In the US around 90% of all vehicles sold yearly are supplied with automatic transmission. In Europe, on the contrary, most vehicles have manual transmission as standard. But when you decide to learn driving for the first time the question is huge: what to choose manual or automatic transmission for the first kilometers on your odometer.
Most vehicles supplied with manual transmission have from five to seven speeds to change between.
In general there is a tendency that manual gearbox can offer better fuel efficiency than automatic transmission vehicles, of course under condition that you know how to drive it. However, according to automotive experts today CVT gearboxes as well as modern automatic ones may offer even better efficiency than modern manual transmissions.
In terms of learning to drive, most countries obligated driving courses to be processed only with manual transmission vehicles. As experts explain, manual transmission is harder to learn to drive but once you know it, it poses no problems to drive any vehicle in the world regardless of the transmission type. It happens because changing from manual to automatic or CVT transmission is easy, while vice versa change creates many difficulties.
Automatic transmission is much easier to operate regardless of your experience. Most vehicles with automatic transmission have the following positions: P (park), R (reverse), N (neutral) then several forward gears that might be called D (drive), or S (sport). Some also have semblance of manual gearbox and positions of 1, 2 and 3 speeds.
The main benefit of automatic transmissions is the possibility to focus completely on the road without any distraction of changing speeds with the clutch. This is true, that for young drivers controlling everything might be a tough thing to do, but according to driving school instructors every driver needs to go thought it in order to understand the process and learn every skill.
For further use and driving needs it is definitely much easier to drive automatic gearbox so choosing one might be a good step to make.
Apart from class manual and automatic transmission types today you can also find a mixture of both – CVT or conventional automatics. This type of gearbox basically is in-between the two main classic kinds described above. CVT is a smart manual gearbox that lets you do all the honors of switching between the speeds but will always automatically back you up in case you forget to do it.
There are also hybrid cars that have different kind of gearbox with the options of R (reverse), N (neutral), D (drive), and B (brake). If you are interested in hybrid cars, check other articles and learn about the peculiarities of these vehicles as they deserve it.
And the final word about transmission types is the reselling value. If you check free classifieds to sell your car you will see that automatic transmission vehicles tend to cost more than manual ones, while CVT gearbox will be the most expensive options of all.