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The discussion of manual and automatic transmission cars, trucks, and SUVs used to be a hot topic. These days, most drivers prefer automatic transmissions. Manual transmissions are decreasing in popularity, mainly because automakers produce fewer options yearly. What is the difference between manual and automatic transmission vehicles?

The difference between a manual and an automatic transmission

Progressive broke down the basics of the difference between a manual and an automatic transmission. The vehicle’s transmission connects the engine to the wheels and makes the wheels move. It has different gears for different speeds, inclines, and conditions on the roads. In a manual transmission, the driver is responsible for changing these gears. In an automatic transmission, the gears change automatically.

Many drivers find automatic transmissions easier, especially in traffic or areas with many hills. However, plenty of drivers like manual transmissions due to the engagement. Those who enjoy driving might like the manual transmission more as it gives you more to do. It also offers more control over the ride.

Another difference between a manual and an automatic transmission is the manual transmission’s anti-theft device. Manual transmissions also offer a small amount of vehicle security, as it can deter some thefts if drivers don’t know how to use a manual transmission. Finally, many countries abroad prefer stick-shift vehicles. Knowing how to drive a manual car is helpful if you want to drive in many places in Europe and Asia.

What are some of the negatives associated with a manual transmission

There are a few drawbacks to driving a manual transmission vehicle. It requires more work or attention, even though everyone should pay attention while driving. Traffic can be tiring, especially if you have to sit in it on your daily commute a lot.

There are fewer options on the market for manual cars these days. Most of these are sports cars or luxury cars that might have a higher price tag. Some budget vehicles also offer manual transmissions for a lower cost, like the 2023 Nissan Versa. It might not be the best option if you share a car or have children who might want to drive soon.

Manual transmission cars can be more fuel efficient, but it isn’t that much of a difference. Otherwise, it all comes down to preference. Some people enjoy having a manual transmission car to drive on the weekend for fun and an automatic one for everyday driving. Whatever the case, manual transmissions have held on.

Automatic cars are generally easier to drive

The difference between a manual and an automatic transmission, manual option seen here
A six-speed manual transmission shifter on the 2015 Ford Mustang | Matt West/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Automatic transmissions tend to be more convenient and more common these days, which means a larger pool of vehicles to choose from. The idea of driving, in general, can be more approachable with an automatic transmission. There are many things to think about when a driver first hits the road, so not having to think about shifting can be helpful.

For those who spend a lot of time driving or commuting every day, an automatic transmission can be less tiring. A drive in the city might require a lot of shifting and work to stay in gear, which can be annoying with traffic and everything else going on. Some automatic transmissions can be faster, too.

Overall, there are many differences between a manual and an automatic transmission. What kind of transmission works for you depends on what your daily commute looks like and what sort of vehicle you are looking for. There are a few manual transmission cars left, and maybe a truck or two, but you won’t really find any manual sport utility vehicles, except for the Ford Bronco!


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