Manual vs Automatic Cars - Which will you choose?

Motoring 2020-6-16
Manual Vs Automatic Cars.jpg

A simple guide to the pros and cons of manual vs automatic cars

According to AutoExpress, automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it’s only a matter of time before they outweigh their manual counterparts. But which is right for you? Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we have compared pros and cons of both transmissions to help you choose your next car.

What’s the Difference?

When driving a manual car, the driver of the vehicle is in full control of gear selection and changes. The gears are changed by hand in conjunction with the clutch pedal which is operated by the left foot.

In an automatic, the car’s on-board computer will change gear automatically to match the acceleration and speed of the vehicle.

So what are the Pros and Cons?



  • Increased concentration on the road – As you don’t have to worry about changing gear and getting your biting point spot on, your concentration can solely be on the road ahead.
  • Better for driving in heavy stop/start traffic – If you live in a built up or heavy traffic area or drive in rush hour traffic regularly, an automatic is easier to drive when you are constantly having to brake, stop and then start again.
  • The clutch doesn’t wear out as quickly – As the gears are being changed automatically by the car’s on-board computer, the clutch will not wear out as quickly.
  • Smoother ride – Because you’re not manually moving the gears up and down, automatics tend to make for a smoother, more relaxing ride for passengers.



  • Insurance premiums are higher – As automatics are trickier to repair, insurance companies have put their premiums in line with this.
  • Lack of choice - If you pass your test in an automatic, you can only drive an automatic. Whereas if you learn in a manual and get your full licence, you can drive either.
  • Less control over braking – Due to the car having a torque converter, you may not have as much control when you brake in comparison to a manual.
  • More expensive to buy – Automatics tend to cost more upfront, mostly due to them being the less popular choice, so this may change if interest continues to grow.
  • Easier to get distracted - Because you don't have to change the gears, some drivers report that they feel like it's easier for their mind to wander, especially on longer drives.



  • More fun to drive – Many drivers feel that they have more involvements with the car and enjoy the drive more when changing the gears and engaging the clutch compared to an automatic in drive mode.
  • Maintenance costs are lower – As they are less complex that automatics, manuals are easier and less expensive to repair.
  • Freedom of choice - If you pass your driving test in a manual, you can drive an automatic as well. Plus there tends to be more choice when it comes to make and model, so you don’t have to go as far afield to get the car you want.


  • Hill starts – Stopping then starting on a hill can be both inconvenient and daunting. To ensure the vehicle doesn’t roll back into the traffic behind you, you need to be able to find your biting point quickly and easily.
  • The stall – no matter how long you have been driving, you can still end up stalling your car at the most inconvenient time to the annoyance of other drivers.
  • More effort – Unlike an automatic where you can just put it in drive and go, manuals require you to keep on top of your gear changes.

Whichever type of car you decide to go for, we can help you spread the cost of your new set of wheels with our dedicated low cost car loans. Starting from just 3.5% APR Representative between £5,000 and £25,000.



Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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