Is Auto Transmission Better than Manual Transmission Gears for Mileage?

“2008 Nissan Altima shift console” by Jim B L is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Automobiles have changed the way we transport in over the last 100 years or so. Within a century, automobiles have gone through a lot of changes in terms of technology and the improvement in transmissions has been a common theme. Initially, there were only 3-speed transmissions that were produced manually. The market for automobiles has now grown, and houses with not one but numerous cars are common. One for the mother, son, father, etc. Unfortunately, the transmission to choose has led to some form of uncertainty. Nothing beats automatic transmission for convenience. Less moving muscles suggest, after all, lower tiredness rates on the road. The hardcore enthusiast still prefers a manual. The whole auto vs manual transmission is an old debate, so which one is better? But it’s not so easy to decide this, as there is more than meets the eye here. The debate regarding the manual vs automatic confuses many, and many still hesitate to buy an automatic, thinking that it will be a white elephant to own.

Talking about an automatic transmission, the gains are overwhelming. You can also see that it is also easy for students or new drivers. It’s easy and demands less concentration, owing to having only two pedals to deal with. A large variety of AMT, double-clutch transmission, CVT, iMT, and torque converters are now available, which is decreasing the gap between manuals regarding drivability and feel. The technology has become so advanced that now, automatic transmissions are more fuel-efficient in some cases. The upper market and the sports cars market have all ditched the manual transmission because the automatic has made a huge gain in the high-performance machines. You should not be surprised if someone tells you that there is no manual option available in cars over 20 lakh INR price range in India now. With better electronic management, the automatics offer way superior drivability over a manual transmission, and it performs better in the mountain regions too. Turbo petrol and diesel engines have become great pairs with this transmission as they can virtually conceal the turbo lag.

But all is not rosy with the automatics, they have higher maintenance than their manual counterparts, and they are also hard on brakes, as they do not offer much engine braking. They have transmission fluid in them that needs to be replaced, and in the case of dual-clutch or DSG transmission, the replacement of the clutch alone can run into the 5 digit figure. The AMT or the automated transmission are also known to be jerky in a heavy traffic situation. But these negatives should not be a deal-breaker for you, or the fact that they consume extra fuel. The gains, as compared to cons, are so much that they cannot be ignored at all. Manual enthusiasts can say all day long that automatics cannot give that pure control, but ask any owner of a BMW with a ZF transmission, and he will blatantly deny these facts. Automatics have become more intuitive and involved with the driver, with aids such as paddle shifters. In the end, both manual and automatics have their advantages and disadvantages and there is no straight jacket answer for the auto vs manual transmission debate. The decision ultimately boils down to the user’s preference as to what he wants.