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Cars that can park themselves

By raccars Published

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If you dread parallel parking, are cars that can park themselves the answer to your problems?

Recent research shows that nearly half of all drivers will park at a distance from their destination if it means they can get out of parallel parking. Apparently we detest parallel parking, and more than ten per cent of drivers refuse to perform the manoeuvre at all. The average motorist claims that it can take five attempts before pulling off a successful parallel park, and three quarters of drivers are made nervous by knowing that other people are watching them while they are trying to complete the manoeuvre, thereby failing as a result.

However, new cars are now available with a number of assistance features including parking sensors and reversing cameras. Spend a little more and you can just sit there while your car's autonomous parking function finds a space and manoeuvres itself neatly into it for you. Bear in mind, however, that this sort of technology can add up to £6,000 to the cost of a car.

While self parking features are included in the standard equipment of a few high end cars, in most cases, and particularly in small cars, you will be paying for it as an optional extra. It could be worthwhile, however, as a new commercial for the Vauxhall Corsa shows that its parking assist technology is so easy that even a dog can use it. In this case Advanced Park Assist costs an extra £1,610.

So, how much is parking assistance in the best-selling cars?

Ford Fiesta

Britain's best-selling car, surprisingly, is devoid of any serious parking assistance features. The best you get is rear parking sensors, which are available on higher spec models starting with the 1.25 Style 3 door trim level, costing £12,240.

Nissan Qashqai

There are plenty of parking assistance options available on Britain's best-selling SUV. The base model 1.2 Visia costs £18,490, but for £495 you can add the 'Smart Vision Pack' option which includes front and rear parking sensors. Move up to the 1.2 Tekna trim level, which costs £24,425 and you get a full autonomous parking system. That makes the difference between the basic model and one that can park itself £5,935.

Vauxhall Corsa

The entry level 1.2 Design three door costs £11,280 but you'll have to pay £11,730 for a higher spec model to get front and rear parking sensors as an optional extra. Autonomous parking is available on models costing from £12,790 in the form of the 1.2 SE three door.

Ford Focus

Trim levels open with the 1.6 Style model which costs £15,810 and on which you can add rear parking sensors for £225 and a reverse parking camera for £250. Autonomous parking is an option on the 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium X, costing £22,040, so you're paying an extra £6,230 for the Focus to park itself.

Volkswagen Golf

The cheapest Golf starts at £17,450 for the 1.2 S trim level, for which front and rear parking sensors cost an extra £615. There is no autonomous parking technology available for the Golf at this time.

Volkswagen Polo

Prices for the junior model to the Golf start at £11,440 for the 1.0 S, and you can choose to pay an extra £400 to add the 'Cruise and Park Pack' which includes front and rear parking sensors. Again there are no autonomous parking options for the Polo as yet.

Audi A3

The cheapest model is the 1.2 SE three door at £18,810. It doesn't include any parking assistance as part of the standard equipment list but you can specify rear parking sensors for an extra £345. There is also the 'Park System Plus' and 'Park Assist Pack' for £1,095, which includes autonomous parking technology.

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