Cars Manual vs Automatic – 8 Myths Busted

Manual vs Automatic – 8 Myths Busted

My father insisted that I learn how to drive on a manual car, and wouldn’t let me near an automatic until I became an expert driver. Both types of transmissions have their ardent fans, and insist the advantages one has over the other. Some of their claims are based on myths, rather than reality. Let’s go for manual vs automatic comparison and try to solve this sticky dilemma:

1. Manual Gearbox Means Better Fuel Economy

Yes, this is what we all grew up hearing and believing, but with the fuel prices hiking and number of automatic shift cars on the rise, the automotive manufacturers have managed to overtake this issue. The new cars are equipped with additional gears, which are even better than manuals in terms of mileage. For instance, the 2014 Ford Focus is equipped with six-speed automatic transmission and performs better than its manual version (31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) whereas the conventional manual transmission only gives a 30mpg combined). Its Super Fuel Economy package even delivers 33 mpg combined fuel economy. Another excellent example is the 2014 Nissan Versa, whose continuously variable transmission gives 35mpg better than 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions.

2. Automatic Means Expensive

It is another thing of the past; 67% of the cars manufactured in 2013 were automatics. BMW offers most manual models at the same price as the manuals. GM’s 2013 Buick Regal GS is another such example.

3. Automatics are Easier to Maneuver

No they might be easier to drive as long as you are on a straight road, but it is actually the other way around. A driver using a manual, gains better control over the car. If he could shift gears timely, he can squeeze into a tight parking spot and veer through potholes with a much better command than someone who is driving an automatic.

4. You Can’t Get The Same Burn Out With Automatic – Not Anymore

If timed correctly, a manual car can have an actual burn out stage. This gives it an edge over the automatic and results in a swifter head start. Perhaps, this is why manual cars have been a favourite among racers for a long time. However, it is interesting to note that even that is changing. The 2014 Jaguar F-Type, 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and the 2013 Maserati Gran Turismo, do not come with manual transmission. These major performance car manufacturers have shifted their focus from manual to automatic, which is a proof that this myth is also not true anymore.

5. With the Popularity of Automatic Cars on the Rise All Cars are Available in Automatic Versions

Though, there is no doubt that the automatic cars have become much popular over the years, there still are cars that come with only standard manual transmission. Cars like the 2014 Ford Focus ST, the 2014 Ford Shelby GT500, the Volkswagen Golf R and the Audi TT RS are equipped with stick shifts only.

6. Power and Climbing

There is no doubt that if you could shift gear accurately, you can always overpower the capability of the automatic. This superior power makes the manuals easier to climb steep roads and hills.

7. Teenagers Prefer to Learn Driving on a Manual

Actually, since there is no stick shift and all you need to drive an automatic car is a good road sense and command over brake and accelerator, teenagers prefer this no hassle method. With most cars available in automatic transmission, they don’t really see the need to do so either.

8. Manual Cars Can Be Thief Deterrents

Some people argue that since most people these days don’t know how to drive a stick shift, the automatics are an easy target for the thieves. However, the latest models are equipped with better alarm systems and are more difficult to break into. There is no data available as such to show what types of cars are more favoured by the thieves.

I hope some of the above mentioned myths, which we have busted, will help you in deciding the type of car you should buy in 2016. Happy New Year!