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Automatic or Manual Transmission: The Pros & Cons of Both

Automatic or Manual Transmission: The Pros & Cons of Both

The automatic or manual transmission debate has been running for longer than I have been alive. It will likely run for long after I have retired too. But it’s a great fun debate to have so we thought it would make a great subject for a blog post.


Rather than force our opinions on you, we’ll outline what we see as the pros and cons of each. Buckle up and let's get started!



Pros of Driving an Automatic Car

There are many plus points to the automatic.


  • Easier to Drive: Automatics are point-and-shoot. Steer the car and work the brake and gas, that’s it. No worrying about revs, about clutching and shifting. Just point the car in the direction you want to go and hit the gas.


  • Less to Learn: If you’re a learner, not having to learn how to coordinate the clutch and manage gears is a level of complexity you don’t have to worry about.


  • Ideal for Limited Mobility: There’s a practical benefit for those with limited mobility too. No shifter, and no having to use a clutch means less to have to contend with while driving.


Cons of Automatic Transmissions

There are downsides to automatics though.


  • Not the "Full" Driving Experience: Managing the gears and clutch are all part of driving. Remove gears and you remove an integral part of the driving experience.


  • Less Fun: Combined with the above point, automatics just aren’t as much fun to drive. While point-and-shoot may work on the daily commute, it isn’t exactly interesting.


  • Less Gear Control: Have you ever driven an automatic that just couldn’t decide what gear to use? That’s a definite downside of automatics.


Pros of Manual Transmissions

Manual transmissions are definitely in the minority but there are upsides to them.


  • Much More Engaging to Drive: When you’re out on the open road, listening to the engine and choosing the time to change is a much more engaging experience.


  • Full Control: You control the gear and the speed and not the software. Everything that happens will happen because of the choices you make. That’s got to be worth something.



Cons of Manual Transmissions

It isn’t all good news for the stick though.


  • Rough in Traffic: Riding the clutch and constantly shifting up and down in the city can be hard work. It can also cause excess clutch wear if you ride the clutch too often.


  • More Difficult: Some people naturally gravitate towards the stick and can work perfectly well with it. Some people just find there is too much to coordinate at once.


  • Not Always Available: Automatic is more common. Many models will have a manual option but not all will. Some of those models may only offer manual in particular trims, limiting your options.


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Categories: Car Ownership