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With the wealth of cutting-edge systems being added to the latest models, driving is becoming easier, safer, and more user friendly every year. And self-parking functions are the cherry on top of the cake for many drivers. It’s definitely a welcome addition to the arsenal of clever driver assists and smart technologies currently employed by newer models. It’s astonishing too, watching a steering wheel spin itself to back the car into a spot.
When it comes self-parking, there are a few different technologies to assist you. In total, there are four main types of parking assist systems:
If you’re wondering how self-parking tech works, typically you just push a button to engage the car’s park assist. Next, the vehicle’s parking sensors will scan the spaces as you drive the street or car park looking for a spot. They’ll beep once they find a suitable space and then you select it and it’ll take over from there. Some variants require you to find the space yourself, with most requiring you to use the indicator to select which side you want the car to park. Easy as A, B, C. Read on to see our top 10 best self-parking cars.
With Mercedes’ active Parktronic system, the C-Class is a breeze to park, taking the hard work out of the equation. A 180 degree reversing camera aids the system, allowing you to spot obstructions or pedestrians, and at the push of a button on the dashboard it’ll go into action and start scanning for a viable space. It’ll perpendicular and parallel park, and do the steering for you. On automatic transmission variants it will even accelerate, brake, and change gears autonomously
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With the Nissan Leaf you can let go of the steering, lift your feet from the pedals, and let the clever ProPilot Park technology do the entire parking process for you. The system will bay and parallel park itself and will accelerate, brake, and steer the car into the space on your behalf. All you have to do is hold down a button by the gear level. Take your finger off and it’ll stop the car, which is a handy way of ensuring safety, as well as driver engagement and attention. You might ask why the Nissan Leaf isn’t in first place, seeing as though it does all the parking for you. And that’s a fair question. The simple answer is: the easy to use ProPilot Park option will set you back over £1k for a car that’s relatively easy to park in the first place.
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Available for all the various trims (with the exception of the entry-level Active model) the Peugeot 3008’s optional Visio Park 2 accessory pack brings park and exit tech to the SUV, which is incredibly handy. It’ll find a spot for you and manoeuvre itself into it, prompting you when to accelerate and brake. It’s a very quick and accurate system that takes a lot of the pressure off. Plus, it can be used to pull out of a parallel parking space, which is always useful. And the best part? Well, it comes with a 360 degree camera with the clear footage relayed on the dashboard screen and it only costs £450 – a bargain price for such clever tech.
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As a premium executive car, the BMW 5 Series is packed with cutting-edge technology, and self-parking is just one string in its many bows. It enjoys a fully automated system, so all you have to do is sit back, take your hands off the steering, and lift your feet off the pedals, and the 5 Series will reverse into the space, no problem. It’ll even pop the automatic gearbox into park when finished. For added style, use remote control parking and line the car up with a spot (such as your garage or driveway), have everyone step out of the vehicle and then engage the key fob and enjoy the sight of your smart 5 Series as it parks itself with no-one in it – perfect for tight squeezes. Why’s it in fourth place you ask? It’s a pricey extra at near £2,500.
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The Ford Fiesta’s Active Park Assist is available with the Vignale and Titanium trims for just £200 and £400 respectively. It is an impressive piece of kit, helping you to bay and parallel park with ease. You will have to work the throttle, brake, and clutch when prompted, but the Fiesta will take care of the steering. Furthermore, it can fit into spaces that are just twenty percent bigger and it can steer you out of a tight spot as well, which is always handy in busy car parks. Just follow the audible warnings and signals from the information screen, and you and your Fiesta will be driving in and out of spaces with ease. It’s a very useful system, especially at the affordable price tag.
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As part of the Xenium option pack, costing £2,000, the Volvo XC60 gains the Park Assist Pilot along with a 360 degree surround camera view and a tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof to sweeten the deal. Going one step further into the future, the XC60 doesn’t even have a button to engage the assist system. Instead, you select the self-parking feature from the Sensus touchscreen and then you let it do its thing as you apply the accelerator and brakes when prompted. It’s a great system aided by ultrasonic sensors that will help guide you into spots just twenty percent bigger than the car – perfect for parallel or bay parking.
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Formerly the Grand C4 Picasso, the Grand C4 SpaceTourer has a new name, but continues to be an excellent multi-purpose vehicle (MPV). As a seven-seater, self-parking tech is an ideal fit for its larger frame. Citroen’s advanced Park Assist is easy to use too, activated at the push of a button on the dashboard. You choose the parking method, whether parallel or bay parking, then activate your indicator to choose which side to park, where the system will start scanning for a suitable space. Aided by a reversing camera and a clear display screen, it’ll then prompt you when to brake, accelerate, and change gears, gently guiding you into the parking space whilst doing all the steering for you.
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Available across the entire Golf range, VW’s optional Park Assist can detect a suitable parking spot and steer you into a parallel, bay, and even a diagonal bay space whilst you gently apply the throttle and brakes and work the clutch when prompted. It is an easy to use and adept system. It costs £600 for the tech which is relatively affordable compared to some of the other systems on this list, but it is also a few hundred pounds more expensive than the same sort of system on its closest rival, the Ford Fiesta. And when a car is already as easy to park as the Golf or Fiesta, it becomes a little harder to recommend as the price increases. If you love driving but hate parking, however, then ignore that last comment – the Golf with Park Assist will tick both those boxes.
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Press the dashboard Park Assist button, follow the prompts, and the Jaguar XF will take control of the handling and guide you to accelerate and brake as it steers itself into a parking spot. It can also be used to get you out of a tight space too, leaving you to work the same controls and to keep an eye out for pedestrians and traffic. Like others in this top 10 category, it is an easy to engage park and exit system. It’s also one that comes in very handy for a car of this stature (both in size and reputation) letting you park with confidence. However, it feels a little on the slower side compared to the competition on this list, hence its lower ranking – though it’s very helpful and useful to have for the XF.
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With the Tesla Model S, you can enjoy fully-automated parking and one of the most advanced self-parking assists on the market, from one of the most advanced cars available. Just drive to a perpendicular or parallel space, select the right option from the car’s massive touchscreen, then sit back and marvel at the sight as the Model S does all the hard work for you, even popping the handbrake on at the end – a cherry on top of the cake. But that’s not all. Enhanced Summon adds remote control parking, much like the BMW 5 Series, yet with a typical Tesla futuristic twist: it enables the car to drive itself into a space, as well as out of a parking spot, where it can navigate slowly through a car park to your location within 150 feet (all activated via a mobile phone app). Why’s it in tenth? You will need the full self-driving package and that costs near £5k – when self-driving is more realised on the roads, then it’ll definitely be worth it and the Model S will likely sit on top of this list.
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Enjoy the convenience of self-parking and ease into parallel and bay spaces.Search used cars