Do you know which is better suited to you?
Among the many factors worth considering when buying a new car is whether or not to opt for a manual or an automatic model. What are the main differences, though, and what are the pros and cons of each option?
The first thing to consider is cost. A car with an automatic ‘box tends to be more expensive than one with a manual. So your budget, like with all things, will be a determinate. It’s also worth noting that the running costs, should something go wrong, will potential be greater on an automatic ‘box.
Generally speaking, a manual gearbox will offer better performance than an automatic one as the response time between putting your foot down and the engine power reaching the wheels or “springing to life” will be quicker (exception is the dual-clutch transmissions (DSG), worst case is a continuously variable transmission (CVT)). Perfect for shooting between traffic lights then. This said, however, modern innovations in automatic gearboxes are certainly making them quicker and more fluid to use.
Fuel consumption is your next consideration. Because an automatic transmission changes gears for you, and generally makes these gear shifts when it feels is the optimal time, fuel consumption in an automatic car tends to be slighty better than in a car where the gear changes are left to the driver. But bear in mind that this is only true in the latest automatics like the dual-clutch transmissions, the older torque converter type transmission tended to use more fuel). A driver in a hurry might try to change gears as late as possible, thereby increasing the workload on the engine and, as a result, making it thirstier.
It’s worth asking yourself how often you have to sit in heavy traffic. With traffic congestion ever increasing it’s here where the true advantages of an automatic gearbox shine. Having to operate a clutch and manually change up and down the gearbox while keeping up with the motion of the traffic can be taxing, frustrating and potentially costly as this kind of driving adds wear and tear of the clutch.