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Best Self-Parking Cars: 8 Top Options

Who doesn’t dread having to park on city streets, usually in traffic and to the tune of honking from impatient fellow drivers? The bigger your car, the harder it is to maneuver into spots that seem to be getting smaller all the time. Self-parking cars — those sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks equipped with what’s typically called “park assist” or “parking assist” — are here to help.

As they become more widely available, we rate the best self-parking cars by vehicle type. Parking assist is typically available on the higher trims of each make and model, but we will give you a range of price points to suit different budgets. Our picks also take into consideration safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well as ratings from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts and consumers on Edmunds.

What is a self-parking car?

Car manufacturers have been working hard to make being on the road safer. Many cars now detect when they drift over the edge of a lane, for example, or beep if they sense you are backing up when a pedestrian is near. But this can also lead to some confusion about what exactly each safety feature means — Chevy’s rear park assist, for instance, alerts the driver when an object is near, but does not steer your car into a parking spot. Even when cars are capable of maneuvering into a space either semi-autonomously or without any driver interaction needed, they may be equipped for either parallel parking or perpendicular parking or both.

Confused? You’re not the only one. AAA has proposed standardized language for safety features, which drivers often misunderstand. When AAA studied specifically self-parking cars in 2015, it found that drivers struck the curb fewer times, used fewer maneuvers and saved time despite a survey in which 80% of respondents were confident in their own parallel parking abilities.

Not confident in yours or just want help at the wheel? Read on.

Best self-parking sedans

2019 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

$33,350 MSRP, Intelligent Parking Assist included

4.7 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (5 reviews)

Not rated by NHTSA; IIHS Top Safety Pick

53 city, 55 highway, 54 combined MPG

Described as having “smooth and effortless” driving, this small plug-in hybrid car may be your favorite for scooting around town, and then magically gliding into a parking spot. To get Intelligent Parking Assist, you must purchase the Advanced trim, which is a top trim and pricier than other models. Toyota says that the Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) scans for nearby stationary objects, and if it anticipates a collision, it “politely” notifies you, and applies brakes if necessary. Better yet, use the Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA), and let the car park itself while you control the gas and brake. The 2020 version of the Toyota Prius Prime is coming this summer.

2019 Mercedes-Benz E 300 4Matic Sedan

$57,290 MSRP with Parking Assistance Package

4.6 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.2 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (9 reviews)

Not rated by NHTSA, IIHS Top Safety Pick+

21 city, 29 highway, 24 combined MPG

Active Parking Assist isn’t the only thing you get with the Parking Assistance Package, which includes a Surround View System and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. For an additional $2,250, you can also get semi-automated driver assistance technology: the Driver Assistance Package lists 14 ways it helps keep you on the straight and narrow, including Active Steering Assist, Active Distance Assist and Active Speed Limit Assist. The hard part might be deciding among the vast array of personalization options (at an additional cost), such as an air system that fills the cabin with fragrances.

Best self-parking crossover SUVs

2019 Ford Escape Titanium

$32,620 MSRP, park assist included

4.1 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (12 reviews)

5 out of 5 stars by NHTSA

21 city, 29 highway, 24 combined MPG

This is a compact crossover, with the added surprise that it can still tow a load. Its maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, with available 2.0-liter EcoBoost and Class II Trailer Tow Package. The standard hands-free foot-activated liftgate is a nice perk with the Escape’s top trim along with its parking assist system. Parallel Parking scans for an appropriate space, and then helps you steer into the space while you control the gear shifter, accelerator and brakes. Park Out Assist gives you instructions as you get back out of that tight spot. Reverse Perpendicular Parking finds a suitable parking spot and helps you back into it. Rounding out the parking assistance is the Side Sensing System, which emits a warning when you get too close to objects on either side of you.

2019 Cadillac XT5 Premium Luxury

$55,790 MSRP with Driver Assist Package

4 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.7 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (10 reviews)

5 out of 5 stars by NHTSA

19 city, 26 highway, 22 combined MPG

The luxury brand’s crossover SUV offers bells and whistles, including steering itself into a parking space. Don’t expect to haul the soccer team in it, though. Unlike its big brother Escalade, it doesn’t have a third row of seats. The Driver Assist Package includes not only Automatic Parking Assist and Automatic Seat Belt Tightening, but Adaptive Cruise Control as well.

Best self-parking SUVs

2019 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium

$48,395 MSRP

4.4 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.1 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (18 reviews)

5 out of 5 stars by NHTSA

17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined MPG

A third-row SUV, the Atlas comes with seven adult-sized seats, but even the back row is easy to access. If you take the whole squad downtown, you can use Park Assist to slide into a spot like a pro, even with all those passengers watching. Park Assist first determines if a spot is big enough for your Volkswagen, and then it helps steer it into the space while you operate the accelerator, brake and shifter. You’ll also quickly get used to warming up your car before you head out into the cold, with remote start, another standard feature on the Atlas’ top trim. It also comes with all-wheel drive, which Volkswagen calls 4MOTION®.

2019 Ford Expedition Limited

$69,455 MSRP with 302A Package

4.7 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 4.3 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (8 reviews)

5 out of 5 stars by NHTSA

17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined MPG

This is no wimpy commuter’s car. You could use it to commute with up to eight passengers, or take the whole family and a boat or RV to the lake on the weekend. In order to get Enhanced Active Park, you’ll have to get the 302A Package, available starting on the Limited trim. Enhanced Active Park steers the car in and out of parallel and perpendicular parking spots. On certain 2020 models, the system does the steering, shifting, accelerating and braking.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

$69,500 MSRP, Park Pack included

5 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 5 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (3 reviews)

Not rated by NHTSA

80 city, 72 highway, 76 combined MPG

If the words “electric vehicle” and “SUV” sound strange together, the I-Pace brings them together in a critic-pleasing package. Kelley Blue Book says that it “combines the athleticism of an SUV with all the best attributes of an EV.” But it’ll cost you at nearly 70 grand. Jaguar’s Park Pack, included as a standard feature with the Jaguar I-Pace, helps you park in several different ways, including steering you in and out of parallel and perpendicular spaces. The driver controls the vehicle’s speed. In addition to park assist, the Park Pack includes the 360 degree Parking Aid with sensors that indicate how close you are to obstacles. The Rear Traffic Monitor warns you of traffic or pedestrians approaching from either side as you back up. The Clear Exit Monitor helps passengers exit the car safely, warning them of oncoming cars, cyclists and other hazards.

2019 Lincoln Navigator Select

$80,195 MSRP with Technology Package

4.7 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 5 out of 5 stars by consumers on Edmunds (3 reviews)

Not rated by NHTSA

16 city, 23 highway, 19 combined MPG

Here’s the grown-up in the room. The Lincoln Navigator Reserve is massive and immensely capable. You may actually need parking assist with a vehicle this size, if you brave urban streets in it. Its active parking assist, part of the SUV’s optional technology package available starting on the Select trim, will maneuver the vehicle into a parallel parking spot. Ultrasonic sensors help locate an available spot and, while you control the shifter buttons, brake and accelerator, steer the vehicle into place.

How we selected the best self-parking cars

If you’re looking for the best self-parking car, you still need the best car overall for performance, dependability, and comfort. We selected cars with high ratings from both Kelley Blue Book experts and Edmunds consumers. It’s worth noting that critics and consumers aren’t necessarily rating the trims we selected above — none of these vehicles offer a self-parking feature on the base version.

We also preferred cars with a 4-star or better safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when the rating is available. We also indicated when a vehicle was an Insurance Institute for Highway (IIHS) Top Safety Pick.

Our list includes cars at a variety of price points, for different drivers’ needs. The MSRP shown is for the specific trim of each vehicle, as shown on manufacturer websites at time of publication.

How to finance the best self-parking cars

You can apply for a car loan at the bank or credit union where you do business, of course. Or you can fill out a single form on LendingTree and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders, based on your creditworthiness. Either way, you can take your preapproved auto loan to the dealership. If the dealer can beat the terms of your preapproved loan, great. If not, using a preapproved loan with a lower interest rate can save you money over the life of your loan.

 

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