The Ultimate Driving Dilemma: Automatic Versus Manual

Volkswagen E-Golf Auction

Automatic or manual. It’s a car dilemma that has caused many a debate. Some motorists feel that they can get a lot more from driving a manual car. Others like the ease of driving an automatic. Whether you are team manual or team automatic, you need to ensure that you are making the right decision for you. After all, it is vital that you get a car that is fit for your needs.

When finding the right transmission for you, it’s always best to be armed with the facts. Of course, some people are more emotional about their cars than others. But, emotions are not the right way to decide on how to buy a car.


You need a car that is fit for purpose. You need a car that can get you from A to B. But, you also need a transmission that is suitable for your needs and requirements.

Let’s take a look at the great automatic versus manual debate and help you make an informed choice.

Fuel Economy

One of the biggest things that the majority of car owners are concerned with is how fuel efficient their vehicle will be. Manual cars are said to be more fuel efficient than their counterparts. But, with the onset of car engineering technology, this is no longer technically accurate. Car giants have made sure that they are focussing on fuel economy on all of their cars. They understand that this is what consumers want. So, now there is a more fuel economic approach to automatic vehicles. According to the Western Van Centre, more cars than ever are becoming fuel efficient. This means that whether you opt for a manual or automatic, you are bound to get more miles to the gallon. In 2013, BMW launched the 328i sedan. Irrespective of whether you choose the manual or automatic version, you still achieved the same fuel economy when it came to miles per gallon. So, if it’s affordability you are after, it may be wise to invest in a new car when it comes to fuel efficiency. Used or older cars may still be gas-guzzlers.

Manual Cars Are Said to Cost Less than Automatic Cars

Again, if you are looking for an affordable option, it may be savvy to invest in a manual car. But, with the onset of newer cars, the manual and the automatic versions are often now the same price. It depends on what you want as a consumer. Some people love the feel of driving a car. That’s why they choose a manual transmission. Others, they are keen to let the car do the hard work for them. Automatic and manual cars are now on par when it comes to price. So, affordability should no longer be an option for the car consumer.

Sports Cars Have Manual Transmissions

Many of the high-performance cars from the larger car manufacturing giants will have a manual transmission. But, for the average car buyer, these top of the range sports cars are out of their remit. It is said that you can drive faster with a manual car. But, this is not technically true. There are a lot of myths perpetuated around this debate. Automatic and manual cars can offer the same performance when it comes to everyday cars.

Ferrari and Jaguar now offer a less than traditional approach to their vehicles. They now offer an automatic hybrid. This is because the car can achieve maximum performance that way. For the average car buyer, they are not looking at a Ferrari. Think about your needs and what you require from your car. Performance wise, a newer car may be suited for an automatic engine. Older cars, however, may not perform as well as their more modern counterparts. Therefore, the manual option is always best.

Affordable Sports Versions of Cars

Ford, Audi and Fiat have all released their latest cars with a manual transmission. The TT, 500 and Focus ST all only come with manual gear sticks. So, if you want affordable sports version of the car, the automatic option is not available.

Most People Learn to Drive Via a Manual Car

4172218074_24af455365_zAs more people learn to drive in the UK via a manual transmission, this is something that they feel comfortable with driving. In the UK, the automatic market is not as prevalent. In the US, of course, automatic is a way of life. It all depends on your comfort levels. If you have never driven an automatic car before, you may have some trepidation in doing so. But, if you are keen to enhance your driving capabilities you can opt for this kind of car. It all depends on how comfortable you feel. If you are a recently passed driver, you may feel that you want to stick with your manual transmission. Of course, with experience, you may want to swap to automatic.

The Theft Factor

Many people believe that automatic cars are more susceptible to being stolen as they are easier to drive. Therefore, this gives a thief the ultimate getaway vehicle. There has been a slight rise in automatic car theft. But, the rise has not been significant enough for everyone to warrant a manual car.

The Fun of Driving

Of course, being armed with the facts is vital. But there are emotional factors too. For some, they love the feel of ‘properly’ driving a car. This is why they stick with a manual transmission. They love the feeling of shifting through the gears and revving the car. Others prefer the feel of not driving at all. When it comes to matters of driving, it’s a wholly personal experience.

Let’s Wrap Up…

With this in mind, it is vital that you choose something that you are comfortable with. In the main, you will be able to feel the benefit of driving either car. When it comes to insurance, there is little difference in automatic and manual insurance policies. Both are an affordable option for many. It all depends on what you like and what your preferences are.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.