The chief advantage of a five-speed manual transmission over a transmission with four or fewer gears is the presence of the additional gear ratio in the five-speed transmission gives the driver more options to match gear selection to current driving conditions. Five-speed manual transmissions can also achieve better fuel economy than other transmission types, though the efficiency advantage of manual transmissions over modern automatics is not as pronounced as it once was.
The fifth gear of a five-speed manual transmission is often used by drivers to achieve high fuel economy during highway driving that can exceed the optimum fuel economy of a four-speed transmission. This is because it is usually possible to drive the car at highway speeds in fifth gear with lower engine speeds than those necessary when driving in the top gear of a four-speed transmission. An additional advantage of cars with manual transmissions is that these vehicles are often cheaper to purchase than the same car with an automatic transmission, though this is not always the case. Many drivers also enjoy the additional level of control and involvement when using a manual transmission, though many drivers find manual transmissions cumbersome in situations such as stop-and-go traffic or city driving.