Manual or automatic car? Which is better (2022)

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Manual or automatic car

This question needs to be asked of oneself at some point while purchasing a new vehicle: Do I favor an automatic or manual transmission?

It is obvious that both systems have their positive and negative aspects, but there are also some biases and misconceptions in the minds of drivers that may play a role in the decision-making process.

Manual or automatic car

The current state of affairs in the world

In certain nations, like Japan and the United States, even 90% of vehicles on the road have automatic gearboxes.

This is not because the people there are too lazy to operate the shift lever and clutch correctly.

Getting rid of preconceived notions

There is a widespread misconception among motorists that automatic transmissions increase the speed of the vehicle, the amount of fuel it uses, and the amount it costs to repair.

Within the last half-decade, at least two of these preconceived notions have been rendered entirely irrelevant.

In addition, the stringent regulations governing exhaust emission requirements can only be satisfied in the future by using automatic transmissions, which allow for the gear changes and engine speeds to be optimized down to the smallest detail.

The German publication “Auto Bild” evaluated ten different makes and models, some of which had manual transmissions while others had automatic transmissions.

This leads to the automatic transmission coming out on top with a score of 6:4 in fuel consumption and emissions.

It is possible to save up to twenty percent of the fuel by utilizing a modern automatic transmission, as shown in the following sentence:

Nevertheless, one thing continues to be the case: Even in 2017, automakers continued to place significant orders for vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions.

This is not entirely without foundation, given the time invested in the development process.

The automatic transmission may incur an additional charge of up to five percent of the total purchase price, depending on the model.

For little automobiles like the Honda Jazz, this is only a thousand euros, but for larger cars like the Mercedes A-Class, you must pay twice as much.

The variety of automatic transmissions available today

In particular, much progress has been made in developing automatic transmissions over the past ten years.

As a result, there has been a shift away from developing an automatic system suitable for all vehicles and toward developing various types of gearboxes depending on the field in which they are used (and requirements).

Some are better for high torque at lower revs, while others are more dynamic but inefficient. Some of them are better for high torque at lower revs.

In the United States of America where the size of the engines is proportional to their torque. The automatic gearbox incorporating a torque converter holds most of the market share.

Because of its optimized design for high torque, it is sometimes referred to as a “torque converter,” which is a play on the product’s name. Although it provides a high level of comfort, it is not convincing in terms of its effectiveness.

Transmissions with a double-clutch mechanism utilize a direct drive, also known as a DSG in German and English, which can withstand high engine revolutions and is typically found in sporty vehicles.

Even in this situation, though considerably less so than with the torque converter, part of the engine’s power is lost.

In addition, this disadvantage can have at least some adverse effects mitigated through computers.

The more technical term for what we typically refer to as a continuously variable transmission is Transmission with Continuously Varying Gear Ratios (CVT).

It has a continuously variable range, uses minimal fuel, and is relatively efficient. However, there is a substantial disadvantage to this.

The engine noises of CVTs are unpredictable and do not follow acceleration or speed, which is one reason why these transmissions are not widely used despite their benefits.

Automatic transmissions are more prone to breaking down and cost more to repair when they do.

For a long time, automatic transmission systems have been considered highly prone to breakdowns, the repairs for which, in the worst-case scenario, can be extremely pricey.

This is one of the most significant drawbacks of automatic transmissions that have been identified up to this point in the industry.

However, this is only the case if the clutch associated with the manual gearbox is not included.

This is because this is one of the primary expenses associated with every repair in this region.

If you do not constantly shift gears correctly, keep the clutch depressed at traffic lights, and work with the friction point instead of using the handbrake, you will not enjoy your clutch for a long time, and in the worst-case scenario, you will need to change it regularly.

This drawback is somewhat lessened by the fact that automatic gearboxes stop problems brought on by the driver before they start.

Additionally, by completing periodic maintenance tasks and quickly identifying and fixing any automatic transmission issues, it is also possible to keep the automatic transmission in good working order.

Automatic transmissions are the norm in most vehicles today “free lube service changes.”

This indicates that used transmission oils can remain in the housing for the vehicle’s lifetime. Even so, it is necessary to check the oil level regularly, but the standard intervals can do this for maintenance checks.

Therefore, the disadvantages associated with maintenance are no longer relevant.

Manual or automatic car

The time to come

It is readily evident from a simple analysis of the current situation that manual transmissions will go extinct within the next twenty years at the latest.

This is because only gearboxes that have been tuned can meet fuel consumption and pollution criteria.

One can already observe such a development. But even at the limits, machines can nowadays outperform humans, and even in racing sports, the use of vehicles with automatic transmissions is increasing.

An automatic transmission is a perfect ally, especially for city traffic, but it is also becoming more common in racing sports.

Is it accurate to say that only high-end vehicles should have automatic transmissions?

If you look at the sales lists of different manufacturers, you’ll see that…Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lexus, or Lamborghini.

You will notice that none of these models has ever been sold with a conventional manual transmission.

With it, it is nearly impossible to achieve the quick switching times that customers desire.

In addition, standard transmissions are typically able to handle the high torques present. Despite this, if the driver chooses, they can change gears manually.

The remainder is handled by the vehicle’s automatic transmission, standard in high-end automobiles produced by prestigious automakers.

It’s a different story regarding economical compact cars, though. The automatic transmission installed in this vehicle, which, of course, also had to be reasonably priced about everything else, is typically lower quality and unable to convince fully.

Total breakdowns are quite rare, especially in small SUVs like the Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson. Selecting a torque converter will result in a slightly smoother ride and a slower-moving car.


Data and facts

  • When equipped with an automatic transmission, the engine loses 10% of the total power it produces.
  • Up to 20% in fuel savings and a reduction in exhaust pollutants.
  • The price difference between cars with automatic and manual transmissions ranges between 5% and 10%.

Examples of specialized types

  • Torque converters are designed specifically for use in vehicles with high torque production, however, they do not have a high level of efficiency.
  • Dual-clutch gearboxes require computers’ assistance but can handle high revs and a wide range of dynamic acceleration.
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) systems are remarkably efficient, but they are rarely used because the noises they produce can take some getting used to.


  • At these higher price points, automatic transmissions offer more power and are of higher quality than their manual counterparts. Just in the budget category, it is interesting enough to warrant a second look.
  • People who are worried about losing too much power and, consequently, the fun of driving, should think about getting a dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission. This transmission allows for manual gear shifting while taking care of the rest of the time optimization.
  • Putting the benefits to the side, you should give it a shot. Many dealers allow potential customers to compare and contrast the two before purchasing. In addition, you might get to drive two vehicles that are the same.

Advantages and disadvantages

Fully automatic transmissions


  • Ideal for new drivers just starting out
  • Provide a pleasant experience while simultaneously maximizing productivity
  • Have a higher level of technological sophistication than manual transmissions


  • Are more expensive
  • Reduce the engine’s output of power…

Transmissions that are operated by hand:


  • Make for a more dynamic driving experience
  • Are more affordable both to purchase and repair


  • Demand a higher level of focus while behind the wheel
  • Has very little room for development

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