Everyone wants to make the right choice when deciding on their first car- and choosing between an automatic and a manual transmission is one of the first crossroads in the decision.

Here are a few points to consider as to what decision you should make.


The difference between an automatic and manual car has to do with the gearbox. In the UK, a manual gearbox is the norm. With a manual car, you change gear by depressing the clutch pedal before selecting the next gear.

In an automatic car, the gear is automatically selected to suit the car’s speed. This used to be done by a fluid coupling known as a torque converter, but nowadays automatics usually feature automated clutches in the name of better fuel economy.


Neither the automatic or the manual car is definitively better than the other. It all comes down to a driver’s preference. There are some pros and cons to driving both types.

Manual cars are definitely the more popular choice with a September 2016 survey showing that 70% of drivers in the UK currently drive manual cars and reported always doing so*. Many find the manual change in gears a better and easier experience that allowed them more control and ease of motion.

However, some argue that with the rise of electric cars, which count effectively as automatic cars by nature of their transmission, have been on the rise in recent years, suggesting a shift in attitudes towards the two processes.

When it comes to automatic cars, only 4% of drivers in the UK say that they have ‘always driven automatic’. Automatic cars are known for being more expensive, another reason why they are not a popular choice for first-time buyers.

It is also more difficult to get certain repairs for automatic models because they are a less popular choice, you find that fewer mechanics that can help you. Therefore, the cost of getting repairs on automatic cars is also steeper.

If you are a first-time driver and looking to buy a car that will help start you off on the road, a manual car does appear to be the better choice in regards to initial pricing and ongoing maintenance. It’s also worth noting that the future of the industry does tend to lean towards automatic cars, so it’s worth learning the process of both.

At A-Class Driving School, our instructors specialise in both manual and automatic cars. Our instructors are available for lessons in many different areas of the UK, view our options to find out what we can offer.

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