When it comes to automatic vs manual, the latter has always been the preferred choice across the UK. But what’s the reason behind this? Automatic cars have been around for almost as long as manuals – the first automatic transmission was introduced in 1921 – but have never reached the same level of popularity in Britain. In the USA though, just about everyone drives an automatic car.
We’ve explored the pros and cons of automatic vehicles in order to determine whether it’s simply nostalgia that’s keeping manuals popular, or whether they really are the better option!
What is an Automatic Car?
Despite what the name may imply, automatic vehicles don’t actually drive themselves. The name comes from the fact that these vehicles have an automatic transmission, also known as a gearbox. This means that the driver doesn’t have to shift gears manually.
The transmission helps direct the rotational force, as well as the speed, of a vehicle. So when you shift gears, this allows you to speed up. With an automatic transmission, rather than relying on the driver, sensors are used to detect the internal oil pressure, and when this changes, the gear does too.
It’s easy to differentiate between an automatic transmission and a manual transmission, as there will be a different number of pedals. If a car only has two pedals, this means it’s an automatic, while cars with three pedals are manuals. This third pedal is called the clutch, which you need to press down to change gears.
Pros of an Automatic Vehicle
Ultimately, whether you decide to buy a manual or an automatic as your next vehicle will depend on your individual needs and preferences. But if you’re still on the fence about which option is better, it may be helpful to weigh up the pros and cons of switching to an automatic. We’ve highlighted the main advantages below:
- Simplicity: An automatic vehicle makes driving much simpler – you can simply put the car in drive, and then use the brake and accelerator to adjust your speed. The only other times you’ll need to touch the gearbox are when you’re reversing or putting the car into park
- Better for Heavy Traffic: If you’re often stuck in heavy traffic, which is often the case in busy cities, the motion of putting down the clutch can get tiring on your leg. But with an automatic, you don’t need to worry about this, as there’s no clutch pedal
- Smoother Drive: Because the vehicle is in charge of changing gear, you won’t have any jerky transitions between gears! And as long as your gearbox is kept in good condition, there’s no chance of you stalling either
Cons of an Automatic Vehicle
Now we’ve considered the benefits of an automatic, what about their limitations? Unfortunately nothing comes without a few drawbacks – we’ve listed the key disadvantages of automatic vehicles below:
- More Expensive: Because they’re less common in the UK, automatic cars are usually more costly to purchase. And this isn’t just new vehicles – it’s used cars too
- Less Exciting: Some people argue that when you don’t have to think about changing gears, the drive becomes more boring. The same thing has also been said about cruise control – driving can be more tedious
- Less Control: Although the automatic transmission will shift gears when you need to, if you need to accelerate quickly, such as when overtaking, it may take longer to respond than with a manual
Should I Buy an Automatic Car?
The decision as to whether your next car should be an automatic will be determined by your personal feelings and preferences. If you’re not fussed about getting the full driving experience, and don’t need to change gears to make driving enjoyable, an automatic could be a good option. Especially if you want a more comfortable drive, or have bad knees! It may surprise you how much strain shifting gears can put on your joints.
On the other hand, you may prefer having complete control of your vehicle. Or perhaps you’re on a budget, and can’t afford an automatic vehicle. If this is the case, you should probably stick to manual cars.
Getting an Automatic Car on Finance
If you do decide to purchase an automatic, Vehicle Finance Today can help! As long as the vehicle comes from a reputable UK dealer, buying an automatic car works in the same way as buying any other vehicle. Simply complete our short online application, and we’ll do our best to match you with a suitable lender.
We only undertake soft credit checks, so this application won’t impact your credit score. Though if you’re paired with a vehicle finance provider, they may choose to undertake a full credit check.
If approved, unless you’ve already got a particular car in mind, we can help you track down your next set of wheels. Next, the lender will transfer the funds to the dealer, and you can drive away happy!
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