Driver Hub  Learning to drive  Advice for learners   What's better to learn - manual or automatic?
Car park full of cars
We Are Marmalade profile

We Are Marmalade

December 21, 2018

Learning to drive Young driver stories 3 min read

Hi guys, I’m Nathan! I’ve been driving for around 7 years and as I’ve had experience driving a manual and an automatic car during this time, I thought I would share my insight into the both, as the trend of convenience and ease of use in cars is growing!

We all want to earn our freedom on the roads, usually as fast as possible – which sometimes, can mean hopping in an automatic as a learner and sticking to the lack of gears for life – but is the easy way always the smart way? As somebody that learned, passed and bought a manual car before recently buying an automatic, there are some definite pros and cons to learning in and driving both.

What’s the difference?

The main difference between automatic and manual cars is that an automatic the car offers more convenience and will do a lot of the hard work for you – no gear changes, the lack of that pesky clutch pedal and no fear of stalling are the features that really appealed to me. Surely it’s a no-brainer? Learning to drive without having to learn clutch control and gear changes sound like the dream!


All of the above are great selling points to learn in an automatic, imagine taking your test with absolutely no worries of missing a gear or stalling for the 3rd time at a busy junction, not to mention all of those hours of driving lessons which are spent learning how to master a manual.

Always automatic, right?

If you’ve read the above and are sold on learning in an automatic, before you call up your local driving instructor to book in lessons, there are actually a few perks from learning to drive in a manual car, too.

Whilst learning to drive an automatic may be easier, you need to work out what you can afford, before and after you pass your test. Driving lessons in an automatic car are often more pricey than the manual option, so you’ll be piling on the pounds before you’ve even got your licence!


When it comes to buying your first car, if you’ve got an automatic licence, you’re restricted to buying an automatic car, which, can often come with a bigger price tag than a manual. Luckily, if you learn to drive in a manual car – you’re free to buy and drive whichever one you like!

Which would I choose?

Having driven both, I’m thankful that I learnt in a manual. I feel like this made me more aware of what I was doing in the car and that it was worth the extra few hours of lessons to have, not only the extra knowledge of what I would be driving but a larger choice of cars to pick from when I passed. I’ve had an automatic for almost 2 years now and I definitely think I was a better driver in a manual as there’s more to think about and keep you engaged with when on the road, believe it or not, I’m actually starting to miss using gears when driving too – who would have thought!

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!

We Are Marmalade profile

By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

Share this article

Ariel shot of yellow car
News 6 min read

10 of the world's most bizarre driving laws

Holly West-Robinson profile

Holly West-Robinson

September 13, 2017

The laws in some countries do make you wonder what an earth they were thinking when they came up with such unusual motoring regulations!Read more

Car with full beam lights on
Owning a car 3 min read

How to replace a headlight bulb

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

November 27, 2018

You’re driving along, and you realise your headlight has gone – damn! So what do you do? Pay over the odds for a garage to fix it? Call your Mum in a panic? You could…Read more

Young girls jumping on beach free for summer
News 9 min read

Get set for a summer of freedom!

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

June 24, 2019

Nothing beats the feeling of summer – when the shackles of school, uni or work are cast aside; possibilities are endless, and the world (or at least the country) is your oyster. 56% of you…Read more