Best Self-Parking System — under £25,000: Vauxhall Astra
While you might argue that larger cars that are in more immediate need of a good, reliable self-parking system, it’s often owners of smaller cars that find themselves in need of squeezing into tight parking spaces.
And it’s for that reason we’re applying the same high standards here as we do for cars costing more than £25,000. Fortunately, there are no shortage of candidates.
Once again, though, it’s the Vauxhall Astra that stands proud from the pack. As long as you choose a top-spec SRi or Elite model, the Parking Pack is a £595 option that’s well worth choosing. It’s great value as it includes blind-spot monitoring and a rear-view camera, but it’s the brilliant Advanced Park Assist feature that’s the clincher.
Press the button in front of the gearstick when you’re ready to park, and the software quickly activates the sensors and provides clear instructions as to what to do next. It parks quickly in tight gaps, which impressed our testers.
As well as being able to negotiate parallel parking bays, a longer press of the button means it can park in perpendicular bays too – a feature that’s by no means guaranteed on cars costing twice as much.
As an added bonus, the screen quality is great, and the guidelines are helpful whether or not you’re letting the Astra park itself.
Not far behind is our Highly Commended Citroen C4 Picasso and its Park Assist 360 function. It’s only available as an option on the on the range-topping Flair model, but if buyers are willing to forgo the 360-degree camera, then it comes as standard on Flair and as an option on Feel.
As with most of the functions in the C4 Picasso, there’s no physical button, so Park Assist 360 is activated through the car’s touchscreen. You can select from parallel and bay parking or the exit space function – all of which work superbly. The 360-degree camera is a nice feature, too, but it loses points because the composite image doesn’t align correctly, particularly when you’re close to another car.