Automatic or Manual?

This is probably the biggest question facing learners. Which is the better option? Will they regret their choice? Let’s have a look and see what we can come up with.

Automatic Pros

  1. Autos are easier to use.
  2. They don’t require anywhere near as much co-ordination.
  3. You learn to drive much faster in an auto.
  4. Makes driving hilly areas much easier for new drivers.
  5. You can’t stall an auto unless there is a mechanical issue with the car.
  6. Driving in heavy traffic is much easier.

Manual Pros

  1. Cheaper to purchase.
  2. They are cheaper to maintain because they have less machinery. It takes a lot to make a car run automatically.
  3. More fuel efficient.
  4. Recently, more drivers are auto only, so a manual is less likely to be stolen because they can’t drive it!
  5. The driver has better control over the engine power used.
  6. If you have a manual licence you can drive anything.

Automatic Cons

  1. You can only drive autos.
  2. They are a bit more expensive to buy and maintain.
  3. Still slightly less fuel efficient.
  4. Don’t get to understand the workings of a car as well as when you drive manual.

Manual Cons

  1. Takes longer to master.
  2. Can make learning to drive difficult. Stalling repeatedly can play on a learners confidence.
  3. Driving in heavy traffic can be exhausting.

Other Points to Consider

The pros and cons of automatic or manual can only get you so far. There are other factors that have an impact.

What cars are available for you to practice in? It’s great to want to learn manual, but if you only have easy access to automatics it can be a difficult task.

What feels right for you? Is automatic enough for you to worry about or do you feel like you need to learn in a manual. Generally, you will have a bit of a sway towards one more than the other.

Where do you live? If you’re in the city or suburbia then an automatic is fine because you’ll mostly be driving on roads. The roads are likely to be fairly flat too so there’s not that much demand on the car. However, if you live rurally, you will have country roads to deal with and uneven terrain which is better suited to a manual car.

At the end of the day you have to do what feels right for you. A lot of first time drivers have a go in both to see what they think. It’s also common to do the first 40 hours in an automatic so you can focus on road rules and steering etc. and then progress on to manual later.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong answer and you can change your mind at any time before your test. Even if you get your auto licence you can change your mind after and retake the test in a manual!

Whatever you decide, have fun and enjoy this process. The road to independence is ahead of you, drive it any way you like.