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Manual versus Automatic Gearboxes: Which Transmission is The Best?

If you want to or have decided to get a new car, there's a lot of questions that run through your mind. The most important of which is what car to get but followed close behind is whether it should be a diesel or petrol, whether you should sell or trade-in and almost always, whether you should get a manual or automatic?

In helping you decide what’s better for you, TheCarGuy has put together a list of the various benefits between the two gearboxes:

Manual Gearboxes


Driving a car with a manual transmission requires a license for it. With this license, both manual and automatic transmissions can be driven. On the flip side, with an automatic license, only a car with an automatic transmission can be driven.

Less Expensive:

Manual gearboxes are cheaper to run because they are cheaper to build and less complicated to run. When it comes to maintenance, automatic gearboxes require more regular servicing and due to their complexity, will cost more to repair. But one thing to keep in mind is that if your clutch on the manual transmission goes out then that will cost quite a bit to replace which may level the playing field in the cost department.

Take Practice:

Manual cars have a steeper learning curve making them challenging to drive not only for newcomers but for people with reduced mobility or certain disabilities.


Manuals weigh less, this is an advantage as it allows for better acceleration and less power loss than an automatic. That’s why sportscar owners prefer a manual gearbox.


More specifically, less likely to be stolen as more models of cars that make their way out into the market are automatics, the generation that purchases them become less and less familiar with a manual as it becomes rarer. This means that if they are looking to steal a car, it is said they are less likely to steal a manual. But at the moment, is no valid evidence to support this statement.

Better Control:

A manual transmission powered vehicle is more likely to give you more control over your driving. An example of this is slowing down the car using your gears instead of the brakes.

Fun Factor:

Changing gears, be it up or down, can be “fun” when done the right way. American movies, like The Fast and Furious franchise, is the perfect example of this. Some drivers feel a certain level of satisfaction when shifting gears themselves, or trying to determine whether or not it's okay to skip gears in a manual.

Automatic Gearboxes

Easier to drive:

With an automatic, you will never have to worry about “clutch control” or shifting gears because all of it is taken care of for you thanks to the technology and mechanics literally under your feet.

Safe driving:

One of the first things you’re taught when learning to drive is keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times. This is achieved when driving a car with an automatic transmission but rarely possible when driving with a manual transmission.


A lot more effort goes into driving when sitting through traffic in a manual car, so much so that driving to work or home can become extremely tedious and even more so when the option to take public transport is unavailable. Cars with automatic transmissions, however, will allow you to easily move with the traffic. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you travel long distances on a daily basis.


It can be quite embarrassing stalling your car at a green light, and having those car horns blare behind you in frustration doesn't make the problem any easier, but with automatic cars that almost never happens unless there is a mechanical problem.

Hills & Inclines:

Steep hills and inclines are not a problem for autos – no matter how steep a hill is, an automatic will do the work that is needed to get you up smoothly and make you look like a pro, every time.

So which should you buy?

Enthusiastic drivers usually prefer a manual gearbox because they feel they are more involved in the driving process, but it differs from driver to driver and the car they choose. For example, Ferrari is one high-end manufacturer that did away with manual transmissions because there was just less demand for it.

It all comes down to your needs as a driver, if you’re more budget-conscious, then the Top 5 brand new cars that cost less than R160 000 in South Africa might be worth your while. Not only are manual cars cheaper in this regard but if easier driving is of more concern, be it for medical reasons or simply comfort than an automatic car is more likely the car for you.

Content created and supplied by: TheCarGuy (via Opera News )

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