Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions which is better?

Which type of Transmissions you prefer is mostly a matter of type, because both a manual and an automatic Transmissions have advantages and disadvantages. There are no longer any big differences these days, which is why one shouldn’t give too much to old-fashioned prejudices. We’ll tell you what speaks for and against each type of transmission.

Those who used to drive automatic cars were quickly labeled as unsporting and lame drivers. But technology has evolved, and automatic transmissions are no longer just intended for comfortable driving. We have summarized for you which myths are still hidden today behind the terms automatic transmission and manual transmission and what the reality is.

Advantages of manual gearbox

  • “Proper” driving
  • Cheaper because there is no extra charge
  • More individual
  • Saves fuel
  • Puristic driving

Many drivers do not want to do without a manual transmission, even if it means more effort for them. The only durable advantage, however, is the lower price. Manual transmissions are currently always cheaper than models with automatic transmissions. Whether you save fuel depends heavily on your driving behavior and how “correct” driving is defined is also very subjective.

Advantages and disadvantages of an automatic Transmissions

But the manual transmission not only has its advantages. If you are in stop-and-go traffic, you quickly demonize the constant engaging and disengaging of the clutch when moving off. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages of automatic transmissions are summarized here for you:


  • More comfortable and relaxed driving
  • Slopes can be mastered more easily
  • Automatic shifts faster
  • No maintenance effort
  • No wear


  • Extra subject to a surcharge
  • “Driving a car experience” is lost
  • Possibly higher fuel consumption (only with older automatic)

Shift and automatic in everyday life

So if you opt for a modern automatic transmission, you have the advantage, especially in traffic jams or in heavy city traffic, that you don’t have to shift gears all the time. This of course affects the driving comfort, which speaks in favor of the automatic.

It looks similar to driving pleasure because modern automatic transmissions have caught up here. Those who prefer a sporty driving style no longer have to resort to manual gear shifting. A small car, however, is usually better equipped with a manual transmission than with an automatic.

Let’s get to the price: This is where the manual Transmissions shows its advantages because it does not cost any extra. But: The advantage of the lower fuel consumption is no longer automatically on the side of the manual transmission, it rather depends on whether you are dealing with a modern or older automatic. Modern technology is melting away the earlier disadvantage of the automatic.

What types of automatic transmissions are there?

If the decision is made in favor of an automatic transmission, the question of which automatic it should be remains open. If you take it very carefully, you would have to make a distinction between a classic automatic shift and automated transmissions, but since these types of transmissions are usually grouped as automatic, we also consider it bundled here as automatic.

Here we have briefly and compactly summarized the function and the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of Transmissions for you:

  1. Automated manual transmission
  • A structure like a manual transmission
  • However, the clutch and shifting process is automated
  • Relatively cheap
  • Optimal switching points (saves fuel)
  • Long switching pauses
  • Breaks in traction possible
  1. Continuously variable CVT transmission
  • Translation without switching
  • There are no corridors (therefore stepless)
  • Pleasant background noise
  • Jerk-free acceleration
  • Partly unfavorable efficiency
  1. Automatic converter
  • Classic automatic with 6 to 9 gears
  • Very comfortable
  • Low-speed level
  • Usually quite a high surcharge
  1. Dual-clutch transmission
  • Also called direct-shift transmission
  • Two automated manual transmissions
  • Very good acceleration
  • No interruption in traction
  • Relatively high surcharge
  • Only sequential switching is possible

Prominent representatives of the double-clutch transmission are BMW and VW (also known as DSG). For this reason, Mercedes decided to use an automatic converter because they see advantages in all-wheel drive.

For front-wheel drive vehicles, the dual-clutch transmission is also the top priority at Daimler. If you want a CVT transmission, you can choose from the range of models from Audi, Toyota, or Nissan. So there should be the right automatic for every taste.


Here we have a few more answers to questions about the topic of automatic and manual transmissions:

What do the letters on the automatic mean?

Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions

The automatic lever is not marked with numbers like the normal gear selector lever, but letters are found.

P = parking

R = backwards

N = neutral (idle)

D = Drive

Sometimes there is also an S for Sport and a B for Brake can also appear.

What do you have to pay attention to when driving with an automatic?

The most important thing, in any case, is that you only use your right foot as there is no clutch pedal. If this is your first time driving an automatic car, be sure to put your left foot to one side and do not try to use your left foot to brake. Our left leg is trained for a strong kick in the clutch, almost no one can brake gently, which can be dangerous. Therefore: put your left foot on the side and, as usual, operate the accelerator and brake with your right.

When is automatic worthwhile?

If you often have to drive long distances and have to change gears frequently, then an automatic is the more pleasant version – especially in tough traffic. In addition, a larger car is usually more worthwhile for an automatic transmission, small cars are in most cases only offered with a manual transmission anyway.

Which is faster – manual or automatic?

That cannot be said in general terms, but a vehicle with an automatic transmission is usually faster when it comes to acceleration, and when it comes to top speed, the switch is usually ahead.

Elenor Kling

A tech lover and generally a car enthusiast who likes to do a lot of research and share knowledge.

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