Here’s a detailed comparison between automatic and manual cars to help you decide which one makes more sense for you.
While the automatics are popular in the western countries, Indians are inclined towards manuals due to its frugality.
It is bewildering to choose the right model when deciding on your new car. Gone are the days when car buying was simple with just a handful of options around. The advent of new technology and a wide choice of models has made it difficult for customers to pick the right vehicle that fits the bill. Aside from choosing the right fuel type, another question that has been popping of late is whether to pick a manual or an automatic gearbox. While the automatics are popular in the western countries, Indians are inclined towards manuals due to its frugality.
In the last few years, there has been a rise in demand for automatics, courtesy the new automated manual gearbox that promises a healthy fuel economy. For budget conscious customers, manuals make more sense as it costs substantially less. While both the gearboxes have their own pros and cons, here is a detailed comparison between automatic and manual cars to help you decide which one makes more sense for you. Also Read – Petrol Vs Diesel Dilemma – Which Car Suits You Best
A manual transmission or MT is also known as a stick shift or n-speed manual. It is operated by the driver through a clutch that is functioned via a foot pedal for regulating torque transfer from engine to the gearbox and a hand-operated gear lever. In India, most of the cars come equipped with a conventional 5-speed manual unit, whereas the more expensive cars get the six-speed manuals.
– Automatic Transmission
An automatic transmission is completely automatic with self-changing gear ratios. It primarily uses three components, planetary gears train, fluid/hydraulic coupling and hydraulic control fluid/hydraulic coupling.
– Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
It functions on the same standards as the AMT gearbox, albeit it uses dual clutches for even and odd gear sets.
– Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
A CVT gearbox does not have different gears, instead it comes with one special gear that is variable in all driving situations. Additionally, it could effortlessly change through a range of gears.
Automated Manual Transmission
The AMT or the automated manual transmission is essentially a manual gearbox which enables gear changes without pressing the clutch. It uses a hydraulic actuator system and an electronic control unit that either engages or disengages clutch during gear shifts.
It is a known fact that manual cars are cheaper compared to automatic ones. While the difference in price has shrunk over the years with the advent of AMT gearbox, the CVT or AT variants are still quite expensive as opposed to their manual counterparts. Due to the feasibility of AMT gearbox in terms of pricing, carmakers are now offering it in budget cars like Renault Kwid, Maruti Alto K10 etc. On the other hand, the ATs and CVTs cost more with the price difference ranging up to Rs 1 lakh compared to the manual version of the same model.
Bereft of the clutch pedal, an automatic car has an edge over manuals when it comes to driving comfort. In addition, the automatic cars do not roll back when driven on an uphill slope, especially when the car is stopped and you take it forward. While in case of manuals, there is a chance of rolling backwards on a slope in the same situation under the review unless you are an expert.
The manual cars are claimed to return better fuel economy as compared to the automatics. While this notion is slowly changing with AMT powered vehicles, manuals still lead with the highest fuel economy figures. In the current scenario, the difference between manual cars and their AMT versions is not more than 3-4kmpl (rough estimate).
Surprisingly, the maintenance cost of automatic cars is lesser than that of the manuals (during its lifespan). In automatic cars, the calculation for changing gears is apposite, which makes driving very smooth, without experiencing jerks. Since the gears are shifted at the right speed and engine RPM, it enhances the life span of drive train parts and tyres. Additionally, the clutch plate replacements are not required in automatic cars.
Automatic Cars require jumper cables that cost Rs 500 (approximate figure). These are requisite to start the car when the battery runs out and the self-starter fails to start the engine. Unlike the manual cars, the automatic ones cannot be push started, therefore one needs to maintain the battery to avoid this situation.
It is believed that the Automatic cars accelerate quickly while overtaking, however this is not entirely right. Just so you know, the automatic cars come equipped with a manual override, such as the Tiptronic unit that enables driver to select gear manually.
While the sales of automatic cars are on the rise, carmakers like Maruti Suzuki India and Tata Motors are betting big on the automatic models.