What Does This Button Do?

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Steering wheels provide this series with great content because they're often overcrowded with buttons. The 2013 Ford Fusion's crowded steering wheel seems to have run out of space and relocated one confusing button to the center console. The button in question displays a steering wheel and the letter "P."

Don't worry, we believe the P steering wheel button is sanitary, plus the Fusion doesn't have a clean diesel engine with urea injection. Another more logical and non-bathroom-related guess is a variable power-steering assist system, which on other cars varies the wheel's power-steering assist for comfort or performance; on a button, it's often represented by a steering wheel.

That's not it either. Instead, the Fusion's P steering wheel button activates the Active Park Assist automatic parking system. Active Park Assist parallel parks the Fusion using ultrasonic sensors that identify a suitable parking space and then steer the Fusion to the space without intervention from human hands. You still have to accelerate and brake while the system does the more difficult job of automatically steering into a space without ripping off the car's bumpers.

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Active Park Assist works extraordinarily well. The sensors pick an appropriately sized space and navigate the Fusion with precision while giving you plenty of notice if the car steers too close to an insurance claim. Competency and speed in using the system comes with frequency. It's an expensive option, however, at $895.
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Related
Auto-Parking System Challenge
More Buttons Demystified on Cars.com
Ford Fusion News

Comments 

RayG

If you can't PARK a car properly, then you shouldn't DRIVE a car at all. And no excuses for the "elderly", "handicapped", etc... If you can't control your car in the first place, it shouldn't be controlled for you in a parking space. Sensors to say that you're close to an object, fine.

Bill

For $895, I'll drive around a little until I find an easier place to park.

Dave Svoboda

RayG, the same emotional argument could be made about ABS, or for that matter, automatic transmissions.

Alex


Only $895? That doesn't seem very expensive for the function.

Leo

Lexus was the first one to come out with this feature on their LS 460's.

David Palmer

It was an option on my Mercedes for $900. I have to street park in the city, so I did give it some thought, but since I've been street parking for the most part of 30 years, I thought $900 could be put to better use.

Uts

The math makes it a good choice. If you only parallel park once a day, or 5x week and take a vacation every year, you'd use it 250 times (conservatively). If you keep the car 5 years that would be 1250 parallel parking opportunities. That would be about 85 cents to park without worrying about bumps, dings, nicks, claims etc. Plus you probably would do it without having to claim a mulligan and start over. Sounds like an economic good deal.

Does anyone remember a coiled wire stick attached to the tire? Was that for help parking?

Blank

- U mean "Curb Feelers"?

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