Click, Over Clutch? Is a DSG Automatic Really Better Than a Manual Transmission?

Considering we’re headed into an age where the manual transmission will soon be going the way of the Dodo bird in most cars, we should probably get more familiar with the DSG transmission. Also known as a “direct-shift gearbox,” the DSG transmission is prevalent in cars like the Volkswagen GTI and now the Hyundai Veloster N, which are two very capable hot hatchbacks that are fun to drive. But does opting for the DSG transmission, as opposed to a six-speed manual, in either of those cars make them boring to drive? Or is the DSG transmission better than a manual transmission?

If you get bored while driving, buy a manual transmission

If you happen to be in the market for a hot hatchback like a GTI or Veloster, then you could be faced with the dilemma between buying one with an automatic or manual transmission. And to help you make your decision, one question you may want to ask yourself is if you’re the type that gets bored while driving a car with an automatic transmission. If so, then buy a manual transmission car.

And while that might decision sound too easy, then consider this: Driving a car with a manual transmission means that you have to be more engaged while driving since you have to use both hands to drive. This means that you’ll pay closer attention to the road ahead, instead of your smartphone, and you will have a lot more fun downshifting and picked whatever gear you need. But if that sounds like too much of a hassle, then consider the DSG automatic.

A driver manipulates the manual transmission.
Driving stick shift | Motortion/Getty Images

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Passenger comfort could be important

You might want to consider the DSG automatic if you like to drive with your passengers’ comfort in mind. Let’s face it, as much as you think you’re the smoothest manual shifter on the planet, you’re not. So be prepared to watch your passengers’ heads bob back and forth between every gear. But if you don’t want that, then buy a car with a DSG transmission.

The gears and other internal components of an IndyCar transmission
AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 24: The gearbox removed from Will Power (12)’s Chevrolet powered Dallara IR-18 at a pit stop during the IndyCar Classic held March 24, 2019 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX | Allan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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DSG transmissions shift a lot quicker

And as much as you like shifting a manual transmission and probably even think that you’re the fastest shifter in the world, hold your horses Quick-draw Mcgraw, because you’re not. A DSG transmission can shift its gears in 8 milliseconds. So unless you’ve been imbued with super-shifting powers, you’re not going to get into the next gear as quickly as one of these rapid-fire automatics.

DSG transmission are better for the daily drive

On top of it all, the DSG automatic transmission is just that, an automatic transmission. That means that it’s easy to drive on a daily basis, no matter how bad traffic gets.

And while some may argue that an automatic transmission takes the fun out of spirited driving, just think about how you won’t need to pay attention to which gear you’re in or worry about shifting the next time you hit the canyon roads in a GTI with a DSG automatic. But again, if you really want that third-pedal action to help you control your own destiny, then buy the manual transmission.