1. Chipl95

    Chipl95

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    Good afternoon/evening to you all,

    I have been thinking about hiring a car on a future UK visit. (Will likely need to be when I am older than 25 as I can't find a company that will let me hire a car at my age) Is it possible/expensive to hire an automatic easily or am I better off learning manual beforehand? I only know how to drive automatic, but can take lessons in a manual in Canada. My grandmother says that the UK/England have automatics and I shouldn't worry about it. But I have limited money, so I can't afford to pay a lot extra for an automatic hire. I'll learn manual if I have to.

    I think I'm eager to get driving in the UK and learn to drive on the left side of the road.
     
  2. Quoth, the Raven

    Quoth, the Raven

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    I'd learn manual if you plan to spend a lot of time in Europe. Automatic cars are freely available to buy but are a little more expensive to hire.
     
  3. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    Just had a quick look at a couple of car hire companies' web sites and they both list a few automatics, although they tend to be premium, luxury or "elite" models. Have a Google for UK automatic car hire and similar - give the companies a call and get some prices for auto and manual comparisons.

    We've tried to get an auto on holiday (Greece) but they tend to be unavailable (probably only got a couple in their fleets!) so we go manual despite driving autos here in the UK.
     
  4. the black fox

    the black fox

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    Depends how long the hire will be for ,if it’s long term I.e a couple of months plus it might be cheaper by far to buy ,autos usually go into large cars which sell cheaply here due to the running costs ,then sell for what you can get when you leave ,register it in grans name to make things easier
     
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  5. Chipl95

    Chipl95

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    I would only hire a car for a couple of days at the most if my fiance and I plan to go on a road trip. I wouldn't drive very much in Brighton and not all in London. In Brighton there's simply no need to drive and the thought of driving in London stresses me.
     
  6. LongLensPhotography

    LongLensPhotography

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    You can easily check most big name hire companies, and yes that should not be a problem at all. You really don't want to be thinking both about the side of the road and the stick. The thing will be history soon anyway.

    London is actually fine for driving if you avoid the busy times. Just watch out for the cameras - they are everywhere and many average speed.
     
  7. Chipl95

    Chipl95

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    By cameras, do you mean cameras that take a picture if you speed or run through a red light?
     
  8. Box Brownie

    Box Brownie

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    Yes, and as mentioned there are what are called "average speed cameras" plus beware of the London Congestion Charge Zone. Oh, make sure to hire a low emissions car as London as far as I recall also monitors and charges for taking the more polluting cars into the inner London zone!

    Enjoy your visit to the UK :)
     
  9. wave01

    wave01

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    Car hire is expensive whether it is a manual or auto. You will be able to hire an auto in the uk and Europe. I would hire an auto and not pay to learn a manual if it’s only for a couple of days. The uk has a lot of cameras for speeding jumping lights so be careful
     
  10. JohnM100

    JohnM100

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    Just stick to an auto as that’s what you are used to. There will be plenty of other things to concentrate on e.g. driving on the other side of the road.

    Car hire companies do have automatics but be sure to specify one in you booking

    Enjoy your trip
     
  11. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    As well as learning to drive a manual, you will have needed to have passed your test in a manual. If you have already passed your test in an auto, probably not worth going for another test.
     
  12. Marc

    Marc Mucky Rims Staff Member

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    If you're not used to a manual, I really wouldn't drive one in the UK/Europe as the roads will be quite different to those in Canada and it would just be one more thing to have to concentrate on that you could do without.

    As for hiring Autos, I've only done it once, in Greece, and it was the same price as a manual. Even if it's more expensive, it would still e cheaper than paying for lessons in a manual, especially if you're only going to need it for a couple of days.
     
  13. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    Will also have the cost of the driving test, and licence fee.
     
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  14. viv1969

    viv1969

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    Do they have a two tier test system in Canada?
    Because if they do, then @jonbeeza is correct. If you hold only an auto licence, you can't legally drive a stick shift vehicle in the UK.
    If it's nor a two tier system, then the choice is yours, but it doesn't sound like a particularly good idea.
     
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  15. Mozthecat

    Mozthecat

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    Sixt.co.uk are a national chain who rent to those aged 21 and above who have held a full licence (I.e. passed the test) for 12 months.

    Europcar.co.uk requirement is 22 year plus a year of holding full licence.

    Be aware all hire companies try and arrange for you to pay extensive extra collision damage waivers that can double the cost the hire. In the uk at least you can purchase a third party policy for a lot less, in advance of the hire.

    Some of them use Uber style surge pricing, the more demand they have for your given dates the more expensive it gets so book early.

    They all require deposits to be paid or secured against a credit card, not a debit card.

    With the automatic requirement you will need to book in advance, in my experience they only make up a small percentage of their fleets.
     
  16. Phil V

    Phil V

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    I don’t think so. I think we’re in a minority with that, in countries where Auto is normal they just get a licence to drive, so even if they pass in an auto they ‘could’ go out and buy a stick shift and drive it. But they don’t! Because ‘auto’ is the norm.

    Back to the OP; all the major rental chains do Auto, even in really small cars. I’ve had an auto Hyundai i10 from enterprise that I needed to drive to work following an op on my knee.
     
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  17. Major Eazy

    Major Eazy

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    Unless I'm out of date and the rules changed, as far as I know, here in the UK, if you pass your test in a manual, then as a qualified driver you can drive in either a manual or automatic. But if you passed test in an auto, you can only drive in an auto. Should you want to drive a manual, you would need to take a test in a manual. I don't know if outsiders who passed in auto are allowed to drive in manual, here in the UK.

    Food for thoughts: It would be very useful for many of us to learn and pass in a manual first. After that, you can drive in an auto, but the benefit of having the experience of driving in a manual would be useful, not for the future, but for going somewhere else where chances of getting an auto car is less. Specially for travel photographers and photojournalist.

    What if in North America and Europe, you have the option of hire a manual or auto car, so if you trained and qualified in an auto, then no problems. But what if you went to somewhere in Africa or Asia, and find that you can only hire a batten old rust-bucket which is only in manual, then you're going to struggle.

    Being experienced in manual means you have wider choice of manual or automatic cars to chose from. What if the hire company tells you that all of their autos are being fully booked? What are you going to do? Wait until one auto car is free to hire, or say "Oh never mind then, I'll go for a manual, it'll have to do."

    My suggestion for you is to learn in manual (as you got time), so in future you can try to hire an auto, with the experience in manual as secondary 'Plan B' option.
     
  18. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Then you could have looked it up and saved yourself 300 words of redundant waffle ;)
     
  19. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    A relative offered to pick my car up for me after a day out, until they realised they could not drive a manual. :(
     
  20. Phil V

    Phil V

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    A bit of background info that might help...

    I’ll preface this with.. DVLA are singularly the most incompetent government department I have had the experience of dealing with.

    The OP has a driving licence which gives him a right to drive manual or auto vehicles, and as such as a visitor to our country, he’s free to hire and drive a manual car.

    If he chose to come and live here, he’d need to apply for a UK licence after a year, and in that application process, DVLA would want proof that the OP had passed in a manual vehicle, which is impossible to do. So he’d end up with an auto only licence...

    Unless he has a British passport too... in which case, he could effectively stay forever driving on a Canadian licence.
     
  21. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    No it doesn't, not until April 2019, and even then all cars less than about 14 years old should be OK. My wife's car, with a 2.3 litre engine and first registered in 2002, meets the requirements. So they're not going to be particularly stringent or difficult to comply with.

    [Edit: I'm talking about petrol cars. Diesels might be different.]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  22. TCR4x4

    TCR4x4 Wishes he had a couple more Inches

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    A friend of mine is Canadian and lives here. In Canada she had a driving license. Allowed her to drive any car, manual or auto.
    When she moved here, on a visa she could drive any car on her Canadian license. However, she applied for citizenship and gained it, meaning she was now British and had to take the British driving test as her Canadian license now didn’t count.. She was gonna go for the auto test as that’s all she’d ever driven but was persuaded to take some lessons and do the manual test, which she did, and passed.
    Stupid system, but welcome to the UK.
     
  23. Box Brownie

    Box Brownie

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    I stand corrected :)

    But I wonder apart from the congestion charge zone that when hiring it might be worth telling the hire company that one is planning driving in London? As though a while since I have driven near the CG Zone I do recall seeing signs mentioning a "Low Emissions Zone", that is why I posted about that aspect.
     
  24. Chipl95

    Chipl95

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    It isn't two tier here in Canada. We can take lessons in either automatic or manual and do the test in either. My license just says that I'm fully licensed and my only condition is I have to wear glasses while I drive.
    Not sure if I ever specified anywhere on the forum, but I am a woman. And if I had a British passport, my life would be so much easier, haha. Canadian passports don't count as British, sadly.
     
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  25. viv1969

    viv1969

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    Then as a tourist, you're good to go. :)
    For the few days you're talking about though, I still think you'd be better off opting for an auto.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  26. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    If someone can only drive an auto and does not have the knowledge to drive a manual, are they merely just steering the car in auto? I drive an auto, but passed in a manual. I have driven manuals for years, but only just started driving an auto, as it belongs to the missus. I hate driving / steering our automatic, as there is not much involvement from me. No clutch control on hills, something I really miss. I also miss getting to pick what gear to use, when going up or down hills etc. No fun in using the car now, I may get a manual at some point, and put the fun back into driving. :)

    But back to the OP.

    When you start driving a manual, you will see all fun you have been missing. :)
     
  27. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Why? They won't care.
    The LEZ covers most of Greater London (about 60% of the area within the M25) but it only applies to trucks, buses etc. The ULEZ will apply to cars, motorcycles etc as well, but will be much more geographically restricted.
     
  28. JonathanRyan

    JonathanRyan

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    A Corsa from ERAC will cost you about £30 a day. An automatic Corsa will cost you about £38. It's a bit tricksy because they have cheaper cars that aren't available in auto but for £8 a day on a few days rental don't mess about.

    Also, other firms are probably cheaper.

    And ignore all the scare stories about low emission zone. Anything rented to you from a big firm will be < 3 years old and will pass any rules there are ;)
     
  29. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    I'd agree with the person who said that if you are used to a car with automatic transmission then stick with that if you come to the UK. It's one less thing to have to concentrate on (driving on the other side of the road; different road signs; speed limits - which can change frequently as you travel along the same road; putting the right fuel in the car - does it use petrol or diesel?; perhaps not knowing quite where you are and struggling to listen to sat-nav; etc. etc.). If hiring an auto costs a little bit more then I think it may probably be well worth it!

    Typically, the UK tended to favour manual (stick shift) cars for many years as we have a lot of comparatively short, hilly and winding roads; automatic gearboxes of the time were often found to be a bit lacking, with the car often seeming to be be in the 'wrong' gear for any sort of 'spirited' or sporty/fast driving. However, modern auto gearboxes seem to have improved a good deal on those shortcomings; so much so that my current 'every-day' car is an auto, but this is the first automatic car I've owned since passing my driving test in the early 1980s! Having said that, I also have a 4 litre (244 cu in) V8 classic car, which has a manual (stick shift) gearbox if I want to have a bit more fun. :whistle:

    For an 'every-day' type car I wouldn't want to go back to a manual (stick shift) because of the heavy traffic and stop-start type driving conditions in and around many towns and cities in the UK these days... but give me a sports car and the open and winding road (and a lack of speed limits/speed traps!) I'd still prefer a manual (stick shift) car to enjoy my driving to the full.

    So there you have it; if I were you, I'd stick with what I was used to if I visited the UK for the first time and planned to drive a car over here. You can make your own decision on what to hire next time based on your own experience. If I were going to visit Canada and drive over there, I'd want an automatic car (so I could concentrate on learning how to drive over there)... and if I felt confident enough part way through my stay I could always see how much it would cost me to chop it in for 'stick shift' if I felt the need. I hope this is useful and that you have a very enjoyable and safe stay over here. (y)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  30. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu

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    I ALWAYS hire automatic, it's easy to do and not too expensive compared to manuals.
    The ONLY reason for a manual would be to drive a sports car on a countryside road out of the city. But I'd still question why not a flappy paddle dual-clutch?

    As a Greater London driver, I would not drive into central London. Even in my electric vehicle (even easier to drive than auto) on Sunday morning 10am I found central London roads to be a nightmare.



    When I dropped off my Nissan Leaf for servicing, I had a Nissan Micra diesel manual courtesy car. It was horrible beyond belief. The gearbox was very bad, the clutch was heavy, the diesel engine had a very narrow power-band and it was very slow, both response and acceleration. I'll insist an automatic in the future. With an automatic, you wouldn't need to worry most of those complaints.

    Auto gearboxes are excellent these days. I used to insist a manual, but in the last 2 decade or so with smarter auto gearboxes and hill assist, the lack of clutch makes driving more enjoyable, not less. Torque converter auto can make driving feel relaxed and smooth. Dual-clutch can make gear changes quick and seamless. CVT makes the car more efficient and no gear change interruption. All perfect for the modern driving machines.

    Makes me wonder why people still insist on driving manuals on their daily car......
    (I actually wonder why people insist on internal combustion engines, but that's off topic for another thread)
     
  31. stickytape

    stickytape

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    Have to say, I agree - it still makes me wonder wh we still have manuals over here. I have had automatic trannys about a year after pass ing my test. I think firstly they are far, far safer, firstly - both hands on the wheel at all time, no worrying about gears or having to switch etc. Means you can focus entirely on driving and ensuring you don't hit anyone or anything. Hills etc - ideal, parking - just so less stressful. Most of my extended family drive auto trannys - ranging from Mercedes, Range Rover, Vauxhall and Jaguar. They're all pretty good - and some of us live out in the country and don't struggle at all. ing story short, I still don't know why people bother with manual ones. I'd wager there would be a lot less accidents with auto cars. Thinking about it, nowadays most cars are indeed autos in the UK after doing a quick check!
     
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  32. JonathanRyan

    JonathanRyan

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    I agree with you that modern autos are just all round better for most purposes than manuals - but you'd lose that bet. Hit the accelerator instead of the brake in a manual and there's a good chance you're in neutral or a high gear. Hit the loud pedal hard in an auto and it will kick down and accelerate until you use contact braking to slow it. There's enough of that kind of accident to outweigh the number prevented.
     
  33. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    This is a fascinating debate. Do either of you have any data to support your assertions?

    EDIT: This article suggests there's no real difference in safety levels, but it doesn't have any numbers either.
    http://www.safermotoring.co.uk/automatic-manual-cars-which-safer.html [/url
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  34. LongLensPhotography

    LongLensPhotography

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    That's probably because there is far greater factor of driver reaction times and awareness.
    but there is a bit of a difference with auto vs manual its just maybe not as big. You clearly have that fraction of a second extra in auto to think about hazards, where the road is going next, your positioning on the road and so on whereas you'd spend that second thinking about your next gear change. Every little helps.

    It would really take someone quite special. The pedals are miles apart! It's probably easier in a manual if anything if you are unlucky to be in a powerful gear and you wear size 14 Wellies which you shouldn't do anyway.

    Why they stick with manuals? A few reasons. Just not very good ones.

    1. Bad experience with old manuals. The only awful auto I've owned was Hyundai Santa Fe mkII 5 speed. It was so slow and so late that you'd have to drive it in tiptronic mode all the time to make any progress. Even a 2000 Audi A3 5 speed auto was fairly reasonable and anything DSG is just insanely good. But if you've only driven that Hyundai or worse you'd probably bet against it.
    2. Cost. Yes, you save probably £500 on a a new car. Well worth for spending the 4 years on a stick.
    3. Reliability and servicing. It varies, but manuals have an advantage here. Audi CVTs are mobile grenades, so were Merc ones in A and B class. Luckily, most of the rest fare a lot better. Oil changes are not cheap for autos and pretty much mandatory every 40k. Manual may not need one for 150+k. But then by that point you will pay for a new clutch and DMF in a manual (DMF also a joy with DSG boxes).
    4. Experience and knowledge. Having had learned in a manual that is all I "knew" how to drive. Or so I thought until I was forced into Auto in the middle of the US. Not a problem at all, in fact that was the beginning of an end of manual ownership. Same happened with my dad just some good 4 years later.
     
  35. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu

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    The reliability issue is the only con against automatic I can see. But slightly off topic in this context of hired cars.

    There are many different auto on the market: torque converter, automated manual, wet dual clutch, dry dual clutch, CVT, eCVT. It's a minefield when buying autos, the buyer has to look really carefully at the gearbox track record to avoid a lemon. (torque converter, wet dual clutch and eCTV are more reliable)


    I've owned a FIat Panda 1.2l automated manual before. Driving along, it would suddenly say "Gear not available" and loose power without warning. Local garage told me to sell it as soon as possible because cost of repair is more than cost of the car.

    I now own a DQ250 DSG. £180 to change oil ever 40k miles is a small price to pay compared to known problems in DQ200 DSG. DMF may fail, it's a calculated risk to drive this car, the cheapest adaptive cruise equipped car. I'd have preferred an eCVT for reliability and fuel saving, but only the newest shape Prius had ACC.
     
  36. Major Eazy

    Major Eazy

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    Accidents happen because of the driver not because of the car. You could have an accident whether it is in an old rust-bucket museum piece car or a brand new modern car with a spaceship like dashboard crammed with technology. It is the driver that cause the accident, not the type of gear the car have.
     
  37. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Not necessarily.

    There have been studies [1] demonstrating that elderly drivers make more errors - including errors with the potential to cause accidents - when driving manual cars than when driving automatic cars. The explanation is that elderly people tend to have experienced declines in both cognitive resources and motor skills, and the attention required to change gear manually affects their ability to do other necessary things such as judge speeds and distances. So yes, it's the driver that causes the accident, but in these circumstances a car which is easier to drive makes it less likely that the driver will have an accident though misjudgement.

    On the other hand, there is anecdotal evidence that drivers of manual cars are less prone to distraction through multi-tasking - if you need to use both hands to drive, you're less likely to make a phone call or eat a sandwich whilst driving. That feels intuitively sound but I haven't seen any actual observational data to support it. So again, yes, it's the driver that causes the accident, but in these circumstances a car which is harder to drive makes it less likely that the driver will have an accident through not paying attention properly.

    [1] For example, this Swedish / Australian study: http://casr.adelaide.edu.au/rsr/RSR2011/2APaper%20130%20Falkmer.pdf
    and this Dutch study: http://www.hfes-europe.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Piersma.pdf
     
  38. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    There's a useful model of driving behaviour [1] which breaks down the task into three different cognitive levels:
    1. Strategic - route planning, etc.
    2. Tactical - perceiving and reacting to the environment, e.g. keeping enough distance to other cars
    3. Operational - steering, accelerating, braking, changing gear, etc.
    All three levels can and do operate simultaneously, but you only have a finite amount of cognitive resources available, and if demands on one level are too high then something on another level might give. For example if you're (level 2) paying attention to another car that is near you but driving erratically, you might (level 1) miss your turning. Or conversely, if you're (level 1) worrying about whether you've taken a wrong turning, and what you need to do to get back on the right route, you might (level 2) not be as aware of what's going on around you as you would be if you could give it your full attention. Similarly, if actually (level 3) driving the car, including changing gear, takes too much effort then again your (level 2) awareness of hazards may be reduced.

    [1] A critical review of driver behavior models, by John A Michon, 1985 - http://jamichon.nl/jam_writings/1985_criticial_view.pdf
     
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  39. LongLensPhotography

    LongLensPhotography

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    It is pretty much guaranteed to go somewhere between 120-150k miles, with the latter figure more likely to be achieved by motorway or countryside drivers. When you feel vibrations at traffic lights and it isn't engine mount you know the time has come.
    Remap you car well beyond the original spec and it may break DMF and snap the crank. It's best to observe max torque spec figures before going ahead and upgrade if necessary.

    DMF is around £300 and the job is at least another that. It's nasty bill and it's gone out of my bank account twice - one for each car.
     
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  40. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu

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    Thanks for the info. I'll keep that in mind and try to sell at around 130k, giving me ~51k left from today. This 2.0 diesel is only driven long distances and lives on the motorway/A roads, so hopefully can get close to 150k.

    Tesla better hurry up with their UK Model 3 deliveries ;)
     

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