Are Automatic Cars Boring?

Are Automatic Cars Boring?

It’s no surprise that automatic cars are becoming more popular. This comes partly due to improvements in technology and the fact that they’re so much easier to drive. But are automatic cars boring to drive? Whether or not you consider automatic cars boring to drive really comes down to:

  • What for you makes driving ‘exciting’
  • Where you most frequently drive
  • The type of car you drive

What for You Makes Driving Exciting

Drivers that prefer manual over automatic do so because driving one is more involving. Operating the clutch pedal and selecting each and every gear gives the driver a more physical connection to their car and allows them to engage with the vehicle on a level of greater control compared to that of an automatic.

But of course, what might be involving for one driver is utterly tedious to another. Some drivers do enjoy driving, but without all the hassle of changing gears.

Where You Most Frequently Drive

Most of us use our cars for commuting to work and carrying out errands such as taking the kids to school and doing the shopping. Much of this often involves waiting in traffic queues and endlessly stopping and moving off. Unless you enjoy relentlessly operating the clutch pedal and changing gear, then automatic cars are by far the best option here.

However, if your typical commute has open roads that are a little more involving, it’s understandable that a driver may prefer a car with manual transmission. Though that can depend to some extent on the type of car you drive.

The Type of Car You Drive

The type of car you drive is probably the most important factor in determining whether it’s boring or not. That goes for manual cars, but probably more so for automatics due to the transmission technology being so variable. Let’s put the type of car you drive into three categories:

  • A to B car
  • Luxury / sports car
  • High performance sports car

A to B Cars

The most common type of car; the A to B car. Built with budget and fuel economy in mind and come in various sizes from tiny hatchbacks to huge people carriers.

Though there’s always exceptions, these type of cars aren’t usually designed and built for an exciting drive in mind. Add to the fact that they’re primarily used as a commute or errand car (lot’s of stopping and starting), it’s here where we see a significant rise in the popularity of automatics.

Even the most basic automatic gearbox has improved significantly over the years. Quality does vary to quite a degree, but in general, budget automatic cars are smooth, reasonably responsive and offer fuel consumption that is comparable, or even betters their manual counterparts.

Luxury / Sports Cars

Luxury cars and sports cars don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but one thing they do have in common is driveability. Whether it’s the quality of drive that comes with a luxury car or the thrill of a sports car, it’s understandable why many prefer manual transmission. A manual gearbox allows the driver to interact with their vehicle on a level that is impossible to achieve with a automatic gearbox.

That being said, with modern, high spec automatic transmissions being so smooth and fast, the manual transmission is losing popularity. Add to that, the death of the manual transmission is brought to an even speedier conclusion due to the rise of the electric car.

High Performance Sports Cars

As always, opinions will vary, but when it comes to high performance sports cars, or ‘supercars’, a manual transmission really has little place, other than for the die-hard stick-shift fan.

These cars are all about performance and speed and no matter how fast you can manually change gear, you’ll never do it as quickly as a high spec dual clutch transmission (DCT).

DCT’s are not only great for performance, but as there’s no interruption in the power flow from the engine, they offer better fuel economy too. DCT’s are becoming increasingly popular on mid-range vehicles.

Cars with dual clutch transmissions have a semi-automatic option and many utilise gear shift paddles on the steering column. These are (arguably) great fun to use, particularly on performance vehicles.

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