The Great Manual Versus Automatic Debate

You don’t need to be a car buff to have heard the question, “do you drive automatic or manual?” and be able to answer pretty easily. The actual difference, however, might be unknown.

Essentially, getting car to go from A to B, without hauling it there in first gear, requires a transmission system. The transmission varies the gear ratio in order to transfer power (and speed) from the engine to the drive axle in the most efficient manner. In low gear, power increases as the speed decreases; vice versa for cars travelling in higher gears. It is commonly accepted that a transmission is integral to the car’s ability to function- what is less definitive, however, is whether manual transmission or automatic is superior. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so before you decide where you fall in the debate, brush up on the strengths of each technique…

Automatic cars have grown in popularity over recent years, perhaps eclipsing their manual cousins. Here are a few of the benefits;

Easy to use. Drivers don’t have to learn to control their limbs independently in order to change gears, which takes time to master, so in this respect automatics are far simpler than manual.

Less manually restrictive. A similar point; learner drivers are taught the safest method of driving, keeping both hands on the wheel at all times. This is possible with an automatic, but not a manual.

Easier during heavy traffic. It takes a lot of effort for a manual driver to decelerate, stop and accelerate during heavy traffic. Automatics require only a single pedal, so are far less stressful.
And, related to that; reduced risk of stalling. The art of releasing the clutch and controlling the gears can be tricky, and many learner drivers will frequently stall manual cars; automatics remove this pressure, as it’s only possible when there is a mechanical fault.

Conquers hilly areas well. Drivers may find tackling steep inclines tricky, particularly from a dead stop. Automatic cars, logically, adapt automatically to whatever terrain you are travelling along.

This technique has been established longer than the automatic, and is far better for drivers wanting to fully engage with the workings of their vehicle.

Cheaper to buy, and maintain. Automatics have more complex (expensive) machinery, so cost more to buy and keep running.

Simpler engines also mean better fuel efficiency. Manual transmissions have been known to save drivers between 5% and 15% on their fuel costs.

Emissions can be lower, meaning you could may pay less Road Tax

Better control. Automatics are built to adapt to their situation, but tend to be cautious. Also, they cannot predict situations they have never encountered. Manual drivers can respond to an oncoming situation, or to purposely select a lower gear for an added boost of power.

It is also worth learning to drive in a manual car, as an automatic driver’s license is only valid for automatic vehicles, whereas manual licenses cover both.
Ultimately, if you are looking for comfort and easy use, choose automatic. If you want to save money, and be more involved with the vehicle you are driving, manual is a better choice.

If in doubt come and have a test drive of both visit