What's better to learn in - manual or automatic?

Many young drivers face the same dilemma - learn to drive in a manual, or an automatic? We've asked Nathan, who has experience of driving both!

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By Chloe Martell

Updated on Dec 4th, 2020

What's better to learn - manual or automatic?

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!

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Chloe Profile Picture

By Chloe Martell

As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!

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