A Buyer’s Guide to Manual and Automatic Cars


When searching for a new car, you will often be faced with the choice of either a manual or automatic transmission. While the major difference between the two is the inclusion of a stick shift and driver-operated clutch to change gears (manual transmissions), other differences are often unclear to the average consumer.

The following are just some buying features to consider when choosing between manual and automatic transmission vehicles:

  • Fuel efficiency. In general, manual transmissions tend to be more fuel efficient than their automatic counterparts. This is important in older cars, as modern vehicle makes typically only vary by a few kilometres per litre when comparing automatic and manual models.
  • Price. In terms of a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, there isn’t a drastic difference between automatic and manual transmission cars. In general, however, manual vehicles tend to be less expensive. Resale value is also key, as manual vehicles can be harder to resell.
  • Safety. While the safety features of automatic and manual vehicles are generally the same, there are some considerations for buyers. For instance, automatic vehicles allow drivers to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. It’s also important to note that manual transmission vehicles are stolen less often than automatic vehicles simply because thieves are less likely to know how to operate them.

When purchasing a vehicle, consumers have their pick of a variety of features. But when it comes down to the choice of transmissions, in the end, personal preference may be the deciding factor.

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