Is it cheaper to drive an automatic car?

Published: May 23, 2022

The popularity of automatic cars is on the rise! Search volume for automatic cars on finance has grown rapidly in the past few years and more people are choosing to learn to drive in an automatic car. With this in mind, is now the time that you invest in an automatic car too? There are so many benefits to owning and driving an automatic car too - they can promote a smoother drive and can be more reliable than manual cars. If you’re wanting to keep your costs low, you may be wondering if owning and running an automatic car can be cheaper, our guide below explores your options. 

How do automatic cars work?

Automatic cars change gear for you automatically – hence the name! Unlike manual cars, they don’t have a traditional gearbox for you to change gears and instead have a console that contains 4 gears, Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. To operate the car, you will first put the car in Drive and then the vehicle will automatically move through the gears for you based on your speed. Automatic cars don’t have a traditional handbrake either and usually have an automatic, electronic one instead. 

Are automatic cars better to drive?

Many drivers choose an automatic car because they require less effort. You don’t need to change gears and the car does it for you. This can promote a smoother drive and allow the driver to fully concentrate on the road. Stalling your car will also be a thing of the past and there’s no more stop-starting in busy traffic. Many people choose to learn to drive an automatic car as it can be easier. However, having an automatic license means you can only drive automatic cars whereas a manual license means you can legally drive both. 

Is it cheaper to insure an automatic car?

If you’re looking to get an automatic car, you may want to consider the cost of insuring one first. Insurance premiums for automatic cars aren’t necessarily sky-high but they can be more expensive to insure than manual cars. This is due to the cost of replacing an automatic gearbox can be higher and also increased claim costs. Car insurance costs tend to be high for first time or young drivers so they can be even higher when it comes to getting insurance for an automatic car. 

Are automatic cars more fuel-efficient?

Many people are surprised to learn that automatic cars can be better on fuel economy than manual rivals. When they first came onto the market, automatic cars used around 10% more fuel than manual cars but nowadays this is not the case. Thanks to advancements in the motor industry, there is often now little to choose between when it comes to fuel economy. 

Does it cost more to buy an automatic car?

Automatic cars do tend to be more expensive to buy than manual alternatives. If you’re on a tight budget, a manual car may be the cheaper option for you, but it can be worth exploring different makes and models. Some automatic car drivers can argue that the running and fuel costs of automatic cars could be lower so you may benefit in the long run though. There are many finance deals available too to help ease the cost and you could check how much you could borrow through a free car finance calculator before you commit to getting an automatic car. 

Is it better to buy a manual or automatic car? 

Whether you buy an automatic car or not really comes down to personal preference. If you want a hassle-free, easy ride then an automatic car could be perfect for you. However, they can be more expensive to buy so if you’re on a budget or getting your first car, a manual could work out cheaper. Some drivers don’t like the simplicity of automatic cars and prefer to be in more control of the vehicle too. However, no need to change gears means you can fully concentrate on the road in front of you too.