2012 Family Cars With Self-Parking Technology

Remember back in driver’s ed, or when getting ready for your driving test at the DMV, when parallel parking was a tad tricky? Some drivers, even after navigating their cars for years, still have a difficult time parking, especially in tight situations. But several automakers offer self-parking technology on various vehicles that makes the task infinitely easier.

Here we take a look at some of the 2012 family cars with this technology, usually an option or part of a technology package. It’s called by various names such as active park assist, advanced parking guidance, parking assistant and Parktronic.

Ford and Lincoln: Active Park Assist

Available on the 2012 Ford Focus, Escape, Explorer and Flex and on the 2012 Lincoln MKS and MKT, active park assist uses electronic sensors instead of an imaging device. Once activated, the vehicle parks itself with almost no driver input. Ford says that its self-park system operates nearly three times faster than systems from other automakers. Another benefit is that the backbone of the system is electronic power assisted steering, which also helps increase fuel economy.

Active park assist is available on the 2012 Ford Focus SEL and Titanium and Escape Limited models for $659 and $395, respectively. On Flex, active park assist is available on 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine-equipped models at an option cost of $550. On the 2012 Explorer Limited, active park assist is included in equipment group 302A at a cost of $4,500.

On the 2012 Lincoln MKS V6 EcoBoost AWD, active park assist is a $535 option, while on the 2012 Lincoln MKT V6 EcoBoost AWD model, the option cost is $595.

Toyota and Lexus: advanced parking guidance

The third-generation Toyota Prius Five has advanced parking guidance available as part of the $5,080 advanced technology package, which includes dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision system and lane keep assist. Advanced parking guidance will also be available as part of an option package on the Prius V Five.

On the 2012 Lexus LS460 and LS460 L, advanced parking guidance is described this way: “At the touch of a button, the Advanced Parking Guidance system is designed to parallel park the LS or back into a parking space with a little brake work from the driver.” Advanced parking guidance is available as part of two packages, one costing $3,745 and the other at $8,745.

BMW: parking assistant

Set to arrive in February 2012, the all-new sixth-generation BMW 3-Series offers numerous assistance systems to make driving the vehicle safer and more convenient. Among these is the optional parking assistant, which BMW says “takes care of maneuvering the vehicle into parking spaces.”

Mercedes-Benz: Parktronic

Parktronic with parking guidance, available on certain 2012 Mercedes-Benz models, helps the driver size up parallel parking spaces while driving by, using sensors in the bumper to determine if available spots can accommodate the vehicle. The system then displays instructions to help the driver navigate into the spot. During the low-speed maneuver, the systems ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers detect nearby objects within its field of view and provide audible signals and illuminated displays to help the driver confidently navigate tight parking spots.

Parktronic is a $970 option on the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, CLS-Class Coupe and M-Class SUV, $950 on the E-Class, as part of Premium 2 package on the S-Class ($2,630), and an $800 option on the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 SUV (standard on GL550) and R-Class crossover.

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