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Manual vs Automatic Transmission Cars

Manual Transmission

Many drivers in today’s car market opt for automatic transmissions without hesitation and don’t consider the unique selling points of a manual transmission. The ease of use of automatic cars has made them a popular choice for car buyers in the United States, however, manual transmission cars still hold value and appeal for certain drivers who prioritize control, engagement, and driving pleasure. Whether you’re in the market for a new or used car, understanding the pros and cons of both transmission options is important to help you choose your next car at Ontario Auto Center. 


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Manual Transmission: The Classic Choice 

Manual transmission, also known as a stick shift, has been a long time favorite among car enthusiasts and purists. Here are some key advantages and disadvantages of manual transmission cars. 

Pros of Manual Transmission 

  1. Control and Fun Factor: Manual transmissions are all about engagement which many enthusiasts find enjoyable. Being able to shift your gears while you drive provides you with a level of control that an automatic just simply cannot offer. Driving a stick shift is all up to the driver, as drivers with the quickest and most precise shifts are rewarded with a smoother and more thrilling analog experience. 
  1. Lower Cost: Vehicles with manual transmissions are often cheaper to purchase and maintain. The transmission system is also less complex, which may result in lower repair costs over time. 
  1. Theft Prevention: Manual cars are less likely to be stolen compared to automatics. This is more relevant now than ever as the majority of Americans do not know how to drive manual transmission.  

Cons of Manual Transmission 

  1. Learning Curve: Manual transmission comes with a learning curve. While many drivers eventually find the process as muscle memory as they become more experienced, driving a stick shift does requires practice and coordination which may be frustrating for new drivers 
  1. Traffic Hassle: Driving a manual in heavy traffic can be tiresome. Constant stop and go traffic require constant stops and shifting into gear. This process can become a chore and may be a make-or-break for those who live in areas with heavy stop and go traffic like big cities.  
  2. Limited Availability: Fewer new cars are offered with manual transmissions these days. This can limit your choices if you prefer a stick shift if you’re looking to buy a new car. 

Automatic Transmission: The Modern Convenience 

Automatic transmissions are the norm in today’s American car market, offering a more straight-forward driving experience. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of automatic transmission cars. 

Pros of Automatic Transmission 

  1. Ease of Use: Automatics are easier to drive as there is no need to manually shift your gears. This makes driving a simpler process and is a viable benefit for those who simply see cars as a machine that gets you from point A to point B. 
  1. Convenience in Traffic: Automatics are far more convenient when it comes to dealing with traffic. Driver fatigue is reduced as they eliminate the need for constant gear changes.  
  1. Wider Availability: The majority of new cars nowadays come with automatic transmissions, or automated manuals which provide a wider selection of options.  
  1. Advanced Technology: Modern automatics come with advanced features and manual shift modes, offering a blend of modernity and control. 

Cons of Automatic Transmission 

  1. Higher Cost: Cars equipped with the automatic option generally cost more than their manual counterparts. 
  1. Complexity: Automatic transmissions are more complex than manuals. This complexity can lead to more frequent and costly repairs if components fail. 
  1. Less Driver Engagement: Many driving enthusiasts find automatics less engaging. The lack of manual gear shifts can make driving feel more passive. While many automatics nowadays offer manual shift modes, the control is not comparable to that of a manual transmission.  

Popular New Cars with a Manual Transmission 

With all the talk that the market is moving away from manuals, it must be said that several popular models still offer both automatic and manual transmission options. Here are a few notable ones that you can find at Ontario Auto Center: 

  1. Ford Mustang: The Ford Mustang remains a favorite among performance car enthusiasts, offering both manual and automatic options. Paired with the V8 engine, the manual Mustang provides drivers with a visceral driving experience. 
  1. Honda Civic: The Honda Civic is a compact car known for its sporty handling, reliability, and fuel efficiency. It is available in a manual transmission, particularly in the sportier trims like the Civic Si and FL5 generation Civic Type R. 
  1. Subaru WRX: The Subaru WRX combines performance with practicality through its sedan body style. Available in both manual and automatic, the manual transmission version is especially popular among driving enthusiasts who appreciate its sporty feel. 
  1. 2024 Nissan Z: The 2024 Nissan Z is a modern sports car that pays homage to its classic predecessors. It comes with a manual transmission option, catering to driving enthusiasts who appreciate a more hands-on experience. 


Which is Best for You? 

Deciding between a manual and an automatic transmission depends on your driving preferences and needs. Here are some factors to consider: 

  1. Driving Environment: If you often drive in heavy traffic, going with an automatic may be the more practical option. For open roads and spirited driving, a manual could offer more enjoyment. 
  1. Learning and Comfort: If you’re new to driving or prefer a more relaxed experience, an automatic is easier to handle. However, if you enjoy a challenge and the thrill of driving, a manual could be more rewarding. 
  1. Availability and Resale Value: Automatic transmissions are more widely available, and this trend is likely to continue. However, manuals can sometimes hold their value better among certain buyer groups.


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Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, choosing the right transmission is a crucial part of your car shopping journey. Located in Ontario, CA, Ontario Auto Center offers a wide range of vehicles with both manual and automatic transmissions to suit your needs. Consider your driving habits, preferences, and lifestyle when making your decision. 

If you need further assistance or want to test drive your preferred models, don’t hesitate to schedule a service or contact us today. Our team is here to help you find the perfect car that fits your needs and preferences. 

Happy driving! 

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