Parallel parking — with the possible exception of late-braking from 200 mph in a racing car at the end of the Mulsanne Straight, it is the most feared automotive maneuver on the planet. Those about to take their driver’s test for the first time often develop a cold sweat simply contemplating being required to execute a parallel park with an evaluator in the passenger seat.
Even drivers with 40 years of experience behind the wheel can be intimidated by the task of backing a vehicle into a tight curbside parking place while traffic builds behind them. Is the parking space big enough? How close is my right rear tire to the curb? Am I getting too close to the car behind me? Once I get this car parked, will I ever be able to get it out of here? The opportunities for failure are, if not endless, at least plentiful. But enlightened engineers see problems as opportunities. And in the case of parking, recent engineering advances have lately resulted in computerized systems that will do much of the parallel parking work for you automatically. Here are the least expensive cars with parking assistance.