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Should you learn to drive with a manual or an automatic car?

It’s not new that an increasing number of people are choosing to take their driver’s license with an automatic car. The used-car market is consisting of more and more automatic cars. 

Norway is a country that seems to have particularly adopted the newer technology, and about half of the cars that are being sold these days use automatic transmission. Driving schools are also seeing the changes that are taking place, and have adapted by offering automatic cars and driving licenses. The question is, should you learn to drive with a manual or an automatic car?

There used to be only one choice

In the past, we didn’t talk about automatic or manual cars. Everyone took their driver’s license with a manual transmission and had to learn how to use it. Automatic cars were also plainly less available, something that has changed during the last decade. 

As mentioned above, Norway is one of the countries with the most automatic cars, something which can be explained by the fact that more than half of new cars that are being sold are either electrical or hybrids, which only come with an automatic transmission. 

We are no longer restricted to only one choice. This both shows in the marketplace and gives us more freedom. 

As to the theoretical exam, manual or automatic makes no difference

When it comes to the theoretical exam that one has to pass in order to gain their driver’s license, learning to drive with a manual or an automatic car appears to make no difference.

Theoretical exams for driving licenses seem to focus more on traffic rules than they do on manual or automatic specific questions. Several Norwegian companies offer demo questions to the theoretical exam that closely resemble what they will be asked on the nationally controlled exam, so that they may be better prepared to pass it. On their website, bestått.no shares a demo called teoriprøven where they include 35 of these types of questions, and none or very few of them seem to address manual or automatic cars directly. In this way, learning to drive with one of the aforementioned methods seems to make no difference if we consider the theoretical exam. 

Driving schools are positive to the developments that are happening

To give a certain stance to the question of this article, we can say that most driving schools are positive to the development in the direction of more automatic cars. Several of them actually recommend that driving students take their license with an automatic car if this is their only practice option at home. It doesn’t make sense for these people to learn how to drive a manual car, as they would need to pay for more driving lessons since they can’t practice with it at home (because they don’t have it). 

Students learn to drive more quickly with automatic cars, which is why most driving schools believe it’s safer that they take that kind of license, so that they may focus better on what’s happening on the road.

Things to consider when deciding how you should learn to drive

  • Are you able to practice drive with a manual or an automatic car at home, or both? 
  • Which type of car do you consider using in the future?
  • What does your gut tell you that you should do?