The Prius is best known for its remarkable Hybrid Synergy Drive which, along with its slippery aerodynamics and plenty of other clever technology, lets it achieve such remarkable economy and emissions figures.
But there’s a lot more hi-tech wizardry on board the third-generation Prius, and like the full hybrid drivetrain, a lot of it goes towards making the car a doddle to drive. We recently took a T Spirit out on the roads to explore a user-friendly feature found on that grade of Prius: Intelligent Parking Assist.
As its name suggests, IPA aims to make it easier to park Prius. We could go on about how the system works and how you use it, but it’s hard to describe the thrill and convenience of having a car steer itself into a parking spot – so we made this video to show you the gadget in action.
As you can see, IPA can help you back into a regular space, such as you might find in a supermarket car park, or it can help you parallel park. In either case, using the system is as simple as driving past the space you want to park in and following the prompts. Once IPA has the measure of the space, it does all the steering for you as you slowly reverse into the perfect position.
Although the system felt like science fiction for the first few times I used it, I soon grew to trust it, finding that it helped take the stress out of parking. And, after my past bad luck reversing a second-generation car, I’ll take all the help I can get.
Please note: manoeuvring without holding the steering wheel is potentially dangerous so great care should be exercised at all times. Please see pages 216-284 of the navigation system owner’s manual for safety advice and full operational details.