you bought the vehicle for. I chose the AWD for handling reasons, especially wintertime driving (and so far it has handled flawlessly on snow and icy roads, I love it!!!). I like the AutoStick also for those times when I feel lead-footed. I grew up with manual transmissions and love them also, but I guess in my old age (I'm 34 lol), I'm enjoying the comfort and convenience of an automatic transmission.
AWD Autostick, it really saved my bacon once all ready this winter. I was turning right a little bit quick in a lot of traffic on a road that I didn't realize had refrozen already, and the caliber just kept on turning to the right leaving me spinning 40 degrees past straight and in a LOT of potential trouble. I threw the wheel back to the left and stepped on the gas and my AWD caliber snapped back dead straight and down the road without any incident whatsoever. I'll never own FWD again.