Manual cars have ‘many benefits’ over automatic vehicles

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As the season for New Year’s resolutions begins, many will be planning on learning how to drive in 2023. With that in mind, Express.co.uk spoke to Tom Hixon, the Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, to find out if it’s better to learn in a manual or an automatic vehicle.

Mr Hixon said: “Learning to drive a manual car can be a practical choice with many benefits.

“Firstly, you have more control over a manual vehicle as you are able to choose which gear you are driving in.

“This can help in different weather conditions if you need more grip on the road.

“However, it could be argued that this is more dangerous than driving an automatic as you have to take your hand off the wheel to change gears.

“Manual cars can also get up to speed faster than automatic cars as the manual gearbox can help you accelerate at a faster pace.”

Mr Hixon added: “Despite the benefits of manual vehicles, it can be argued that learning to drive an automatic vehicle is easier – you don’t need to master the gear changes and it’s also a lot harder to stall an automatic vehicle, making manoeuvres such as hill starts a lot easier.

“However, it should be noted that if you pass your test in an automatic vehicle, you are only licensed to drive automatic cars, whereas if you pass in a manual, you can drive either manual or automatic vehicles with your driving licence.

“Therefore you should consider the future implications of only being able to drive an automatic vehicle.

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“However, with the growing popularity of EVs, it could be assumed that the future of driving is moving towards automatic vehicles, with the move away from fuel-powered vehicles being encouraged by the UK Government.

“The conflict we, unfortunately, see here is that the young driver used-car market is currently dominated by manual vehicles, especially with the high prices of EVs, therefore you have to consider the financial practicality of purchasing an EV or automatic car as a first car.”

When it comes to EVs, many motoring experts are now claiming that the introduction of EV tax from 2025 will lessen their appeal.

Speaking about the introduction of EV tax, Dorry Potter of National Scrap Car told Express.co.uk: “An EV road tax is being introduced to make the UK’s motoring tax ‘fairer’ with half of all new cars sold due to be fully electric by 2025.

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“The change means those buying a new zero-emission car on or after April 1, 2025, will have to pay the lowest first-year rate of VED at £10 a year.

“After that, EVs will be charged the same as petrol and diesel vehicles with a standard rate of £165 per year.”

However, the expert warned that the upfront cost of EVs is “already a real issue and is the main barrier for most people when it comes to swapping to an EV”.

Ms Potter added: “Along with major issues with charging infrastructure across the UK, and now with the additional cost of taxing these vehicles too, the appeal of switching to electric will be lessened for the general public- who are currently in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

“The introduction of increased running costs, incentives being scrapped, as well as high energy bills, are starting to dull the advantages of going electric, making EVs less appealing to many.

“However, if a motorist is considering the longevity of their purchase and is considering buying new, then an EV would still be a good option due to the petrol and diesel ban in 2030, which is only just over seven years away, more than the average lifespan of a new car.

“If a driver is thinking about buying a new EV, paying road tax the same as you would on your old petrol or diesel vehicle will make little to no difference to those in the consideration stage of purchasing.

“There are also other areas that EV owners will save on including fuel and insurance.”

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