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  • FIRST POST
    • harshitguptaiitr
    • By harshitguptaiitr 12th Feb 18, 12:06 PM
    • 113Posts
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    harshitguptaiitr
    Getting on Road - Automatic vs Manual
    • #1
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:06 PM
    Getting on Road - Automatic vs Manual 12th Feb 18 at 12:06 PM
    Hello
    I have got my provisional license and I wish to start learning how to drive.
    I am debating between manual and automatic.
    With manual, I know it will take me a few extra attempts and quite a few extra lessons as compared to automatic.
    Also, I am not very hands-on so I am not confident with manual cars.

    In terms of availability of driving instructors, test dates, cars to buy - do you think there will be an issue with automatic cars?
    In terms of money, do you think the cost of lessons, tests, car, fuel, insurance, MOT, maintenance, tax, others, will be much more with automatic cars?

    I am happy to spend an overall of 100/year extra if I can get my driving license sooner than later.

    Edit - I am looking to buy a 5 door car for family. An estate car with good boot space and good space for children will be a bonus.
    Last edited by harshitguptaiitr; 12-02-2018 at 12:09 PM. Reason: Additional Details
Page 1
    • neilmcl
    • By neilmcl 12th Feb 18, 12:09 PM
    • 11,100 Posts
    • 7,920 Thanks
    neilmcl
    • #2
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:09 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:09 PM
    Personally I'd always recommend learning manual, once you have your licence you can always revert to driving an Auto. If you take your test in an Auto your choices in the future become limited.
    • RichardD1970
    • By RichardD1970 12th Feb 18, 12:12 PM
    • 2,941 Posts
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    RichardD1970
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:12 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:12 PM
    It shouldn't take that much longer to get used to a manual. It soon becomes second nature and muscle memory, you don't even have to think about it.

    I would personally would always advise going manual as it keeps your options open if you ever need to borrow or rent a car.

    Try starting with manual and if, after a few lessons, you really can't get on with it then switch.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 12th Feb 18, 12:25 PM
    • 1,462 Posts
    • 1,080 Thanks
    IanMSpencer
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:25 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:25 PM
    I'd second that. Learning a manual is simply about repetition, your mind learns what to do and in a surprisingly short time you will conquer the clutch.

    The reality is that the hardest thing about driving is dealing with other road users, the technical side of driving soon disappears.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 12th Feb 18, 12:27 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 2,236 Thanks
    fatrab
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:27 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:27 PM
    Generally, automatics are slightly less economical than their manual equivalents. As such they can sometimes be in a higher tax bracket so you'd need to look into this for whatever model you intend to buy. But most other running costs will be pretty much the same.

    I'd agree that learning in a manual would be the preferred option.

    I'm a big fan of automatics though. If you want something sporty then a manual would be the preferred choice, but for comfort and ease of use then it has to be the auto-box.


    Edit: As stated below, it has to be a good automatic gearbox, some manufacturers are awful!
    Last edited by fatrab; 12-02-2018 at 12:35 PM.
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x 2 coins (#32)
    • n217970
    • By n217970 12th Feb 18, 12:28 PM
    • 333 Posts
    • 274 Thanks
    n217970
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:28 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:28 PM
    My wife tried for years to drive a manual and after multiple fails her confidence was shot. A change of instructor and driving an auto meant she passed straight away. Prehaps it was the new instructor, prehaps it was the car, I don't know but she refused to even try in a manual (and still does).

    Personally I would much prefer if she had passed in a manual but on the otherhand an auto licence is better then no licence.

    +ves
    She can drive

    -ves
    She has to buy an auto which limits choice (especially as I also drive the car on occasion and demanded we get one with a good old slushbox rather then a computerised clutch)
    When the cars are the wrong way round and she wants to go out I have to move my car. When the opposite occurs I end up shunting both cars about. A minor inconvenience specific to our driveway but it got real boring real quick.
    • fatrab
    • By fatrab 12th Feb 18, 12:39 PM
    • 852 Posts
    • 2,236 Thanks
    fatrab
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:39 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 12:39 PM
    My sister failed 6 times in a manual then passed first attempt in an auto!
    You can have results or excuses, but not both - Wannabe debt free by Dec 2022
    June's targets - Be 15st by end of month, 19/30 AFDs
    39 x 2 coins (#32)
    • Annie35
    • By Annie35 12th Feb 18, 1:18 PM
    • 217 Posts
    • 184 Thanks
    Annie35
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:18 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:18 PM
    I could not get on with manual, my mind was set I'd stall EVERY TIME & I so I did, mostly! Took me 10 years to try again, auto & it's fabulous!

    I found auto cars more expensive but a good deal as it tended to be due to lower miles & higher spec as a lot of autos come out of motability.

    I'd suggest try manual first but don't get bogged down if it's not right
    • SuzieSue
    • By SuzieSue 12th Feb 18, 2:34 PM
    • 3,831 Posts
    • 4,046 Thanks
    SuzieSue
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:34 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 2:34 PM
    I would take a few lessons in a manual. If you can't get on with it then take your test in an automatic.

    I passed in a manual but didn't drive for 20 years as I hated driving until I started driving my husband's automatic and couldn't believe how much easier it was compared to a manual. Changing gears is such a waste of time.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 12th Feb 18, 4:15 PM
    • 2,284 Posts
    • 3,084 Thanks
    Robisere
    Yes it is easier to drive an auto: I have to, from disability and I found it made my driving better. I have more time to look at mirrors and out front, which means more time to calculate distance and assess possible obstacles. However, if you can begin with a manual, it is better training. If you can't handle it, accept the fact that you will always drive an auto.

    Just a thought: with the forecasted push towards electric cars, am I correct in saying they are all Autos? (Never driven an electric vehicle)
    I think this job really needs
    a much bigger hammer.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 12th Feb 18, 4:29 PM
    • 3,048 Posts
    • 2,212 Thanks
    Tarambor
    With manual, I know it will take me a few extra attempts and quite a few extra lessons as compared to automatic.
    Also, I am not very hands-on so I am not confident with manual cars.
    Originally posted by harshitguptaiitr
    Nobody ever is competent or confident with a manual gearbox and clutch pedal when they first get in a car to drive for the very first time. People don't get in and suddenly instantaneously manage to do it from the very first time, they learn. You can learn. You will find it becomes second nature and I doubt very much you will need "quite a few" extra lessons, maybe 1 or 2 at most.

    My daughter took her test in an automatic but recently passed a manual test. She did it because she is finding out that quite a lot of modern automatic gearboxes on small cars have serious and expensive issues. In her case had she not got a warranty when hers packed in she was looking at a 2500 bill. That is what pushed her to do her manual.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 12th Feb 18, 4:31 PM
    • 3,048 Posts
    • 2,212 Thanks
    Tarambor
    Yes it is easier to drive an auto: I have to, from disability and I found it made my driving better. I have more time to look at mirrors and out front, which means more time to calculate distance and assess possible obstacles.
    Originally posted by Robisere
    How? You don't change gears with your eyes, you don't even look at the gearstick.
    • Raxiel
    • By Raxiel 12th Feb 18, 4:50 PM
    • 689 Posts
    • 382 Thanks
    Raxiel
    My wife was struggling with the manual when she was learning to drive, and her instructor suggested she switch to an Auto. She had lessons for a while in the auto, but was worried about being too restricted and switched back to the manual.

    She actually found it easier the second time round, my theory is the time in the auto meant she could get more confidence at the 'reading the road' part of driving, whereas before her attention had been split between that and gear-shifting.

    She passed first time when she finally took her test, although she was having lessons for a long time so she might not be the best example.
    • EmmyLou30
    • By EmmyLou30 12th Feb 18, 6:04 PM
    • 415 Posts
    • 514 Thanks
    EmmyLou30
    Unless you have a medical reason (like a dodgy left knee or something) then I would say manual every time. Yes an auto is nice in a city but you limit your second hand car choice, potentially less economical (although modern autos are much better than 20 years ago), if you have a smash the repair place has less autos, you'll have an issue with getting courtesy cars from garages, hiring cars abroad will be extra fuss if they've not got a lot of autos etc etc.

    It's the biggest worry for all new drivers - how do I know when to change gear? It becomes second nature within a few lessons. I persoanlly hold the view that if you aren't coordinated enough to handle changing gear (which should be an autopilot thing you aren't really thinking too much about) as well as looking in mirrors, looking out for hazards etc then you probably aren't coordinated enough to be behind the wheel of a car. Driving is something that takes a lot of coordination and attention if you're doing it right....if not you're just driving around not spotting hazards and being a menace on the roads.
    • JP1978
    • By JP1978 12th Feb 18, 9:43 PM
    • 412 Posts
    • 287 Thanks
    JP1978
    Wife tried driving lessons when she was younger - her employer even paid for them - at the time, she had no reason to drive and had a lack of co-ordination and understanding on when and how to operate a clutch.

    Quick step to about 5 years ago, she decided she wanted to drive and FIL gave us his old car - a manual. She just couldnt get used to it and found she couldnt concentrate on driving (steering) and the clutch.

    She went to an instructor in an automatic and although she took a lot more lessons that average, she passed first time.

    She now drives a VW group car with a 7-speed DSG box.
    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 12th Feb 18, 10:40 PM
    • 3,152 Posts
    • 2,032 Thanks
    Ectophile
    Just a thought: with the forecasted push towards electric cars, am I correct in saying they are all Autos? (Never driven an electric vehicle)
    Originally posted by Robisere
    Electric cars don't need gearboxes. So far as I know, all the plug-in hybrids are automatic as well, as it would be a nightmare for the driver to adjust the engine speed to the motor speed otherwise.

    Some new electrics have one pedal driving. Put your foot down to go faster. Take your foot off to go slower. The brakes are for emergency stops only.

    Give it another couple of years, and there will be little need to buy a new petrol or diesel. But it may be another decade before the old ones become uneconomical to keep. Maybe earlier if cities start to ban anything not electric.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
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