Why do people hate Automatic Cars? Explained

If you have found this article, you might be thinking to yourself: why is there so much hatred for automatic cars?

From a logical standpoint, they seem like an obvious improvement on manual transmissions. 

They’re easier to use. They’re robust. Your leg won’t ache from the constant clutch operation. They can’t be broken by human error (within reason).

With an automatic car, you can wave goodbye to the possibility of awkwardly stalling in the middle of a busy junction and having to deal with some serious embarrassment. 

So what is it about automatic transmissions that get the car community all riled up? Let’s explore.

Why do people hate automatic transmission cars?

It mostly comes down to personal preference and old-school thinking. Some believe that the action of changing gears should always be taken by the driver to ensure maximum control of the vehicle and its speed.

Arguably, there’s nothing really wrong with modern automatics – it’s just that some people will always prefer a manual driving experience.

What are the disadvantages of automatic cars?

If you ask a car enthusiast why they dislike automatic transmissions, you might hear a few of these reasons come up:

Less control

In a manual, you control everything to do with your speed.

You can choose when to downshift for some extra oomph, or to nail that perfect launch for a quick start off the line. 

In an automatic car, all of this is executed for you.

An automatic gearbox will typically find the most fuel-efficient and economic way of getting you moving by selecting the appropriate gear for your speed and terrain.

This lack of control can frustrate drivers who are used to having full control over the drivetrain.

Semi-automatic cars will usually have ‘flappy paddles’ positioned on the steering wheel to return some of that gearbox control to the driver.

These paddles can be used to shift up and down in gears as the driver sees fit, overriding the automatic gearbox.

Still, nothing can beat that satisfaction of sliding the gear stick into gear and speeding off down an open road.


As automatic and semi-automatic cars are seen as being technologically superior to manual cars, they usually roll in at a higher price point.

It’s worth noting that they have become more affordable in recent years as their popularity rises across the world.

Believe it or not, automatic transmissions were once thought of as being exclusive only to luxury cars.

As automatic technology became more understood and accepted, prices have since fallen.

Expensive gearbox repairs

When something goes wrong with an automatic gearbox, and the car is outside of warranty, the repair costs can be truly eye-watering.

Because automatic transmissions are so much more technical and reliant on various auxiliary systems, there can be no end to things going wrong.

Further to this, it might require a specialist mechanic or an expert garage to diagnose and fix your issue. 

Manual gearboxes have been tried and tested through decades of use.

They’re universally understood by mechanics and it’s relatively straightforward to find an issue and fix it.

Why do people drive manual in the UK & Automatic in the US?

The majority of drivers in the UK are still driving manual cars.

This is completely different to the US, where the majority of drivers are using automatic vehicles to get around.

One reasonable explanation for this disparity is the sheer size of America.

If you have been to America, you’ll know that there are no shortage of long, sprawling roads connecting states and cities.

When travelling (on business or for pleasure), Americans usually have to cover more ground than us Brits.

When you’re covering vast amounts of distance, operating a clutch and manual gearbox can quickly become tiring.

Likewise, if most of your driving takes place in urban areas, constantly switching gears with a manual gearbox can cause accelerated harm to your car.

Manual cars that are regularly stuck in traffic and long urban commutes can expect clutches and gearbox parts to wear out quicker from excessive usage.

Is it better to drive a manual or automatic car?

This depends on a few different factors:

  • How often you drive
  • Where you usually drive (urban or rural)
  • Which you prefer!

The biggest advantage of an automatic transmission is how much easier it is to drive.

You don’t have to worry about shifting gears and operating the clutch.

If you’re living in an urban environment, like a city, an automatic is a good choice: especially if you’re regularly in stop-and-go traffic.

If you like to get fully immersed in the driving process, consider purchasing a manual car.

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of changing gear and choosing exactly how your car operates.

In terms of raw speed and performance, manual cars are considered to be faster than automatic cars.

If you can, try out both a manual and automatic car separately before making a purchase decision.

We can try and convince you to go one way or the other, but it all depends on which one you prefer when you’re in the driving seat.

Final thoughts

If you fancy yourself a bit of a car enthusiast, then a manual vehicle could be your best bet.

You have full control over your driving experience and can learn more about the inner workings of a gearbox in a hands-on way.

It’s something that is simply not possible with automatic cars.

Automatic cars are great if you’re more interested in getting from point A to point B in a hassle-free fashion.

They’re also a good choice for people who don’t want to worry about how they shift gears, or who aren’t interested in learning how to drive a manual.

Hey, maybe it’s even time to give automatics a second chance.

If you’re a die-hard manual lover who hasn’t driven a modern automatic, give it a go. Let us know how you get on below!

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