One of the bugbears for greenhorns taking their driving test is the grind of parking. Fail this, and you can kiss your license goodbye. Until the next test, that is.
The bad news is you still have to pass your parking to score a license. The good news is, once you do, you may never have to worry about parking again. You can get your own chauffeur--or Volkswagen is bringing its Tiguan to Singapore roads, joining the rarified car marques here like Toyota Estima Aeras in offering an intelligent parking system.
Volkswagen's 2-liter SUV will launch in early September in the Republic with its nifty auto-parking feature. But like the Toyota, this is extended as an option. So if you desire this functionality, factor in an additional amount (price to be revealed later) to the car's $74,425 sticker (with COE, for 150bhp turbo engine; $88,600 for the 200bhp version).
There's another catch: this only parallel parks and it isn't quite fully automatic. Volkswagen only recently showcased its second-gen auto-parking system that will do vertical lots and doesn't even require a warm body in the car while parking.
But for now, the driver still has to control the accelerator pedal, brake, and clutch while the Tiguan steers into a pre-measured space under sensor control. As a safety feature, the moment the driver manually intervenes in the steering process, the Park Assist function is deactivated.
Also, before you can say, "Look ma, no hands," just know that hands-free doesn't equate to attention-free. The Parking Assist Feature will most assuredly park your car. But it won't brake for any moving obstacle getting in its way. You still have to keep your eyes peeled for that dog, cat, or kid dashing into the car's path.
Still, if you're one of those people inclined to break out into a cold sweat inching the car endlessly in and out of a cramped parking space, this little tech party trick could help lower your blood pressure.
A comparison of the Volkswagen and Toyota Estima Aeras' auto-parking system can be found here. Or have a look at the Tiguan's auto-parking feature in action in the video below.