Active Park Assist is one of the handiest (and coolest) functions offered in today’s cars. Known as the self-parking system—a description that isn’t quite accurate, but close—this nifty technology helps the driver by finding a parking spot (parallel, and perpendicular in some cars) big enough for the vehicle to fit, then steers the car into the spot while the driver works the accelerator, brake, and shifter, with the car telling her when to go, stop, or reverse. It’s a brilliant system that makes parking a breeze. Here are 10 cars that have this fascinating feature.
10 Cars with Active Park Assist
Photo Credit: Lincoln
1) Lincoln MKC
The Ford Motor Company (parent of Lincoln) was one of the first automakers to introduce an effective self-parking system, and you'll find it in several Lincoln models. We chose the MKC as a representative example because it's an SUV that doesn't get the recognition it deserves: It's roomy, luxurious, well-appointed, and surprisingly enjoyable to drive. The fact that it can find suitably sized parking spots and park itself is an added bonus.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
2) Jeep Cherokee
Jeep's Cherokee may have a controversial nose, but given its interior space, driving experience, and that much-loved Jeep brand name on the hood, there’s a lot to like about this SUV. The Cherokee was one of the first vehicles with an active parking system that could not only park in parallel spaces, but also could back into perpendicular parking stalls. Added bonus: When you use the perpendicular parking function, the center screen shows your Cherokee parking between two classic World War II Jeeps. Cool!
Photo Credit: Lexus
3) Lexus LS 460
The Lexus LS introduced one of the first self-parking systems way back in 2003, although the first iteration was a clunky camera-based system that required the user to identify exactly where the car was going to park—a process that took so long that it was likely someone would pull into your space while you were still fiddling with the controls. Lexus has since updated the system, and it now works easily and seamlessly—and is a big help when parking a car as large as the LS. It’s one of many high-tech features that make this big luxury sedan an old favorite.
Photo Credit: Toyota
4) Toyota Prius
There’s a stereotype—which we feel is in no way true—that Prius owners, well, that they aren’t very good drivers. Not true, no way, we don’t buy it for a second. Buuuuuuut… if you are a Prius owner, and you do consider yourself a less-than-optimal driver, then you probably find parking to be a challenge as well. Good news! The Prius has an active park-assist function! You work the gas, brake, and shifter, and the Prius will steer you neatly in and out of any spot into which it will fit. So in case you aren’t a very good driver—and we are not implying that in any way, shape or form—the Prius has your back.
Photo Credit: Ford
5) Ford Focus
Parking-assistance systems made their debut in high-end luxury cars, and that’s where you’d expect to find such a nifty bit of technology. But if you can’t afford a Lexus or a Lincoln, don’t worry—Ford has you covered! The Focus hatchback has electrically-assisted power steering, and that means it can employ a self-parking system—and it does. Now, the catch is that Active Park Assist is only available in the top-of-the-line Titanium model—but the release (get it? Catch and release? No?) is that it’s priced at a paltry $395! And that means you can get an almost-self-parking Ford for less than $25K.
Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover
6) Jaguar XE
The XE is Jag’s new small sedan, and we love it: It’s pretty to look at, great to drive, and possesses that panache that British automakers do so well. When it comes to cutting-edge tech, Jaguar has always lagged behind the Germans and the Japanese, if only a little—so we are pleased to see that the new XE is offered with an active parking assistance system. It’s a useful feature to have, as the XE’s swoopy, sinewy lines make it tricky to see the outer ends of the car. Sure, you can get parking sensors that will beep as the bumper approaches an object—but why not just let the car do the hard work for you?
Photo Credit: Lincoln
7) Lincoln Navigator
Before the Active Parking Assist system can steer into a space, it has to identify one big enough—and that’s why this system is such a boon in a big SUV like the Lincoln Navigator. Finding parking spaces big enough can be a challenge, and the system knows how much room it needs to dock this land yacht. So there’s no more guessing—just let the system find a space big enough. If it's a tight fit, that’s okay; the system can squeeze the Lincoln into just about any spot that is big enough.
Photo Credit: Land Rover
8) Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover is, plainly put, one of the best SUVs you can buy. It’s posh, it’s prestigious, and it is mind-bogglingly capable off road (not that most of its owners would ever subject their Rovers to such harsh treatment). So it’s no surprise that this most accomplished SUV has one of the best automated parking system you can buy, one that will park the Range Rover in a tight parallel spot and then pull it out again, too. Perpendicular parking is also on the menu. The Land Rover Range Rover represents the best of the best, and we can’t see buying one without the Active Park Assist function.
Photo Credit: General Motors
9) Cadillac CTS
The Cadillac CTS is one of the most underrated luxury cars on the market. Not only is it well appointed and very rewarding to drive, it’s also brimming with technology, including active park assist. Equipped with this system, the CTS can get itself into both parallel and perpendicular spots. On a car shaped like the CTS, which has a long hood and a high trunk, such a system isn’t just for showing off; it really does make life easier when dealing with tiny parking spots. And we’re always happy to see an American car with cutting-edge features.
Photo Credit: Volvo
10) Volvo S90
One of the newest players on the market is the Volvo V90, the all-new flagship from the safety-obsessed automaker. Volvo’s mission is to make advanced technology simple and accessible, and it’s no surprise that it has included an active parking assistance system for the V90. (Volvo also has demonstrated a car that drives off and parks itself after the driver gets out. We won’t be seeing that feature on production cars for a while.) Ironically, turning the function on via the Volvo’s tablet-like interface can take some searching, but once switched on, it works great.