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Manuals versus automatics in Singapore. Which one is right up your street?

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What do our cars really say about us? Just a convenient way to get around or a statement about who we are?

The make, model, colour and transmission of a car may say volumes about its driver. The way it’s driven may also give some clues.

The transmission of a car channels the power generated by the engine, which in turn, moves the wheels. There are two choices for the type of transmission – automatic and manual and there’s fierce debate over which is better.

So what would you chose and why?

Here’s a Budget Direct Insurance guide to the pros and cons of automatics and manuals on Singapore roads.

The Automatic

In this type of car the gear is automatically selected according to the speed you are driving. It means there is no clutch and there are only two foot pedals, one is the brake, the other the accelerator. Your right leg does all the work, moving between the brake and accelerator while your left leg takes a break.


Many people find automatics easier to drive.

* Some people find they get leg ache from constantly using a clutch and may benefit from automatics. With so many traffic lights, multi storey car parks and stop start driving in Singapore an automatic takes the strain.

* You don’t have to co-ordinate the clutch pedal with the gear stick, allowing you to focus on the road. You also get to keep both hands on the wheel as its not moving a gear stick.

* It will be easier to pass your practical driving test in an automatic, but you will only have a licence to drive an automatic. But rental cars aboard tend to be more expensive if they are automatic.


* Automatics are usually more expensive to buy new and second hand.

* Some drivers talk about a slight loss of control as there can be a delay in your automatic changing gears.

* Generally, an automatic car uses more fuel because it needs the extra power to work.

* Automatic cars are also more complicated to mend and so your repair bill may be higher.

The Manual

With this type of transmission it is the driver who is selecting the gear by listening to the engine and judging what gear is appropriate to the speed. Already more to do, but some drivers like this level of control. There is a clutch pedal, as well as a brake and accelerator so both your legs and feet will be working them while, in Singapore, your left hand will be changing gears with the gear stick.


* The main reason some drivers say they prefer manual cars is the control they get. Automatic cars react according to the conditions they are under at the time. In a manual car the driver is in control and can anticipate what’s coming up and react by changing gears. It’s also common to go down a gear to get a boost of power, which you can’t do on an automatic.

* Experienced drivers could argue that once you’ve perfected a hill start, particularly from a stop position, the gears and clutch combination actually gives you more control, enabling you to play the clutch, and give a really smooth take off.

* Your budget is always a consideration and manuals are usually cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. They use less fuel and manual transmissions have been known to save drivers between 5% and 15% on their fuel costs.


* Getting the hang of timing the clutch and changing the gear can be tricky for some drivers and takes practice. It can be especially hard doing a hill start or coming up a ramp when exiting a car park for example. Automatic transmissions do this for you.

* In heavy traffic and sitting at lots of lights, constantly changing gear is tiring and can cause you to feel more frustrated. It also means one hand does have to leave the wheel which, on paper, is less safe.

* You are far more likely to stall a manual car, especially if you are an inexperienced driver – embarrassing and inconvenient when in traffic!

The verdict

Whether you prefer an automatic or a manual car will be very much a personal choice – do you prefer an easier ride or like to feel more in control of the gears?

Automatics are a popular choice in Singapore. And with electric cars that have no gearbox gaining popularity here we could well see even less demand for the good old manual.

Whatever your choice you’ll need good car insurance to protect you and your car.


Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good .
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