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Manual vs Automatic

Automatic versus manual cars for driving lessons

When starting your driving lessons or choosing an instructor, a common question to ask yourself is whether you’d prefer to learn to drive in a manual or automatic car. There are pros and cons to each approach and many factors to consider. We’ve discussed them below to help you out.

Manual licenses allow you to drive both

One key thing to understand is that with a manual licence you can drive both manual and automatic vehicles once you’ve passed your Practical Test. However, if you learn to drive in an automatic car, you’ll only be allowed to drive automatic cars going forward.

Because of this, there are more manual drivers in the UK. Only 40,000 of the 720,000 driving tests taken every year are for an automatic licence. Although the number of automatic cars is on the rise, the vast majority of drivers still hold manual licences – giving them the option to drive a manual (as well as automatic) if needed.

Considering your budget

Generally speaking, automatic cars tend to be in a higher insurance band, meaning they are more expensive to insure. The costs of repairs are higher for an automatic car.

For many learners, a manual licence would be more useful when shopping for your first car because it gives you more options. You aren’t limited to just automatic vehicles and you can get an inexpensive second-hand car to refine your driving with.

Fuel efficiency is another advantage as fuel consumption tends to be less when compared to an automatic vehicle.

Other factors to think about

Another thing to remember is that one day you may have to drive an office car, van or hire vehicle. Again, a manual licence will give more options. Office vehicles tend to be manual and the higher price of automatic cars is reflected in the cost of hire.

Learning to drive

That said, because there’s more to learn in a manual (namely, the gearbox and clutch) driving lessons may take a bit longer. You may need more lessons to master it. But, another consideration is that automatic driving lessons tend to be more expensive. So it’s worth doing the maths before you decide on either option.

Some learners struggle specifically with using a manual gearbox, and for them, getting an automatic licence could get them on the road faster. Automatic vehicles can also work well for those with limited mobility or a disability.

‘Upgrading’ from an automatic licence to a full Category B manual licence is relatively straightforward if you do get an automatic licence and later want to switch to manual.

Manual driving lessons work for the majority

Ultimately, the better option for the majority of driving lessons is to focus on getting a manual licence. Because of the greater range of vehicle options, cheaper running costs and long-term costs.

At StartnDrive, our driving instructors have over 21 years’ of experience and can work with learners of all ability and confidence levels. We use a manual Ford Fiesta, that’s noted for its superior driving experience and ease-of-use. With StartnDrive, you’ll get tailored and patient driving lessons, based in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas, that will help you get your manual driving licence.

To get your driving lessons off to the best start, contact us now.

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