Automatic vs Manual Cars: A Comprehensive Guide to Transmissions

Posted on November 23, 2023

Running Costs of Automatic Vs Manual Cars

While automatic cars may seem like the hassle-free option to get from A to B, you may pay a little extra to take advantage of the benefits. 

One of the main price differences between automatic and manual cars is the purchase price. Automatic cars cost an average of €1,000 more than manual cars. Also, manual cars are usually cheaper to get serviced and require servicing less frequently. 

Emission rates of automatic cars tend to be higher, which means you’ll end up paying more for the road tax on the automatic model. Fuel consumption is also higher in automatic cars. 

automatic car
manual car

The majority of car owners in Ireland drive manual cars. But which is the best option?

Unlike our neighbours in the US, most cars in Ireland are manual. Nearly every new driver will learn to drive using a manual car. But what is it that attracts Irish drivers to manual cars, and what are the benefits? 

Your First Driving Licence 

If you plan on taking the driving test anytime soon, it might be worth noting that if you pass your test driving an automatic car, your licence is restricted to automatic cars only. If you want to switch to driving a manual car at a later date, you’ll have to re-sit your test. However, if you pass your test driving a manual car, you’re entitled to drive either transmission type. 

driving license

Environmental Impact: Automatic vs Manual: Which is Greener?

The environmental footprint of a car isn’t just about its fuel type; the transmission plays a pivotal role too. Historically, manual cars were often deemed more fuel-efficient, leading to fewer emissions. However, advancements in automatic transmission technology have significantly bridged this gap.

Today, many automatic cars have features that optimise gear shifts, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption. While the difference in emissions between the two is narrowing, it’s essential to consider the specific make and model, as some eco-friendly car models with automatic transmissions are designed to be exceptionally green.

Driving Schools’ Perspective: Learning to Drive: What Do Instructors Recommend?

Learning on a manual or automatic car can be daunting for many new drivers. According to several driving instructors, manual cars offer a more in-depth understanding of a vehicle’s mechanics, but automatic cars can be less intimidating for beginners.

The absence of clutch control and gear shifts allows new drivers to focus more on road awareness and safety. However, instructors often highlight that a manual driving licence offers more flexibility, allowing the driver to operate both manual and automatic vehicles.

Driving Experience

Drivers of manual cars benefit from better control (especially in icy conditions). You’ll also notice a higher level of revving which can sound unpleasant on some ranges of automatic cars. However, this is improving with new automatic cars as they now have more gears to switch through to alleviate this.

In terms of comfort, automatic cars offer a smoother ride. An automatic car is often more suitable for frequent traffic drivers, as you do not need to keep changing gears and pressing the clutch if you’re stuck in slow-moving traffic. 

So if you’re looking for a smoother ride requiring less movement, go with the automatic. If you’re looking for a cheaper option which gives you added control, go for the manual. 

automatic car

Automatic vs Manual Cars FAQ

Whether you’re driving a manual or automatic car, KennCo will be happy to give you a quote. Call 0818 25 20 25 today. 

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