Transmission is something many people overlook when searching for a new or second-hand car.Unlike the US or Australia, the majority of cars in Ireland are manual, or as the Americans might say ‘stick-shift’, and therefore many car buyers overlook the automatic, out of habit.However, 10% of the new and used cars available to buy on Carlot.ie are automatic, so there is plenty of choice there for both fans of automatic cars and those who have yet to be converted.The range of automatic cars for sale is wide and isn’t confined to what one would regard as a car suited to an inexperienced or learner driver. Top of the range Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW models make up the new automatic cars for sale through dealers advertising on Carlot.ie.It’s hard to say where Ireland’s dedication to and love of the manual transmission stems from.
There are many opinions as to the pros and cons of a manual car versus an automatic car, which should be considered before buying a car. How real or perceived these actually are can really only be ironed out in an individual’s mind following a test drive.The basic differences are simple. In a manual car there are three pedals, these are, from left to right: clutch, brake, accelerator. To change gears (first gear through fifth or sixth), the driver must press on the clutch, while taking their foot of the accelerator, put their hand on the gear stick and move it to the desired gear. That’s a lot to do at the one time for someone moving to Ireland from a foreign country where automatic cars are the norm. A car with automatic transmission has just two pedals. From left to right they are simply the brake and accelerator. An automatic car doesn’t have a gear shift. The ‘gear stick’ is in the same place as a manual and has four or five options. The main four are P (Park), R (Reverse), N (Neutral) and D (Drive). Drivers simply move this to the desired setting depending on what they’re doing.One of the benefits of a manual transmission is that it gives better control of the car by moving through the gears according to the road, traffic and weather conditions. It’s no surprise with Ireland’s miles of winding country roads that the manual transmission is favoured here.However, Ireland also has miles of excellent motorway and dual carriageways some of which turn into car parks at peak hour. One of the things that attracts people to buy an automatic is not having to change gear so much on long commutes. They are also beneficial to older or nervous drivers or drivers with a disability. Another advantage is that not having to clutch and change gear simultaneously means the driver can devote their concentration resources to steering and watching the road. While an automatic may seem like the perfect car for a learner driver, it should be noted that in Ireland if you do your driving test in an automatic and pass, your full licence only covers you for driving an automatic and not a manual transmission car. If you’re thinking of buying a new or second-hand car, test drive an automatic, it could be the driving experience you’ve been seeking.