How to Use Intelligent Parking Assist in a Toyota Prius

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The Toyota Prius is an innovative vehicle packed with features that make your driving experience smoother and easier. One such feature is the Intelligent Parking Assist which helps a driver to properly center the Prius in a parking spot.

The Toyota Prius’ Intelligent Parking Assist feature was first introduced in the Prius lineup for the 2009 model in the third generation of Prius. It was developed initially by the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1999 for hybrid models in Japan, and has been rolled out on several models worldwide ever since.

The Toyota Prius Intelligent Parking Assist feature utilizes several advanced technological components to function including:

  • A backup camera
  • Backup sonar sensors
  • Electric power steering
  • Forward sonar sensors

An advanced onboard computer uses the information collected by the sensors during operation to calculate the optimum position to place the vehicle, and then controls the vehicle’s steering to place the vehicle in that location.

  • Note: It must be emphasized that Intelligent Parking Assist is just an assist and cannot be responsible for the complete action of parking your car. As the driver of the car, you still need to position the vehicle properly to begin the parking assist program, and you are also responsible for maintaining control of the process using the braking system.

Here’s how to use the Toyota Prius’ Intelligent Parking Assist feature.

Part 1 of 2: Parallel park your car

By far, the most daunting task for most drivers is the act of parallel parking. It requires precision skill and control of the vehicle’s steering in order to place the vehicle in close proximity to the curb without hitting another vehicle.

The Intelligent Parking Assist feature in the Prius helps you with just that.

Step 1: Locate a parallel parking spot. Select a spot you feel comfortable navigating into and make sure that it is safe to park your Prius in it.

  • Note: The spot should be at least one and a half times the length of your vehicle.

birds eye view of cars driving

Step 2: Approach the parking spot. Drive up to the parking spot so that it is located on the right hand side of your vehicle.

  • Signal to the right to announce your intent to park in that spot, and slow down to less than 10 miles per hour.

  • Tip: Position your vehicle within 3 feet of the vehicle on your right side.

intelligent parking button button

Step 3: Activate the Intelligent ParkAssist feature. Press the Intelligent Parking Assist Button located underneath the power button on the instrument panel to the right of the steering wheel.

parallel parking mode

The touch screen display of the Prius will show “Parallel Parking Mode”.

Step 4: Wait for the ParkAssist tone. Slowly drive past the parking space until you hear a tone.

Stop your Prius when you hear the tone.

Step 5: Shift your car into reverse. Activate the reverse mode by moving the shifter as indicated on the shifter knob diagram.

screen positioning screen

Once you’re in reverse mode, the touch screen will display view of the parking spot from the backup camera.

A box is indicated in the parking spot, and directional arrows are displayed on the screen.

If the box doesn’t line up with the parking spot, adjust the box with the arrows until it is directly in the center of the parking space.

  • Tip: A yellow flag icon will be displayed on the screen to indicate the corner of the closest obstacle, typically the car bumper beside you.

  • Tip: If required, move the flag icon to the correct location on the screen by dragging it with your finger.

Step 6: Confirm the positions. When the item positions are correct, press the OK button on the lower right corner of the touch screen and release the steering wheel.

Step 7: Apply the brake. Keep applying light pressure on the brake pedal.

car backing into parking spot

Step 8: Control your car’s speed. The Intelligent Parking Assist feature will take control over the steering wheel and steer your car into the parking spot while you control the speed with the brake.

Step 9: Wait for the guidance complete tone. Once your Prius is fully inside the parking spot, you will hear a tone and the message “The guidance has finished” will be audibly announced inside the vehicle.

Step 10: Apply the brake. Press the brake pedal to come to a complete stop and shift your vehicle out of reverse mode.

Step 11: Adjust your car’s position. If you need to pull ahead slightly to center your vehicle in the spot, do so. Otherwise, shift into park mode and turn off the engine.

Part 2 of 2: Back into a parking spot

Backing into a parking spot can be a challenge if you are not able to see clearly when you are reversing your car. It is important to know your car’s dimensions and know how far to back up so that you avoid hitting something.

With the Intelligent Parking Assist feature, your Prius can steer your car into position while you maintain control with the brake.

ipa button on prius dash

Step 1: Activate the Intelligent Parking Assist feature. As you approach the parking spot, press the Intelligent Parking Assist button twice.

  • Note: Pressing twice puts the system in back-in mode.

Step 2: Listen for the ParkAssist tone. Drive slowly past the parking spot until you hear an audible tone inside the car.

hand steering wheel away

Step 3: Position your car. When you hear the tone, turn the steering wheel fully away from the parking spot and position your vehicle to back in.

Step 4: Stop the car. Come to a complete stop when you hear the guidance tone indicating that you are at a suitable distance to back into the spot.

Step 5: Center the wheels. Turn the steering wheel back to the center position, while keeping your foot pressed on the brake, so that the car does not move further.

Step 6: Shift your car into reverse. Shift your transmission into reverse mode.

inside view of car

Step 7: Confirm the parking spot position. The touch screen will display the backup camera view.

Position the box in the parking spot and adjust the flag marking the corner of the nearest obstacle.

Press the OK button when you are ready to begin.

Step 8: Control your car’s speed. Release the steering wheel and maintain light pressure on the brake pedal to control your vehicle speed while the parking assist feature steers you into the spot.

  • Note: Be prepared to apply the brake pedal when your Prius reaches the final parking position.

  • Warning: The Intelligent Parking Assist feature is only an assist. You are still responsible for maintaining control of your car and stopping before you collide with an object or another vehicle.

Step 9: Wait for the guidance complete tone. When the car is backed into the parking spot fully, a tone will be sounded along with the audible message, “The guidance has finished”.

Step 10: Stop and park the car. Press the brake to come to a complete stop, then shift your transmission into parking mode.

The Toyota Prius’ Intelligent Parking Assist feature is valuable aid that helps you park your vehicle but can’t replace a driver’s intelligence. It’s a good idea to perform your own parallel parking and reverse parking maneuvers occasionally to make sure you are able to in the event that you need to.


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