Parking aid test

26 Mar, 2008 12:09pm

There are more gadgets than ever on sale to help make parking easier. So which is best?

With cars getting bigger and parking spaces tighter, scrapes are all too common when you are backing into a bay! Repairs to put right any scratches and dings that might result from a clumsy manoeuvre are expensive, so it pays to get a little help when you’re reversing.

Even touch-parking can leave unsightly scrapes on the painted bumpers of today’s models. These could require a visit from the SMART repair van in order to maximise your vehicle’s value before you sell it.

Reversing aids are fitted to many new cars, but there are also plenty of retro-fit solutions, ranging from simple audible warnings to full-colour cameras and screens. Some of the former are combined with small visual displays, yet there is nothing like actually seeing where you are going. That’s where the cameras and monitors come in. So which reversing aids do we rate? To find out, we put 10 to the test.

The test
We tried five products which had audible warnings and five with displays. In each test, the car was backed up in turn to a parked vehicle, a bollard and a laid-flat hose reel. We noted when the warnings were activated and for how long they continued. Marks were given for build quality, instructions, ease of operation and value for money. Tow bars can cause problems for sensors, so extra points were awarded to units that could be programmed to ignore them.


Performance was surprisingly good, so features and price became the main factors. The Dolphin gave excellent results, followed closely by Veba’s AVRS1A. Despite being more costly, the easy-to-fit Meta Targa SR2 is a great choice if you don’t want to drill into bumpers.