Buying a new car? Manual or automatic, what to choose?

  • Both manual and automatic gearboxes come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Both manual and automatic gearboxes come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Both manual and automatic gearboxes come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The feeling of buying a new car may be very exciting, but the process before deciding on a particular model and variant is tedious and stressful for any car buyer. It requires a lot of research, test drives, and taking advice and suggestions from other owners and experts. One of the key factors that play a crucial role in any car buying decision is choosing the transmission option for the vehicle. Manual or automatic, which one buy- it is a great dilemma many of us face while opting for a car purchase.

The transmission system allows the vehicle to change gears, transferring power from the engine to the drive axle, eventually propelling the vehicle. The transmission is one of the core components of any vehicle. In lower gears, the transmission increases available power while reducing speed. In higher gears, the transmission reduces power and increases speed. Through this process, the transmission enables a car to distribute power and speed more efficiently for any given situation.

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Both manual and automatic transmission systems have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few facts about the manual and automatic gearboxes to help you choose between these two technology.

Manual transmission

Manual transmission appeals to many, especially those drivers who seek the old-school driving charm. Manual transmission predates the newer automatic transmission technology.

Cheaper to buy and maintain - Manual transmission-equipped cars come significantly cheaper than their automatic counterparts. Also, the simpler mechanism of the manual gearbox makes it cheaper for maintenance. This makes the overall cost of ownership for a manual car lesser than an automatic car.

Better fuel economy - While the modern automatic ad manual transmission cars offer almost similar levels of fuel economy, in older automatic cars, the fuel efficiency offered was significantly lower than their manual counterparts. In older cars, manual transmissions have been known to save drivers up to 15 per cent on their fuel costs.

Tiring in heavy traffic - Driving a manual transmission-equipped car in heavily congested city traffic is tiresome as constant clutch pressing and gear changing requires more attention and result in more stress for the driver.

Automatic transmission

For many new-age drivers, automatic transmission means empowerment. It allows a stress-free driving experience, be it on the highway or in congested city traffic. This is prompting the automakers to bring more and more automatic gearbox-equipped cars to the market.

Easier to use - Although pressing a clutch and shifting gears is not inherently difficult, but it requires a driver bit of practice to be comfortable with the system and to learn when to upshift or downshift. Many new-age drivers opt for the shortcut by buying automatic cars, that enable them more driving comfort.

Better for hilly regions - Navigating steep inclines in a manual car is difficult for a less experienced driver, while automatic cars enable them with an efficient and easy driving experience, no matter how steep the hill climb may be.

Expensive to buy and maintain - Automatic transmission technology is more complex and requires more parts than manual gearbox technology. This makes the automatic transmission more expensive than the manual gearbox, eventually resulting in higher prices for automatic cars. Also, the variety of moving parts often takes longer for the mechanic to repair, resulting in a higher cost of maintenance compared to a manual gearbox.

First Published Date: 25 Jun 2023, 12:17 PM IST

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