Should you learn to drive in an automatic? Automotive experts share the pros and cons

Close up of woman driving automatic car

With the upcoming ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2035, and more manufacturers choosing to only sell automatic cars, the automotive industry is changing rapidly.

And with a growing number of drivers now taking their tests in automatic cars, Macklin Motors have spotted searches for ‘automatic driving tests’ are up by 22% in the last three months alone.

So, to help new drivers understand the differences between the two types of motor, the automotive experts explain:

“When learning how to drive, there’s a lot of decisions to make, one of them being the type of car you want to learn in. And it’s important to make the right decision for you.

“The key difference between a manual and an automatic car is how much work you will need to do as the driver. In a manual car, there are three pedals – accelerator, brake, and clutch, using the gears to increase or decrease your speed.

“In an automatic car, there are only two pedals – an accelerator and a brake, with the automatic gearbox doing the hard work for you.

“So, with automatic cars seemingly doing all the hard work, it’s important to understand the pros but also the cons of learning in an automatic before you make the decision.”

The pros of learning in an automatic car

1. No clutch control needed

Being able to stop/start the car without the added stress of using the clutch can be beneficial to new drivers. As an automatic car will change your gears for you, you don’t have to worry about gear changes in busy traffic.

2. Automatic cars are more inclusive

Automatic cars are a great choice for those learning to drive who have physical disabilities or medical conditions. Especially for those who have limited mobility, the two-pedal option is a great choice.

3. Less risk of stalling

Something that is really common when learning to drive is stalling. There is very little risk of stalling an automatic as there is no clutch, which some learners prefer.

4. Easier to drive

An obvious pro is of course, that an automatic is easier to drive. With the car changing gears for you, this gives you more time to focus on manoeuvres and other aspects of the driving test.

The cons of learning in an automatic car

1. Higher car costs

Automatic cars are usually more expensive to buy than manual, so be prepared to pay a little more when it comes to buying your first car.

2. More expensive to repair

With more advanced technology and complex mechanics, automatic cars are usually more expensive to repair. So, these costs are definitely something to budget in when planning to purchase your first automatic car.

3. Limitations in the future

If you choose to learn in an automatic, this does limit you to only driving automatic cars in the future. While electric cars continue to rise in popularity, passing your driving test in a manual car still offers more flexibility, as it allows you to drive both manual and automatic models in the meantime.

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