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Manual Vs Auto: Battle Of The Transmissions

Manual transmission cars have been around for ages. So much so that they have earned Hollywood cult classic status with numerous action films zooming in on characters changing gears during a fast-paced car-chase scene. However, the advent of automatic transmission has garnered their own following of gearheads who swear by it. 

Both manual and automatic transmission have their strengths and weaknesses, leaving the crowd divided. With no clear consensus of which is better, we decided to pit manual and automatic transmission head to head to find out which is better.

What is the difference between manual and automatic transmission?

Automatic cars do not have a clutch pedal and come with a simplified gearbox. While manual transmission cars give you full control over your car’s performance with five or six gears as well as reverse, automatic cars usually only have four modes which are automatically selected by the car to suit your speed and road conditions.

Manual Transmission

Image source: Andre Kohl on Unsplash

Manual transmission cars are for drivers who prefer to be more involved in their driving. Despite being older than automatic transmission technology, there are plenty of reasons why they are still loved by many car owners out there.

  • Better control

While automatic transmission allows you to rely on the car itself to choose the appropriate gear, they tend to be more on the conservative side and may waste engine power by shifting to too high a gear.

 Since automatic transmission cars are built to respond to a change in condition rather than anticipate them, manual transmission has a clear advantage for drivers who prefer to purposely choose lower gears for a boost of power or have more control over their driving.

  • Less expensive

Manual transmission cars tend to be cheaper than automatic transmission counterparts due to the lack of added machinery needed, and the fact that they tend to be less popular. This also means that maintenance is a lot cheaper since there is far less to maintain to begin with. The only thing you really need to worry about taking care of is your clutch.

  • More fuel-efficient

Since manual transmission engines are less complex and weigh less, they are also significantly more fuel-efficient than automatics.

Automatic Transmission

Image source: Cars.com

Automatic transmission cars are the newer kids on the block with more advanced technology making them a more popular choice in recent years.

  • Easier to drive

Completely eliminating the need to find the gear or press the clutch, driving is a lot easier to adapt to with automatic transmission cars.

  • Better suited for heavy traffic

In slow-moving heavy traffic where cars cannot get up to speed as easily and involves a lot of stop-start movement, driving can be frustrating and a chore.

 This is made much easier with an automatic due to the smooth and intuitive transition between gears. Automatic transmission allows for smooth and breezy driving just by pushing a single pedal.

  • Much less likely to stall

Automatic cars are far less prone to the dreaded stalling associated with manual cars, leaving you with more peace of mind while you are on the road. 

You probably will not run into any issues with stalling with an automatic unless there is a mechanical problem.

  • Less manually restrictive

It is generally accepted that the safest way to drive is to keep both of our hands on the wheel at all times. Unfortunately, this is only possible with an automatic car.

So, which is better?

Image source: Freepik

Both automatic and manual transmission cars have their fair share of advantages. The answer to the question of which type is better really depends on the lifestyle and preference of the driver. 

If you are an urban driver who has to deal with traffic daily or like a more fuss-free experience, an automatic car might be the one for you. On the other hand, if you like to be more hands-on and have more control over your driving, or if your budget is a concern, manual transmission would be a better choice.

I have made up my mind, now what?

Whichever you choose, you should explore the different models and types of cars that suit your preferences. Transmission type should not be your only concern after all! If you are looking for an automatic or a manual transmission car, look no further. 

For a vast selection of both new and used automatic and manual cars, check out the UCARS online car marketplace, where you are sure to find your dream car!


We understand that owning a car is a big financial commitment. Our marketplace is dedicated to help you get the best deals, make the right decision and save money! Browse our finest collection of quality cars at your fingertips or schedule a live video call session at the comfort of your own home on UCARS.

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