The self-parking feature (known as ‘Park Assist’) on the Golf has proved to be a talking point with friends.
One thought I was kidding when I told them my car could parallel park for me.
Well, ‘for me’ is slightly stretching the truth. It doesn’t do it entirely unaided but near enough.
As you drive past a row of parked cars you simply press a button to activate the self-parking function. When the car has identified a big enough space (thanks to sensors) an arrow pops up on the multifunctional display.
Then comes the slightly unnerving bit. You select reverse and take your hands off the steering wheel while the car steers automatically into the space. It’s odd having your hands in your lap while the wheel spins rapidly in front of you unaided. But you control the speed at which the car reverses using the brake. You can deactivate the system at any time by braking to a standstill or taking over the steering.
When the car has finished parking, a message pops up on the display to advise you to take over the steering.
Park Assist is a £150 option on the Golf, which some might consider an unnecessary extra, but it’s something I would be willing to pay for as I have to parallel park almost every day on a busy street. And the system is certainly a lot quicker than I am.
Self-parking is available on a number of cars now and is the first step towards self-driving vehicles. The next generation of self-parking cars can even be operated from outside the car by remote control.