Automatic vs Manual vs CVT Car: Which One Should You Choose?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 01/10/2021

When it comes to the type of car you want, there are so many choices that you need not worry about not having enough options. Each car comes with features unique to the model and brand, giving you an ample choice in selection.

For years, India’s roads have been full of manual cars, and a lot of newer car models feature automatic transmission. Thus, the choice between a manual vs automatic car becomes yet another deciding factor while choosing a car. And apart from these choices, you can also choose a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) car.

And no matter which type of car you choose, it is important that you have a car insurance policy that can help you cover accidental damages caused to it.

So, to understand what transmission should choose, let’s look into what these terms mean.

Understanding Manual, Automatic and CVT Transmission

The transmission of a car is the gearbox that helps channel the power produced from the engine to the wheels. With different gearboxes in different types of cars, the process for changing or shifting the gears also varies. Most of the cars you see on the roads now are manual, automatic or CVT cars.

What is Manual Transmission?

In a manual car, you need to control the transmission or the gearbox and operate the clutch pedal, gear lever, and acceleration pedal for the engine’s power to reach the gearbox and, subsequently, the wheels. As you already know, manual cars are quite common on Indian roads and most of the cars you may have seen are essentially with manual transmission.

What is Automatic Transmission?

In an automatic car, you do not have to manually change the gears. The mechanism of the gearbox is such that the car will change the gears automatically. Since these cars are easier to use, of late, you may have seen quite a few automatic cars on the road in India.

What is CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission?

In a CVT car, the gearbox comprises a single gear that makes use of a belt or pulley to change variable speeds. A lot of hybrid cars in India have a CVT gearbox as it is known to improve the car’s mileage because of its mechanism. Most car manufacturers of traditional manual cars are now coming up with models and variants that have a CVT gearbox.

But to know which transmission is well-suited for your use and to get a better look at the features, let’s take a look at their differences.

Differences Between Manual vs Automatic Car vs CVT

Parameters Automatic Car Manual Car CVT Car
Pricing Cars with automatic transmissions are expensive. Since most cars have a manual transmission, such cars are affordable. CVT cars are moderately priced and can be quite expensive or affordable, depending on other factors as well.
Comfort of Driving Such cars are easier to drive as you don’t have to focus on shifting gears. Driving a manual car is an effort as you need enough practice with learning to shift gears. CVT cars are easier to drive than manual cars because of the variable transmission.
Mileage Automatic cars are not popular for their mileage as it is considered to be lower than manual cars. The impressive mileage of manual cars can be one of the deciding factors for their purchase. The mileage of a CVT car is not particularly high but can offer better mileage than an automatic.
Maintenance Cost The cost of maintaining an automatic car is higher than a manual car. The maintenance of a manual car is not expensive. The maintenance cost of a CVT car is higher than a manual car.
Acceleration TDue to the ease of using an automatic, such cars are great in stop-and-go traffic. The performance of a manual car is one of its defining features, though it may not be suitable for keeping up with the traffic. Much like an automatic car, a CVT car also offers smooth gear shifting, which makes it a good option if you have to face stop-and-go traffic.
Number of Gears There are six to eight gears in an automatic car. Manual cars have five to six gears along with one reverse gear. CVT cars have a single gear with several gear ratios.

Automatic vs Manual Cars: Pros and Cons

After manual cars, it is automatic cars that are steadily beginning to catch up with the Indian market. That leads to you and a lot of other customers making a choice between manual vs automatic cars.

One of the disadvantages of cars with a manual transmission is that physical gear shifting needs to be learned well for efficient driving on busy roads. Without that, you will either be wasting a lot of fuel or worse, have concentration issues if you are a new driver. This is where an automatic car gets the upper hand; here, instead of shifting gears, you can focus better on the roads and the traffic situation.

However, once you master driving a manual car, you can easily control the gears, and consequently, get better fuel economy from your car. With an automatic, the fuel consumption is more as compared to that of a manual car due to the automatic change in gears.

Hence, if you are going on a long drive out of the city, a manual car can be a better option than an automatic. But within city limits, cruising through the traffic in an automatic is much less tiresome than having to frequently shift gears at every signal.

Getting four wheeler insurance online

Irrespective of the car’s transmission, the insurance of any car in India is a mandate by law. Fortunately, getting your comprehensive car insurance online can be really easy with Tata AIG. With the help of our car insurance premium calculator, you can simply get a quick quote for your car insurance and choose a suitable one that protects your car well. Be it a manual car, an automatic one or a CVT car, you can get suitable coverage as per your requirements. As you know, automatic cars can come with expensive maintenance, and so, a car insurance policy can help you with such expenses in case of accidental damage.


The choice of a car based on its transmission can be quite confusing; however, with the variety of car models and variants available these days, it is easy to get a car as per your preference. Just like you should never buy your car insurance policy without comparing it with other plans, be sure to compare all the pros and cons of automatic, CVT and manual cars before you decide on one!

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