Learning to drive in a manual, automatic and electric car – The Pros and Cons

Choosing the best transmission for your driving lessons can be a difficult decision, especially when it comes to purchasing a car afterwards.

The Government wants to stop the production of petrol and diesel cars by 2035, meaning that soon you will only be able to purchase an electric car, which will come as an automatic.

Due to this incoming measure and the desire to be more environmentally conscious, more learners are starting to take driving lessons in automatic cars.

Many learners find learning in an automatic car considerably easier than in a manual car due to not needing to focus on changing gears.

Due to having the option of learning in a manual or automatic car, we spoke to Anthony Johnson, the director of DRIVE 321, for his opinion on what transmission is best to learn in, along with the pros and cons of manual and automatic cars.

What are the benefits of learning in a manual car?

“The majority of learners still choose to learn in a manual car. However, this is slowly changing, with more learners wanting to learn in an automatic car. When deciding to learn in a manual car, the main benefit is that you can drive both manual and automatic cars once you pass. The option to drive both a manual and automatic car allows you to drive any vehicle from old petrol cars to a nice new electric car.”

What are the cons of learning in a manual car?

“While driving both a manual and automatic car is convenient, unfortunately, some learners cannot pass their test in a manual car. We have found that some learners find driving in larger cities where the pressure is high and juggling changing gears and staying safe on the road too much for some learners.

“We recently spoke with one learner who was taking driving lessons in London, and they told us that they couldn’t figure out how to change gears due to the pressure of driving. Due to this, we changed them over to automatic driving lessons after having a chat with them, and they were able to pass their test first time.

“For some, driving a manual car is not possible, and if you are beginning to resent driving, we would always recommend switching to automatic before giving up on learning to drive.”

What are the benefits of learning in an automatic car?

“Automatic driving lessons are on the rise, with the DVSA reporting that more learners are taking their driving test in an automatic car year after year.

“Along with this, our automatic learners pass their driving test faster on average than those taking manual lessons due to the ability to fast track their lessons and reach test standards quicker. Not only are learner-driver enquiries increasing for automatic lessons, but we are also seeing an increase in automatic driving instructors wanting to join our driving school franchise.

“Having the ability to get a driving instructor quickly and then pass your test quicker than that of a manual learner, you can save both time and money.”

What are the cons of learning in an automatic car?

“If you decide to learn in an automatic car, you cannot drive a manual car once you pass your test. This is an issue for some learners who may wish to drive a manual car in the future. Whilst this is currently a stumbling block for several learners, you won’t be able to purchase any new manual cars in the future due to the rise of electric vehicles.”

Should you buy a petrol, diesel or electric car?

“Having spoken to several learners, most have little money to spend on their first car. The price of a first car is often lower than most initially want to spend, especially when you also have to consider purchasing insurance.

“For many learners, their first car will come from the second-hand market, which is flooded with petrol and diesel cars. Due to this, it is both easier and cheaper to purchase a petrol or diesel car as a first car.

“Purchasing a manual or automatic car that comes in petrol or diesel is a massive advantage for new drivers as they can get a car that suits their needs and budget.

“I believe that if you can, you should get an electric car. However, for new learners, the best way forward is to purchase a car that you can afford and build up your no-claims bonus so that when it comes to purchasing your next car, you will have more money saved up and cheaper car insurance. Once you’ve passed, the most important thing is to continue driving and maintaining the skills you learned in your lessons.”

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