Parking up – using the Prius’ parking assist

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.

Comments (18)

    1. What is on the screen, does it change at all ?
      The camera comes on when you engage reverse gear, you don’t have to do anything.
      Is the camera lense covered with something ?

  1. I have just purchased 2010 Prius Tspirit. Can I use my Ipod Touch, that has Bluetooth, to play music without connecting to the AUX connection?

  2. I took delivery of a Pruis 1/10/09. I am either a bad driver or your figures are very misleading. I drive about 20,000 mile per year & since Jan.1st I have done 3809 miles, used 73.12 gal.fuel = 52.09 mpg. 50% of my mileage is motorway & generally we keep to the speed limits, wife & I are both just over 70, so we are not young
    tear a ways. We drive in the ECO Mode at all times.
    Are we doing something wrong, or is there something wrong with this car?
    Please can you help.

    1. I am due to take delivery of a T Spirit Prius next Monday (22 March). I haven’t been able to get a clear answer from the dealer as to how my iPod Touch will interface with the Prius’ entertainment centre.

      I have been quoted £250 for getting the iPod package fitted by the dealer but don’t know if this is the only way to use an iPod in the Prius.

      Any info/experiences on this point would be gratefully received.



  3. Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for your reply. So please can you clarify why I experience this unusual braking only over uneven road surfaces, such as a pot hole. I have no issues with the braking other than on these occasion which have happened on very rare occasions. Many thanks


  4. Can the bleeping noise generated when reverse gear is engaged be turned off. I was told it is there to tell you you are in reverse but on the T Spirit the fact that the camera comes on is a pretty good notification.
    If it is to warn people around you that you are reversing then it should be more pronounced outside the car than inside !!

    1. Graham,

      The reversing gong can be changed to a single gong rather than a continuous one. This is easily changed by your dealer, who will also be able to tell you whether the volume can be reduced.

  5. Occasional issues with the breaks on the current model Prius.

    I took delivery of the current model T Spirit Prius in October 2009.

    The car is very economical and drives well, except on very rare occasions where the car has strangely accelerated when I had pressed the break. This happens when breaking over uneven road surfaces such as a pothole.

    The acceleration is very brief and the car does eventually slow down however this is very worrying at the point it accelerates.

    I also occasionally notice a strange noise when I press the breaks and I can only describe it as a kind of a honking noise.

    I would very much like to hear from other owners of this Prius model on whether they have experienced similar issues with their breaks.

    I would also like to hear from Toyota on whether this is a concern and if I need to take my car in to a Toyota garage?

    Many thanks


    1. Hi Sanjay,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We’d like to reassure you that there is no safety issue related to the Prius’ braking system. The change in braking feeling you experience is due to the shift between the hydraulic and electric braking systems.

      If you have further concerns, please call our Customer Relations team on 0800 1388 744. Thanks.

    1. Hi again Neil,

      Thanks for your patience!

      I spoke to a Prius engineer about this. He said there is no specified minimum distance required, but that a number of factors influence how Prius interprets the space – things like the way surrounding cars are parked, and the way you prepare the Prius. Every time you park it’ll be slightly different.

      Sorry I’m not able to give you a definitive answer!

  6. I have a new Prius T Spirt registered October 2009. Is a iPhone 3GS compatible with the bluetooth phone system in the car?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.