VW Trailer Assist – Hot or Not?
New hands-free technology from Volkswagen makes reverse parking a caravan child’s play.
Reversing a caravan or camper trailer into a tight spot is something many drivers find tricky and often stressful. But now Volkswagen has come up with clever new technology that basically reverses a boat or caravan into position without the driver having to steer. To be fitted to the latest Volkswagen Passat mid-sized passenger car, Trailer Assist is part of an upgraded parking aid assist package on the new model that also includes front parking into perpendicular spaces and parallel parking.
It works when the driver selects Reverse and presses the Trailer Assist button on the centre console. The rear view camera then brings up a view of the towbar and hitch on a display screen on the dash. There’s also a diagram that allows the driver to dial in the desired angle (left, right or straight back) using the side mirror toggle switches in the door rests. The car then steers itself into position, with the driver moderating the speed (up to 3km/h) as well as forward or reverse direction and braking as required. As you can see from the video below, it works a treat in practice.
The only drawback is that with an expected towing capacity of less than two tonnes, the eighth-generation Passat will have limited appeal as a tow tug. However, it’s likely the marriage saving technology will be rolled out on other, more tow worthy Volkswagens like the Touareg SUV and Amarok.