Tech Feature Friday: Ford Active Park Assist
It takes the guesswork out of easing into a spot even if you are a parallel-parking pro.
Self-parking systems are not new, although the feature is new to the 2013 Ford Escape that will hit dealerships next month. And it's no longer a feature found only on just luxury vehicles.
It’s also available on the Ford Focus, and Toyota has it on the Prius. So, following a typical pattern in technology, the price has to drop as self-parking systems have become less esoteric, and you can expect to see them on many more vehicles.
But is the feature worth the extra expense? And why would you need it if you know how to parallel park? At an additional $995 for the Escape's Technology Package option (which also includes front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot detection, cross-traffic alert and rain-sensing wipers), the first question is more difficult to answer. The second is easy: Because, like the best technology, it makes the job easier and more efficient.
I’ve used Ford’s system before and once did a comparison test with it and a Toyota Prius – and the Ford system was hands-down easier to use. On a media launch earlier this week for the 2013 Escape, another journalist wanted to shoot a video and ask me to demo the system. Then Jason Sprawka, Ford’s marketing manager for the 2013 Escape, obliged while I shot the video below.
In all, we did the self-parking demo about six times, and the system failed only once. This was due to human error (my own) when I unintentionally shifted into neutral rather than reverse and the system reset. Otherwise, it parked the vehicle in about the same amount of time it would take someone to do it manually. It also takes the guesswork out of the process since it scopes out whether a spot is large enough for the vehicle.
So if you’re parallel-parking challenged – or have ever sat behind someone who is, waiting for them to slowly wedge into a spot – then the benefits of the feature are apparent.
Without it, there's always the "pinball parking" method shown in the second video below that Ford's Paris-based European ad agency put together to show off Active Park Assist. And to demonstrate why everyone can benefit from better parking, particularly the owners of the cars around you.
the feature is new to the 2013 Ford Escape
The 2010 Escape was equipped with the feature, as an option. The Active Park Assist is nothing new for the Escape. I'm not one to normally critisize but I'd suggest Douglas do some quick research on the options currently equipped on a vehicle before stating it is "new" to it.
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