Manual or Automatic: Which One Should Choose?

Do you drive with a gear stick? Or maybe you like to put your foot on the gas without worrying about the clutch? Once upon a time, driving an automatic car was frowned upon as “not real driving”. Today, however, the number of automatic cars on the road are increasing, people are preferring the easy option, with manual vehicles becoming less frequent. But which one should you drive? 🤔

Manual or automatic

The UK is traditionally a country of manual cars, though the landscape is changing. Around 54% of new cars sold now are automatics, with a growing number of drivers opting for convenience over control. 

Therefore, it’s safe to say that we’re a mixed bag in this country. Yes, there are more automatic new cars, but manual drives still make up a significant proportion of cars on the road. 

Pros of manual cars

A manual gearbox allows you to choose the gear you want to drive in, which can give you more control over the vehicle. Manuals are still seen as the option for driving purists who like to be in complete control of their vehicle. 

You’ll also get more speed in many manual options, as some automatics can be slow. Manual gearboxes are generally better at transferring power from the engine to the wheels, resulting in better acceleration and faster pace. 

Lastly, manual cars are typically more affordable than automatics (unless you’re buying a classic supercar). They also require less maintenance as their designs aren’t as complex as an automatic. You can expect cheaper repairs with manuals unless the clutch goes. Then you could be in trouble 😬

Cons of manual cars

Manual cars tend to be faster, but that’s not always a good thing. There’s also more concentration required, as you will need to take one hand off the steering wheel to change gears – and if you live in a big city, you could find yourself changing gears a lot. 

You can also expect a bit of leg ache because you’re continuously working the clutch. This can become uncomfortable as your left foot doesn’t get a rest, and you find yourself pushing down on the clutch. 

Pros of automatic cars

Automatic cars are easier to drive than manual options. That means they’re much more convenient, as you simply pick the D for Drive setting. There’s no need for clutch control, and you don’t need to work the gear stick when it comes to parking and reversing. Good times. 

They also tend to be smoother rides. The automatic gearbox seamlessly switches between gears – all you need to do is focus on driving around without the need to keep changing gear sticks. It also means you can’t stall an automatic, and if you’re setting off from a hill, you won’t need to worry about clutch control. 

Using an automatic during rush hour is a dream, making these types of cars ideal for urban driving. You don’t need to pump the clutch pedal and can simply keep your foot down on the break. The result is more concentration when driving. 

Cons of automatic cars

Automatic cars are more expensive than manual rides. Whether you’re taking out car finance to purchase a second-hand car or using a hire purchase on a new ride, you can expect to pay more. 

Some drivers also argue that automatics are boring to drive as you don’t have as much control over the car. However, that perception is changing somewhat, with many automatics featuring dual-clutch technology these days, or paddle shift on the steering wheel!

Which one should you choose?

The option you go for is entirely down to you and your personal preference. However, we recommended passing your driving test (if you haven’t taken it yet) in a manual, so you have the option when it comes to the car you want to buy.

If you live in a city, then an automatic might be the more convenient choice as you won’t need to keep managing the clutch when you stop at lights and get stuck in traffic. However, if you live somewhere rural, you may prefer the freedom and control that comes with a manual car. 

Stick or twist? 

Now you know a bit more about automatic and manual cars, which one interests you the most? Maybe it's time to book a test drive so you can try out manual vs automatic and make the best choice for you 👍