In my totally unbiased view, a diesel auto Connie is the only choice. I would also recommend in investing in a Synergy 2 upgrade from Rover Ron, (other Ron's are available)
Do have a Synergy (not currently fitted) might give it another try subject to insurance costs.
As for the manual version, I bought my car with 92k miles on it and it had the clutch replaced at 72k.
I now have 215k on it and the clutch seems fine - and I do tow although infrequently:
a 6 x 5 x 8 box trailer to and from SW France and we have just bought a 26' long 'mobile home' that has a max weight of 1600kg.
However, the weight of the clutch is unbelievable.
And, yes I do like autos although, having test driven a number of 75 autos the kickdown does seem to take a long time to take effect - there is a posting saying manually shift down rather than wait for the kickdown.