Cars of the world


Macon, GA
Mclaren 720S
I am curious, why is it that a lot of people in england do not drive automatics? I mean I think it's better to know how to drive manual but whats the reason for the cultural difference in America and Europe?
I'm not a pilot but to use an anology it's like flying a fun jet in autopilot mode as oppose to physically flying it yourself. Going on a track just breaking and putting the foot down is less fun (and imo skillful) than when you drive a manual with the thrill of changing gears, the force/push as you do so,sound and all. Adds to the experience, when you're much odler perhaps not so much but for myself at least as a fairly young enthuisiast. Lot of fun, Automatic feels like an autopilot easy mode (to me personally).
Its also because of traffic regulations in Europe, the higher cost of petrol (until recently automatics were less efficient than manuals, especially with smaller engine cars) and "sunk costs".

Unlike USA if you take your driving test in an automatic car "code 78" is put on your licence - you can only drive automatic cars until you either take another driving test or (in France and Germany) a few hours of extra lessons (in those countries driving schools are more directly regulated by the Government).

Because of this, and younger people having less money for a first car, until recently it was more common to learn in a manual car and drive one for their first few cars (at least until knees start objecting to dealing with the clutch, and what is fun on a trackday becomes less so in busy traffic and with the abundance of roundabouts in many European countries!)

The situation is changing in last few years, especially with the rise in traffic levels - particularly in city areas, more younger people are learning in and driving automatics. Many may not be "car enthusiasts" as such and just want their licence quicker and to be able to get to places (although some are, and for them dual clutch (DSG) 'boxes are increasingly popular)

Older people who are already used to driving automatics (even if they learned in a manual) are also feeding the second hand market by upgrading to EV's and selling their old cars.

Incidentally Switzerland removed the distinction between licence categories recently (so it is same as USA), but one reason was for some years automatics had become more popular than manuals!
The roads are also much shorter, narrower and wider, and there is a lot of gear changing required. The early automatics were terrible so are better suited to countries with very long wide roads where most people cruise around.

Automatics have come a long way and the new paddle shift setups are in my opinion far superior to a manual, allowing the best of both worlds.

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