Cars with park assist

Take the stress out of the multi-storey car park with these used cars equipped with park assist

BuyaCar team
Oct 23, 2020

After all that stress learning to parallel park while preparing for your driving test, there are some cars on the market now that can do it for you. What a liberty. But at least that means you'll never have to stress about squeezing your car into tight spaces again - if you can afford to buy a car with park assist.

They do the hard work for you, steering their way automatically into a space, using parking sensors to avoid bumps and scrapes, and displaying messages in the car to tell you when to accelerate, brake and change between forward and reverse gears. The systems are becoming increasingly advanced, with most able to negotiate parallel and bay spaces. Many will steer you out of a tight space too.

The very latest self-parking cars will do absolutely everything, including accelerating and braking - even while you’re outside the car, in some cases. They still require supervision from the driver, though, because they aren’t perfect and the technology is still in it infancy. Even the most advanced systems will occasionally run into kerbs or switch themselves off when they sense something unexpected.

More and more vehicles are being fitted with park assist technology; even relatively cheap small cars such as the Peugeot 208, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa offer it as an option. We’ve highlighted some of the best cars with park assist further down this article. You can also search all deals on cars with park assist by clicking the button below.

How Park Assist works

You activate the system by pressing your car’s park assist button when you’re in a car park or a street you want to stop in. Many cars can use their parking sensors to search for a space as you drive along, beeping when they identify a gap that the vehicle can squeeze into, but other systems require you to find the spot yourself and then stop the car next to it. You’ll normally need to indicate to tell the car which side you want to park on.

Once the space has been selected, and you’ve confirmed that you want to park there, the car takes control, telling you when you need to act (by accelerating or braking, for example) while it carries out the manoeuvre. You can stop at any time by pressing the brake, and override the steering by taking control of the wheel.

Park Assist systems

Steering assisted parking

This is the most common type of park assist system. You activate the park assist system and, once a spot has been selected, the car will display messages telling you when to accelerate, brake and change between forward and reverse gears.

The steering is entirely automatic, so the wheel will spin on its own as the car manoeuvres itself into a space.

Park and exit assistance

Park assist systems are increasingly able to drive cars out of a parallel space as well as into them, which comes in handy if you return to your car to find you’ve been sandwiched tightly between two other vehicles.

As with the standard system, the car takes control of the steering and tells you when to accelerate or brake.

Fully automated parking

This requires a further leap of faith from the driver. Your car doesn’t just manage the steering: it accelerates and brakes for you too.

There are safeguards: primarily the requirement to keep a button pressed throughout the manoeuvre. As soon as you take your finger off, the car will come to a complete stop.

Remote control parking

Neighbours won’t fail to be impressed by the sight of a car driving itself into a garage without anybody inside. The system is operated by a digital key fob or a smartphone app. Once everyone is out of the car, the driver can activate the system and watch as the car rolls slowly into its space.

Cars can drive themselves out too, making it particularly handy for narrow garages and tight parking spaces that have little room for doors to open into. It’s tough luck for anyone in an adjacent car, though.

Drivers have to keep pressing a button on their key fob or phone or the car will stop immediately. The vehicle also needs to be lined up so it can drive straight into the space.

Best cars with park assist

1. Ford Fiesta

Best small car with park assist

A £400 option on Titanium and Titanium X Fiestas, Ford’s Advanced Auto Park Assistance will steer the Fiesta into and out of parallel parking spaces, and into bay spaces too.

It’s easy to use, with clear on-screen graphics, and one of the most affordable new cars that comes with this type of system.


2. Peugeot 3008

Best family SUV with park assist

Available as a £450 option on all but entry-level Active 3008 model, the Visio Park 2 technology is extremely quick and accurate at finding a suitable parking space and manoeuvring the Peugeot into it, while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.

It can steer the car out of a tight parallel space too, and everything is displayed clearly on the dashboard screen, thanks to a 360-degree camera.


3. Mercedes C-Class

Best family car with park assist

The very latest version of the Mercedes C-Class, which has been updated and goes on sale this autumn, comes with Active Parking Assist, which controls steering, acceleration and braking. Automatic cars can even switch between first and reverse gear.

However, the limited availability of these cars means that you’re more likely to find an earlier model with a park assist system that only controls the steering.


4. Nissan Leaf

Best electric car with park assist

The only Nissan currently available with ProPilot Park, the current version of the Leaf will manoeuvre itself into parking bays and on-street spaces autonomously, while you simply hold down the relevant button.


5. BMW 5 Series

Best luxury car with park assist

Gimmicky it might be, but remote control parking systems are undeniably impressive; allowing you to get out of your car and then send an instruction to drive itself into a space or garage, without anybody inside.

The fact that you need to line the car up with the space beforehand, and that parking right next to another car will likely infuriate its driver, does limit the system’s practicality in real life. This is likely to mean that few buyers will shell out the £2,500 needed for the optional equipment to enable remote parking on the BMW 5 Series.



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