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Manual vs automatic

When it comes to choosing your car, one of the choices you have to make surrounds the gearbox. While the choice may come down just to personal preference, there are a number of pros and cons that you should also take into consideration.

So, automatic or manual. Which is best?

Manual gearbox: The pros

The most common type of gearbox here in the UK, manual is what many of us use when we take the driving test. Being able to drive manual means you are also able to drive an automatic, so it’s a good skill to have.

The biggest pro of manual is that you have complete control over how you drive. Most of us have a feeling for the different gears and when to change. An automatic gearbox may feel like it shifts too soon, or just not comfortably. You can also get that extra bit of power from a lower gear for longer.

Cars with manual gearboxes tend to be cheaper too. Unlike in countries where an automatic gearbox is the standard, there are less automatic users in the UK. Partly because of how we are taught to drive. But also because automatic gearboxes are more complicated than manuals and so tend to be more expensive.

This also means manual gearboxes are less complicated to fix than some specialist automatics.

Automatic gearbox

Manual gearboxes require thought and effort, something that some drivers don’t want. Do you really want to be putting your foot on and off the clutch all day everyday?

If you find yourself in traffic quite a bit, then finding the ‘biting point’ on the clutch pedal can be a bit of a chore.

Automatics remove the need for the clutch completely, meaning you can give your left foot a rest!

Automatics are generally a lot easier to drive. So if you share your car with other family members who might not be as experienced a driver as you, or if you are self-aware enough to know your own limitations, then an automatic gearbox can add a lot of ease to your driving.

Which is better for the environment?

An increasingly common consideration for those buying a car are the environmental factors. How green is my car? The gearbox can have an effect.

Manual gearboxes tend to be much more fuel efficient. This is because you have the control and can accurately gauge when the right time to change is, whereas an automatic gearbox might be more reliant on certain parameters that don’t take into account environmental factors like the incline of the road, the weather, etc.

That’s not to say automatic gearboxes turn your car into a gas-guzzler. Work is always going into improving and refining the technology of an automatic gearbox. With the future seeming to be self-driving cars, then it will soon become the norm. And if you are using a fully electric or hybrid car, then choosing an automatic isn’t going to be an issue!

So which to go for?

It all comes down to personal choice. If you want a car that’s easier to drive but surrenders some of your control, then automatic is for you. But if you want better fuel efficiency and complete control of your drive, choose manual.

Car Buying Tips  26/11/2019 16:29:43



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