Automatic or Manual Gears?

Should you go for a car with automatic or manual gears, or one with both?

Automatic or Manual Gears?
Which is better: the automatic one or the manual one? Images by aSuruwataRi and Plus69 (via Shutterstock).

In the motoring world, there is one argument that’ll rage on for years to come. Not the differences between having a Ford Fiesta compared with a Volkswagen Golf. That of the differences between automatic or manual gears.

In America, automatic transmission is a popular option whereas on our shores, manual transmission is King. On these shores, there is a good reason. If you go for a UK driving licence for vehicles with automatic gears, you are not licensed to drive cars with manual transmission.

If you have a UK driving licence with a manual component, you can drive both manual and automatic cars. Which is handy if you wish to become a bus driver and go on to getting your PCV licence.

Differences between automatic and manual gears


The most obvious difference between automatic and manual cars isn’t just the gear stick. In an automatic car, there is a bigger brake which is next to the accelerator. This is double the size of the brake on a manual car, as the clutch would be on the left hand side of the brake.

For slow speeds in urban areas and hilly terrain, automatic gears offer a more consistent performance (which is why they are standard on single and double decker buses). With slower speeds in peak hours and longer travelling distances, they are a popular option with American motorists.


From left to right, the pedals are Clutch, Brake, and Accelerator. The gear stick works in conjunction with the clutch. For many motorists, a car with manual gears is a cheaper option. Not only on purchase, but also with insurance premiums.

One disadvantage is they can be less efficient than automatic gearboxes. If you’re stuck in city centre traffic or making a long journey, they can be tiresome.

Drive 4 Life Academy, 24 July 2017.

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