Are Automatic Vehicles Better than Manual Vehicles?

Modern vehicles come with one of two types of transmission: automatic or manual. There is often an assumption that automatic vehicles are superior to manual ones, but is this really the case? Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of each type of transmission, or gearbox, to help you make up your mind:

Manual transmissions:

Manual cars have manual, or traditional, transmissions. This means that the vehicle has a stick shift and three pedals (the brake, clutch, and accelerator) which are used to manually shift between gears whilst driving.


  • Cheaper to maintain and run – Generally, manual vehicles cost less to maintain and run than automatic ones in the long term. This is because the components in an automatic vehicle are often more complex than those in a manual one, making any issues or faults easier and cheaper to diagnose and repair.
  • More fuel efficient – As manual transmissions are simpler than their automatic counterparts, they are more fuel efficient, making manual vehicles the more economical option in terms of fuel consumption.
  • Greater level of control – As the gears are shifted manually, you have complete control over when you want to shift up or down a gear to suit the road conditions. Many drivers like this feeling of being in control.
  • Cheaper to purchase – Manual vehicles are usually cheaper to purchase than their automatic counterparts.
  • Statistically less likely to be stolen – According to statistics, manual vehicles are less likely to be subject to theft than automatic vehicles.
  • Ability to drive using any type of transmission – If you pass your driving test in a vehicle with a manual transmission, you will have the freedom to drive both a manual and an automatic car without the need to take any additional tests.


  • May not be as safe to drive – Some people argue that manual vehicles are not as safe to drive as automatic vehicles. This is due to having to take one hand off the wheel and shift your attention whilst changing gears.
  • Aching clutch leg – You may find that you develop an ache in your leg muscles from excessive clutch use, this can be particularly evident when driving through congested areas, requiring the clutch to be pushed in regularly during stop-and-go traffic.
  • Requires more practice to learn – It generally takes people longer to learn how to drive a manual vehicle due to the need to coordinate the clutch, accelerator and shifting effectively to avoid stalling.
  • Less availability – Manual vehicles are often considered less desirable than automatic vehicles, which has reduced the number of them being produced.
  • Lower resale value – Due to often being considered less desirable in today’s market, manual vehicles generally depreciate faster than automatic vehicles and end up with a lower resale value.

Automatic transmissions:

While the drivers of manual vehicles play an active role in operating them, vehicles with automatic transmissions do a lot of the work for you. Automatic vehicles only have two pedals, the brake and the accelerator, and they also have a much simpler version of a shift stick than manual vehicles. In an automatic vehicle, you simply put the shift stick into drive mode and push the accelerator and the car will automatically shift the gears accordingly.


  • Easier to drive – Automatic vehicles are considered easier to drive than their manual counterparts as there is no need to coordinate gear changes and exhibit clutch control. This also eliminates the chance of stalling the vehicle and reduces the risk of developing aching leg muscles, particularly in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Offers a smoother drive – As the gears are shifted automatically, the drive is often a lot smoother in an automatic vehicle than in a manual vehicle.
  • More widely available – Vehicles with automatic transmissions are often considered more desirable due to being easier to drive than manual vehicles. Due to this, automatic vehicles are now widely available with most new vehicles being manufactured with automatic gearboxes.
  • Higher resale values – As automatic vehicles are often considered more desirable, they tend to hold their value better than their manual counterparts, resulting in higher resale values.


  • More expensive to purchase – Vehicles with automatic transmissions are generally more expensive than those with manual transmissions due to being more popular to purchase.
  • More expensive to repair – Due to the complexity of automatic gearboxes, it can be more expensive to diagnose and repair issues or replace parts.
  • Less fuel efficient – Automatic vehicles are often less fuel efficient than their manual counterparts, making them more expensive to run.
  • May not be as fun to drive – Some drivers claim that having an automatic transmission takes the fun out of driving and that driving an automatic vehicle is often boring in comparison. If a driver is used to using a manual vehicle, it can also be difficult for them to adjust to driving an automatic vehicle initially.

Premier Components UK Ltd.
Unit 701
Meon Vale Business Park
Campden Road
CV37 8QR

Tel: +44(0) 1789 720 061
Company Number: 03577119
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