The manufacturing and use of vehicles with automatic transmission systems are on the increase in both developed and developing countries. However, vehicle owners are faced with the challenge of the type of vehicle to purchase as far as transmission type is concerned. The question is if you are presented with the option of choosing between a vehicle with a manual and automatic transmission system, which one would you get? Which transmission car is better, suitable for my needs or more efficient? Is it cost-efficient? Etc. These are the most predominant and common question in every potential car buyer’s mind. Factually, the main issues that arise among car buyers are about fuel consumption and initial cost between automatic and manual transmission car.

See what makes different car users prefer automatic or manual cars over one another?

Just like the ‘clutch pedal’ (which seems tiring to persons who drive manual cars for the first time) plays an important role in manual transmission, which is absent in automatic transmission. I believe this article will help answer many questions that arises for both transmission, about the comfort level in automatic and manual transmission car, the maintenance & initial cost of automatic and manual transmission cars and the advantages and disadvantages of both the automatic and manual transmission car mainly from the perspective of car buyers in Africa or Nigeria to be more specific.

Is automatic the latest trend in the automobile era?

While the manual is the skill. In this vast automated age, the love most car enthusiasts have for automatic transmission car has increased in large numbers. More car buyers are attracted to automatic transmission cars. But I can say ‘it hasn’t decreased the sale of manual transmission cars all around the world”; I can prove that if you watch movies like ‘need for speed’, ‘the fast & the furious’, ‘overdrive’ and ‘gone in 60 seconds”. We all know those car manufacturing companies will continue to produce both automatic and manual transmission car for persons with divers’ preferential which still manifest in choices cars.

So, What Is Transmission In Cars?

A transmission basically transfers the power from a car’s engine to drive shaft and the wheels. The gears present inside the transmission change the drive wheel speed and torque in relation to the engine speed and torque (pulling the power), lower gear ratios help the engine to build up enough of power so that the car can easily accelerate from a halt. The transmission is a device that is connected to the back of the engine and sends the power from the engine to the drive wheels.

Job Of The Transmission System

An automobile engine runs at its best at a certain RPM (Revolutions per Minute) range and it is the job of the transmission system is to make sure that the power is delivered to the wheels while keeping the engine within that range. It does this through various gear combinations. In first gear, the engine turns much faster in relation to the drive wheels, while in high gear the engine is loafing even though the car may be going in excess of 70 MPH.

In addition to the various forward gears, a transmission also has a neutral position which disconnects the engine from the drive wheels, and reverse, which causes the drive wheels to turn in the opposite direction allowing you to back up. Finally, there is the Park position.

Difference between Automatic and Manual Transmission Car

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission system, otherwise known as a “stick shift” or “standard transmission,” was the first type of transmission available in vehicles. This system relies on the driver to disengage, change, and re-engages the transmission and takes more work to operate.

Manual Transmission enables the driver to shift the gears manually as per the driving requirements and a manual clutch is pressed while shifting the gear from one to another, which uses a solid clutch plate. There is no doubt that a Manual adds the fun in driving due to the changing of gears but as long as you are driving on a clean empty stretch, that’s where tactical driving skill is attached. Driving in a city like Lagos where there exist huge traffic jams, A Manual gearbox could prove to be tiresome to shift in every next moment of pacing.

  1. Swift: if you are new to driving, you may find manual gearbox to be messy and confusing to operate but it’s all about interest and doesn’t take much time to get familiar with its functioning once you’ve mastered the shifting of gears correctly.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: Manual makes an ideal choice over an Automatic due to its less consumption of fuel by which your car runs on. However, nowadays, with the rapid increase in technology, the gap of fuel efficiency is being gradually filled between manual and automatic gearbox.
  3. Maintenance: Manual Transmission cars are much cheaper than their counterparts having an automatic gearbox, so is their maintenance. The vehicles engaged with a Manual Gearbox prove to be much lighter on your pocket when it comes to maintenance or purchase simply because of their not-so complex working.
ProfessionalFirst-time users
Adds Fun to drive
Low cost on Maintenance
Not User-Friendly
Lacks Smoothness to Drive
Require Frequent Movement of Hand

Fig 1: Reactions between two Manual transmission cars users.

Below is a list of 12 cars fitted with a Manual Gearbox you can buy in 2019:

  • 2019 Mazda MX-5 – 5-speed manual
  • 2019 Subaru – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – 7-speed manual
  • 2019 Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 BMW M3 – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Volkswagen Golf R – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Subaru WRX STI – 6-speed manual
  • 2019 Mini John Cooper Works 2-Door – 6-speed manual

Clutch – Driving Mechanism For Manual Transmission Vehicles

On the side of the manual transmission vehicles, we have the ‘clutch’ which is a driving mechanism, pedal or lever that engages or disengages a rotating shaft. In all vehicles using a manual transmission, a coupling device is used to separate the engine and transmission when necessary. This is because an internal-combustion engine must continue to run when in use, although a few modern cars with automatic transmissions shut off the engine at a stoplight.

The clutch accomplishes this in manual transmissions. Without it, the engine and tires would at all times be inextricably linked, and any time the vehicle stopped the engine would stall. Without the clutch, changing gears would be very difficult, even with the vehicle moving already: deselecting a gear while the transmission is under load requires considerable force (and risks significant damage). As well, selecting a gear requires the revolution speed of the engine to be held at a very precise value which depends on the vehicle speed and desired gear – the speeds inside the transmission have to match.

In a car the clutch is usually operated by a pedal which serves this purposes:

  • When the clutch pedal is fully depressed, the clutch is fully disengaged, and no torque is transferred from the engine to the transmission (and by extension to the drive wheels). In this uncoupled state, it is possible to select gears or to stop the car without stopping the engine.
  • Between these extremes of engagement and disengagement, the clutch slips to varying degrees. When slipping it still transmits torque despite the difference in speed between the engine crankshaft and the transmission input.
  • When the clutch pedal is fully released, the clutch is fully engaged and all of the engine’s torque is transferred. In this coupled state, the clutch does not slip but rather acts as rigid coupling to transmit power to the gearbox.
  • Because this torque is transmitted by means of friction rather than direct mechanical contact, considerable power is wasted as heat (which is dissipated by the clutch). Properly applied, slip allows the vehicle to be started from a standstill, and when it is already moving, allows the engine rotation to gradually adjust to a newly selected gear ratio.

How To Use The Clutch Efficiently

Learning to use the clutch efficiently requires the development of muscle memory and a level of coordination. The clutch is typically disengaged by a thrust bearing that makes contact with pressure petals on the clutch ring plate and pushes them inward to release the clutch pad friction. Normally the bearing remains retracted away from the petals and does not spin. However, the bearing can be “burned out” and damaged by using the clutch pedal as a footrest, which causes the bearing to spin continuously from touching the clutch plates.


This manual transmission system was modified and replaced by the automatic system where gear change automatically executed as the vehicle moves. The automatic transmission system is made to achieve an improvement in vehicle safety, comfort, reliability and driving performance together with the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions in modern vehicles.

How Automatic Transmission System Works – Briefly

The automatic transmission works exactly opposite to manual transmission. Yes, as it says “Automatic”, this transmission works independently without frequent interruption, resulting in the convenience of the driver. The Automatic Transmission performs the job automatically depending upon the speed and here a hydraulic torque converter takes the place of clutch plate mechanism saving you from the hassle of pressing a clutch. The Automatic Gearbox has mostly the pre-defined gear ratios, which are as follows:

Park (P)
Reverse (R)
Neutral (N)
Drive (D)

  1. Easiness: Automatic Gearbox is one of the easiest to operate and user-friendly but a first-timer would at least require having basic knowledge (such as pre-defined ratios mentioned above) before trying to lay hands on it.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: In this fuel-conscious world, Automatic Gearbox won’t be your best friend, because of their complex mechanism, Automatic Transmissions consume more fuel than the Manual counterparts and the cars available with auto boxes are expensive too. Perhaps, this is the reason why they are not yet easily accepted or popular on the lower car segment these days.
  3. Maintenance: Like the buying cost of Automatic cars, these transmissions are not so light to maintain, quite simply because of the mechanism which goes down into them to work. On the concluding part, An Automatic Gearbox is definitely friendly with the user but with the wallet? Certainly not.
Professionals First-time users
Offer Convenience
Easy to Operate
Not-so-wallet Friendly
Helps the car drink more
It has restricted gear ratios

Fig 1: Reactions between two Automatic transmission cars users.

Though there is not so wide range of automatic cars available in the small segment lately, the popularity of Automatic Transmission cars has started increasing among the public, therefore few of the manufacturers are considering to introduce auto-box cars on our land. And here are few of them:

  • BMW 3 Series
  • Skoda Kodiaq
  • Mercedes A-Class
  • Ford Focus
  • Hyundai ito
  • Mazda 3
  • Jaguar XE
  • Honda CR-V
  • Porsche Macan
  • Lexus RX Series

Comparison Between Manual And Automatic Vehicle Transmission

Advancement in technologies has brought about changes and modifications in vehicle systems. One such system is the change from the conventional manual transmission to the automatic system. An individual choice to purchase any vehicle with such a system depends on certain factors. These factors can be seen as; initial cost, fuel economy, preventive maintenance cost, breakdown maintenance cost, sporty thrill, comfort & confidence, and driving skill.