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Manual vs Automatic Cars – Which Is Best For You?

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Years ago, automatic cars were scarce and the ones that you could get were usually pretty clunky to drive. Not to mention expensive! Nowadays though, the ‘manual vs automatic cars’ question is a real conundrum many Aussie drivers have faced because there are so many around.

Automatic cars have come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades and it’s now pretty easy to get your hands on a fantastic automatic car. In fact, manual car sales are becoming less common as the years go by.

So if you’re car shopping and wondering whether an automatic or manual is the better choice, we’ve got you covered with our breakdown of the pros and cons of each!

How to decide between manual and automatic

Manual vs automatic cars. It’s an old debate. Maybe not as old as motoring itself, but it’s certainly been a hot topic since the introduction of automatic vehicles.

Speak to most older Australians and they’ll proudly say they learned to drive in a manual. It’s a badge of honour that most younger Australians couldn’t care less about… Many won’t experience the kangaroo hop or the difficulty of a manual car hill start – but have they really lived?! 😉

Deciding between manual vs automatic cars largely comes down to personal preferences and priorities. But how do you know until you know what you don’t know? So, we’re here to help you figure out the pros and cons of both.

After all, you don’t want buyers regret sinking in when you’re sitting in traffic wishing you had an automatic or hitting the open road longing for a manual.

close up of automatic cars gear shift

Manual vs automatic cars: the case for manual

Fans of manual cars will always bring up one point when it comes to the manual vs automatic cars debate: manual cars are more fun to drive.

Another key point is the greater control manuals give you over your ability to speed up and slow down. You’re not a real driver unless you’re really driving the gears – right?

Of course, this is completely subjective. Horses for courses, as they say. And while one person might love the drive a manual car gives, some people prefer automatics. But there’s no doubting that in manuals, the driver does have more precise control over the gears and when to change.

If you’re less about the driving pleasure and more about getting from Point A to Point B, it probably doesn’t matter anyway. Especially if your automatic accelerates and brakes nicely. Job done. But if you love driving for the feel of the road and the thrill of getting behind the wheel, you might never want to switch from a manual car.

The second major benefit comes down to cold, hard costs. Often (though not always), the manual version of a car is less expensive than its automatic counterpart when you first purchase it. So you might save some cash buying a manual vs automatic car.

And if the transmission breaks, it’s usually cheaper to repair on a manual (unless you choose a mechanic who’ll give you a great price!). So potentially, you might also save some costs further down the road. Pun intended. 😉

Manual vs automatic cars: where automatics win

Then there’s the case for automatic cars. There’s one thing that can’t be ignored; automatics are much easier to drive.

Not only is the driving learning curve less steep, but they’re easier to drive in stop-and-go traffic. And keeping both hands on the wheel at all times (as well as not having to focus on shifting gear at tricky junctions) does arguably lead to safer driving. Plus, they can make long trips a bit more comfortable for the driver.

And though you might have heard otherwise, you tend to get better mileage out of automatic vehicles. Of course, it does depend on the car….and how good the automatic transmission is. See manual vs automatic cars compared for fuel efficiency here. And if that’s important to you, find out more about improving fuel efficiency. Hint: you can’t drive like Lewis Hamilton just because you’re in an automatic car!

Of course, the downfalls are that autos can be a little more expensive to purchase. And expensive to repair, in the case of the transmission. Driving purists may also feel they’re not as fun or engaging to drive but again, this really is down to personal preference.

That said, many automatic cars also offer the ability to switch it to a manual transmission if you want greater control or precision for any reason.

Whatever you choose, insure it!

Whether you go for manual or automatic cars doesn’t matter in the end. It’s a personal choice that’s completely up to you.

Another personal choice we’d suggest you consider – getting comprehensive car insurance for your sparkly new ride. It can save you a fortune if you have an accident, get stuck in a hailstorm, flood or fire, or become a victim of theft. And yes, stolen cars are more common than you might think!

Time to get a quick quote?

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