That seemed common over at a ranger site. The vacuum powered auto hubs weren't very reliable, and most would just replace bad ones with manual.
I also remembered that you don't have to pull the shifter towards you to go from neutral to drive and back again. It's necessary to do so for reverse. What this means is that you can shift to neutral for coasting without worrying about going to far into reverse.. Likely won't be beneficial on flat terrain with the aerodynamics, but I have a couple of steep hills on my commute. I even tried EOC, but the transmission isn't flat towable.