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Choosing a New Car – Manual vs Automatic

So, you’re ready to get a new car. There’s lots to think about – even once you’ve decided on a make and model, you will still have a world of options open to you. One of the key choices you’ll face is whether to go for a manual or an automatic car and, while they’ll both perform well, there are some key differences you need to understand.

Most cars in the UK are manual transmission – that is, they have a gearbox operated by a gear stick and a clutch. Only around 8.4m cars on Britain’s roads are automatic, which means that the car automatically selects the appropriate gear based on the car’s speed.


Why choose a manual?

Manual cars are far more common and most people learn to drive a manual, rather than an automatic. In fact, if you learn in an automatic, you need to take a separate manual test before you are able to legally drive both types of cars – whereas if you learn in a manual, you can drive both types.

Manuals are seen as ‘a driver’s car’ – that is to say, they’re generally preferred by people who love to drive. They allow a more responsive experience than automatics, which can have a slight delay between gear shifts.

Manuals are also generally cheaper than automatic cars – both to buy and to maintain. And automatics have long had a reputation for being worse on fuel economy than manual cars, although as technology develops, this gap is closing.

The major downside to manual cars when compared to automatic cars is that they are more difficult to drive, as there is an extra layer of driver control to factor in. But, if you’ve learned to drive in a manual, it shouldn’t be anything you can’t handle!


What are the benefits of an automatic?

Automatics are easier to drive and that is their major advantage over manual cars. As the car selects gears automatically, the driver is free to concentrate solely on the road. Automatics are particularly useful in slow moving or stop-start traffic, as there’s no need to continually shift gears.

Automatic cars are increasing in popularity in the UK. For decades, they have been the style of choice in America, but in recent years the market on this side of the pond has begun embracing the automatic. And, while automatics are more expensive than manuals, they tend to retain a higher resale value, too.

Automatics are likely to become even more popular as the car industry develops. Electric cars don’t have a gear box and so, by default, are automatic. As they become more widely available, the number of manual cars on the road is likely to decrease.


A happy medium?

You can get semi-automatic cars, which provide a halfway house for those who are undecided! There’s no clutch, but the driver is able to change gears using paddles on the steering wheel – or you can choose to drive in standard automatic mode if you choose.


What’s right for me?

If you’re still not sure which is the right choice for you, our team can help you decide. Give us a call on 0151 705 6778 and we can discuss your requirements and preferences and help you find the perfect car for you.

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