Tech Feature Friday: Electronic Parking Brake in a VW Tiguan
I’m not feeling this technology -- or, why I hate the electronic emergency brake.
I love technology, but I hate electronic parking brakes – aka the emergency brake or e-brake. I first started seeing the feature on a few European luxury cars. Then I noticed it on a new Subaru Outback. And there was one on a 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan I recently drove.
Maybe if you live in a flat area, it doesn’t matter. But I don’t. I’ve lived on hilly streets in two states for the past 15 years. So I’ve gotten good at “manual” hill assist with vehicles with a stick: simultaneously easing off the engaged e-brake while releasing the clutch and pressing the accelerator, which effectively holds the car in place on a hill.
If you’re good at it, not only do you avoid the dreaded rollback, but I also like to think that I'm saving wear and tear on the clutch. I also don’t have to over-rev the engine to compensate for potentially rolling backwards on a hill, so maybe I save a little fuel, too.
It even works in cars in which the e-brake is the pedal type under the dash instead of the hand brake on the center console, although it’s a little trickier. But it doesn’t work at all with an electronic brake.
That’s because there’s only on and off, without the degree of adjustment that you can get and the tension you can feel with a manual e-brake. It’s not as big a deal in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, like in the Tiguan. But I do like the feel of a manual e-brake since I don’t have to look for an indicator lighter on the electronic e-brake, as on the Tiguan, or in the instrument panel to know it’s set.
It makes me wonder why more automakers are using them. Perhaps it has something to do with people becoming more detached from the mechanics of their vehicles. Maybe it's yet another sign that cars are becoming more technically complex for the sake of technical complexity -- that people think something controlled electronically is inherently better than something controlled mechanically.
Or maybe market research shows that people prefer them. In which case I'll do a little demographic research of my own by asking: Does your car have an electronic parking brake? If so, do you hate it, too?
No. And I want it to stay that way.
I'm not a fan of electronic parking brakes however my 2011 Tiguan has a hill hold button right below the electronic parking break toggle... it def does come in handy
My 2011 Legacy 2.5GT has an electronic parking brake, and it is one of the few things I dislike about the car, but it's not as horrible as it could be.
Since the 2.5GT is a 6 speed manual, I engage the brake every time I park. As long as the driver is wearing their seatbelt (which they should anyway), the brake automatically disengages when you put the car in gear and touch the accelerator. It's smooth, and I don't have to worry about rolling anywhere until I'm ready to go.
But, all my previous sticks had a manual brake, and other than during my learning period, I haven't had issues rolling back on hill starts. I have the hill assist feature of my car disabled because I don't feel that I need it. And I live in Colorado, there are some hills here.
I would definitely prefer a hand brake, but that's because I like to have a little fun with my car, but for everything else the car has, it's not a deal breaker.
I own a 2012 Subaru Legacy, and it has an electronic parking brake. It also has an "automatic" hill assist, which works just as well as the "manual" hill assist, only.... automatically.
While I rarely use my parking brake, I like it because it automates two things, hills starts, and parking brake disengagement.
Electric parking Brake pros:
With hill assist - automatically holds you on hills
Brake automatically disengages when you are ready to go.
Electric parking brake cons:
The only con I see is if you get a car without hill assist, but this is not applicable to my experience.
If you want to drive with your parking brake on, it makes it difficult to do, again not applicable to me.
The most annoying part was I was not sure about if the brake was engaged or not and I had parked on a hill. The sales rep assured me that it has and I have to look at the light to be sure. I don't want to look at the light to make sure if I can move my leg from the break.
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