One of the biggest everyday tests drivers face is how to slot their car neatly into a parallel parking space. Even those with long experience of the task can get a little frustrated if they haven’t done it recently and have gotten a little rusty at the practice. Cue several attempts at getting the complicated maneuver right, or worse, a gouge in one of the car’s left side alloy wheels as it comes into scrubbing range of the roadside curb when it goes wrong.
Be warned that you’ll find the most vicious curbs in global motoring in the older suburbs of New Zealand’s largest city - Auckland. The roads of these are lined with unforgiving basalt bricks carved out by the hard labour of the prisoners of Mount Eden jail in the early 20th Century, and an alloy wheel might as well be made of soft putty when it comes into contact with their diamond-hard surfaces. Often this embarrassing scrunching leaves errant drivers all the more red-faced because the damage that they did to their own car has just been witnessed by several members of the public.
Fortunately, the Park Assist driving aid fitted to some of today’s new cars have already saved much egg-on-driver’s-face.
The hands-free parking feature first appeared on the New Zealand market with the launch of the first-generation Volkswagen Touran back in 2008, and continues to be fitted as standard equipment to many models in Volkswagen New Zealand’s passenger car range.
The entry price to the technology that driver-proofs against ‘Minties moments’ occurring while parallel parking is $34,750, which gives you the key to the Volkswagen T-Cross Life, the most accessible model in VW’s expanding SUV range.
Park Assist might be viewed as an unnecessary feature in something as compact and easy to drive as the T-Cross, but Volkswagen’s much-updated latest version is so simple to use and accurate that it soon becomes second nature to use it. On larger VW seven-seat SUVs, like the Tiguan Allspace or the mighty Touareg V8, it’s an absolute godsend.
Park Assist sits well with the Volkswagen badge given that the company has always been focused on making personal mobility more accessible. These days there’s a focus on increased personal safety to accompany that mobility.
Other driver assessment systems found on all new Volkswagens sold here include Blind Spot Monitoring (lights illuminate on the side mirrors whenever vehicles occupy lanes directly adjacent to the vehicle) and Front Assist, a combination of Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking which can detect pedestrians and vehicles at the edge of the road.
The latter can even perform an emergency stop if the distance becomes critical, helping to avoid potential accidents.
It is this full suite of safety-focused driving aids which has helped Volkswagen earn a five-star safety rating across its entire passenger car range.
The New Zealand website has lots of handy comparison tools so that potential buyers can easily configure both the car of their dreams and choose an appropriate level of customer service to support their investment.
Given all the assistance on offer, both at purchase time and throughout the ownership period, there isn’t really much more you need to think about when it comes to owning and driving a Volkswagen. Meanwhile, those pesky roadside curbs can now relax whenever there’s a VW backing towards them, ensuring that parallel parking is no longer a contact sport.