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Parking is a chore in any downtown area. I recently took the 2017 Kia Soul Turbo for a spin in an area with construction zones everywhere, even in the parking garages. Fortunately, I also tested an app called UVO that let me set a few parking reminders.

The app syncs to the car using the VIN number. After I parked, I could set a GPS-based parking reminder. It’s essentially marking the car on a map, which allows you to retrace your steps if you forget where you parked. It’s a fairly common feature with luxury cars, but lately it’s become an option in lower-priced cars as well. (The Kia Soul base price is $16,100.)

Fortunately, there’s more to the app than setting a waypoint pin on a map. I also noticed I could set a meter reminder if I had parked on a side-street. You can set the amount of time you need, and the app will count down the reminder for you. Then you can select how far in advance you want the alert to pop up — such as 10 minutes before your meter is set to expire.

The Parking Minder has another interesting feature. When I parked in Minneapolis, I was near the Uptown area. It’s a confusing area because the shops and restaurants all look somewhat alike, and the streets are fairly straight and indistinguishable. More than one person I know has forgotten where they parked in this area, after having assumed they would be able to identify one of the shops or a landmark.  After I parked in an overhead garage, I used the app to take a picture of a sign out front. Then I took another photo of the pizza place nearby. I knew if for some reason I couldn’t find the location on the map, I could easily look up the pizza place in Google Maps.

The app also lets you send the car location to a friend by email. This could be handy if you were meeting someone after a movie or a lunch and wanted to meet at the car instead of in a public place. I tried this with a friend and included a note about looking for the black Kia Soul. It worked great because the email he received was easy to use and understand.

One other feature lets you write a note about your parking reminder. This might be helpful if you want to mention any landmarks or include a comment about your plans after dinner. All told, there are quite a few ways to remind yourself about where you parked.

The app works on both Android and iOS, and the Kia Soul lets you connect your phone using USB for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto services when you’re driving.

The UVO app was easy to use, although it might have been interesting to be able to connect to another UVO app user and even determine the distance between two parked cars (and then decide who should drive based on the parking location in the same geographic area). And I could see future apps knowing I’m in a parking garage and marking my location automatically without my having to use the app.

For now, it’s a good way to keep your sanity when you park in a crowded area.

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