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Kia Sorento Real World MPG



  • ennui101ennui101 Posts: 7
    Winter2, you make a lot of good points. From my own experience (2012 Sorento with 6 cyl) I get about 19 mpg around town, 25-26 mpg on a 180 mile trip from my home to Boston, which is mostly highway, if I'm pushing. On the return trip - since there is no deadline - I tend to get 27 mpg (sometimes even up to 29 mpg) because I am driving more slowly.
    I seem to get the best mileage with Sunoco regular (true across several cars). My speculation is that because the grade is mixed at the pump, there may somehow be a bit less ethanol in the mix (to make things safe for high-octane customers). Ethanol impacts mpg, in my experience, up to 1-2 mpg. Sunoco gives me about 1 mpg better mileage than other brands.
    Best mileage may also be in spring & fall when windows are less likely to be open and a/c less likely to be on. If you think about it, driving at speed with the sunroof full open is like driving with a parachute attached.
    Overall I'm getting around 22 mpg with the 6 (now at roughly 13,500 miles), compared to the 25 I got overall with my Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
    Doesn't seem so bad.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited July 2012
    I dunno, if "high performance" air filters did any good, the manufacturers would specify them. They'll do just about any little thing to help them meet fleet CAFE standards. Maybe they think the risk of increased warranty claims from more dirt getting through outweighs any benefit, but I bet it's just a non-factor vs "normal" paper filters.

    One thing that helped my van's mpg was throwing away the middle seat when it was new. :shades: That's a bit extreme but it does help to get rid of the junk in your trunk.

    I don't think the added expense of synthetic oil pays off either, unless you can always find it on sale for a price similar to regular oil. The price differential is worse if you don't change your own oil too. But some makes specific synthetic for some models while the rest are just spec'ing 5W20 regular oil.

    Driving style is probably the biggest factor.

    What Really Saves Gas? And How Much?

    Save Gas with Smart Driving and Slick Aerodynamics
  • joehickjoehick Posts: 28
    I have read and posted here many times re: my 4 cyl 2012 Sorento. I have complained here and to the president of America Kia, of course with no results, as a matter of fact they sent me a color brochure on how to drive more fuel efficient. I mailed the brochure back to him with a few words After talking to customer service I agreed to wait for a break in period of 6000 miles and low and behold I am getting a whopping 14 mpg city, and a 21 mpg hwy. I guess I should be happy, I was getting 12 city, and 16 hwy.
    The bottom line here is the car is to big to pull a 5000 lb. vehicle, with a 4cyl. No matter what they say.
    Have already pushed people away from this vehicle, and will trade it in as soon as possible,(financially). To bad to, I really like the car.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    edited July 2012
    First off your stats for this vehicles weight are way off. The Curb weight of a Sorento w/4 cylinder AWD is 3878 lbs not 5000 lbs.

    Just curious what part of the country you live? I got 23.5 mpg Highway on my 2012 Toyota Highlander Limited V6 AWD which comes in at 4500 lbs on a trip to Pittsburgh and back. I found that my 2011 Sorento EX V6 Fwd got about 25 mpg on this trip which is very hilly mixed with Mountains. I could get close to 27 mpg when we drove flat two lane country roads at 55 mph. City was never good nor is it good in the Highlander. We traded the Sorento for the Toyota.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801

    I have used K&N filters in various vehicles over the years. I have never had an issue with a K&N and have never had a warranty issue either. As to more dirt passing through, not likely. For turbo engines, I find that these filters reduce turbo lag to almost nil. Again, I have never had any dirt contamination. For my 2010 Mercury Milan with the 2.5L four cylinder, I am using an Amsoil dry air filter. When I changed over, the difference in performance was significant enough. The engine pulled a bit better.

    As to synthetic oil, I disagree with you. I find that synthetics keep the engine far cleaner than conventional oils and are far more durable under severe conditions. Again, I use Amsoil lubricants, something I have been doing since the early 1990's. With the newer engines having variable valve timing I believe it is imperative that the mechanisms be kept very clean and that they have lots of lubrication available. Also, consider the fact that auto makers are making vehicles more aerodynamic means less air flow through the engine compartment and higher heat conditions that the oil must deal with. Add to that the fact smaller engines are now producing power means more heat that puts additional stress on the oil.

    My wife drives a 1998 Chrysler Concorde with the 2.7L V-6, a notorious engine for making sludge and having a short life. It has had synthetic oil in it for most of it's life and has been trouble free and is spotless inside. It runs quietly, has no oil consumption, nor any valve train noise whatsoever.

    Most engines these days are going to a 5W-20 oil. I find that the synthetics hold up far better than conventional at such a low viscosity.
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    Your comment about the sunroof is interesting. We have a sunroof on the Mercury and I have found a solution to the "parachute" issue. I open the back windows two to three inches and that seems to make a big difference. The front windows are closed. Try that and see if it helps.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Different strokes. I typically use Fram oil filters and regular Super Tech motor oil from Walmart (but I'm not adverse to buying other brands if I happen onto a sale). Amsoil is practically a neighbor of mine, but they are just a MLM company that also sells such stuff as male enhancement pills through their health division. The company doesn't give me a lot of confidence.

    Unless you have some dyno results or oil analyses, seat of the pants "feel" is just that; seat of the pants. If I spent a lot of money on high end filters and synthetic oil for my passenger cars, I'd want to think the performance was better too and that there was no engine wear occurring.

    Out in the real world, there's just no bang for buck evidence to justify the high grade stuff. Bet you won't find many fleet owners going that route either. And I drive them forever (we've owned 4 cars since 1982, around 450k).
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    As you say, "different strokes for different folks". As I have said, I have used synthetics since the early 1990's and yes there is some "seat of the pants" but the increase in fuel economy is something I can and have documented. Also, the valve train, especially in OHC engines runs much quieter and the starting in really cold weather is much easier. I use synthetic fluids in the transmissions of my vehicles and beside a much smoother shift, cold weather performance is significantly better.

    Amsoil might be an MLM company, but all reality which company is not? What they sell beside their lubricants is of little interest to me. All I know is that since I started using synthetics, I have had no sludge build up and have had almost no wear in engines notorious for both, engines such as the Chrysler 2.7L V-6.
  • onefunkaronefunkar Posts: 113
    i still say sorento weighs too much for a small 4 cyl and it may get good mileage in government tests (and good luck sueing the government about gas mileage) the v6 has more power, works much easier and gets the same if not better mileage.
  • joehickjoehick Posts: 28
    You are absolutley correct. The sorrento is to big for a 4 cyl. it is something I have been saying all along and even voiced my oppinon to KIA America re: this issue. If I had to do over again I would buy the 6 cyl.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    This is the ONLY vehicle my wife found the seats to be comfortable, so I had no choice--except the V6. I still find it difficult to believe that the V6 gets better mileage. Consumer Reports says the 4-cyl Sorento gets 20 mpg average. The EPA says the GDI-4 gets 25 average. did not have any real-life numbers for the 2013. Maybe some of you might take time to report your experience on that site. This gets the government's attention, even though it is only a few people reporting. My only goal was to get the best gas mileage while keeping my wife comfortable...and I would be happy with 24. I got 19.5 on the first tank, but the trip odometer mpg read 21.4 (that's a 10% error)! This is BS to expect better mileage after a 10,000 mile break-in. That used to be true. In fact, if the piston rings are that tight, the compression will drop as the engine breaks in and the mileage may suffer, as some have reported. There certainly has to be some kind of chicanery to have so many complain so consistently. Was the EPA duped? Did they change the aerodynamics? Did they adjust the timing from performance to efficiency just for the test?

    I noticed that my engine idles very rough. The salesman blamed it on the A/C. It does it when the A/C is off. Anyone else have that problem? The engine and transmission seem to perform as expected, and I am otherwise happy with the vehicle's handling, ride and comfort, as well as the EVO and bluetooth.

    I'm going to dun the service department for the first 30 days until they do something drastic: Maybe a new engine control chip or a flash reprogramming. (The EVO didn't work right until I rebooted it.) I keep reading about the after-market chips which can improve mileage, but I'm not going to risk the loss of warranty.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    edited August 2012

    Is your mileage calculated or from the trip odometer readout? What you get is what I expected. I also follow the speed limit and know every technique to improve mileage. I averaged 37 mpg in my Honda Civic in the last decade. I think that these Theta-2 engines are not all made in Korea. There may be substantial differences between them. I tried to decipher the VIN but apparently the 2013 numbering is different, since it doesn't fit any of the identifying guides and gets "unknown" in the Kia VIN program. I can't find an identifier on the engine.

  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    edited August 2012
    My engine has a tag on the grounding strap (located on the passenger side between the low pressure--large diameter--A/C tubing and the power steering hose, at the base of the front suspension spring housing. It reads "assembled in Mexico." I read multiple online Hyundai denials of a plant in Mexico, and the new GDI 4-cylinder engines are suppossedly assembled in Georgia--or will be soon. Perhaps there is a big difference. It might explain why there is so much variation in gas mileage. The Theta-II won a prize for the most advanced engine in 2009. The electronic control module (originally from Siemens) is the most complex part of the engine, and it most certainly has variable programming. (This engine still has mechanical cam-controlled valves, but future engines may well have individual computer-controlled electromechanical valves, providing a lighter power plant. My engine has no knock or loss of power, so there has to be an effective ECM, but can it be safely adjusted? There is an after-market ECM which allows a laptop connection showing all the variable settings for their system. Does Kia have a similar monitor which they can use with the 19-pin diagnostic connection in the engine compartment--or with the 16-pin (7 active) connector at the driver's side fusebox?
  • onefunkaronefunkar Posts: 113
    my v6 averages 23-24 for normal driving. 27 on a recent trip. trip computer is probably more accurate than manually figuring unless you do it over many taNKS as it is very hard to fill to the same spot every time. mileage on sticker is for epa test. im sure in this computer age they can design and tune cars to do good on tests.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    I'm happy for you, onefunkar but I believe there is a difference between vehicles. If Kia can tune my vehicle to be like yours, I will be happy. But they have denied there is a problem. I learned that recently the EPA testing lab is only testing 15% of the vehicle ratings that they publish! Instead, they use specific data from the manufacturer... The EPA is more concerned about emissions than mileage, I think, although they list one of their mandates as "decreasing the consumption of fossil fuel". They will test vehicles if they have reason to believe that the data are inaccurate. I am referring them to this forum and to Kelly Blue Book Kia Owner's Forum, which has similar complaints from a substantial number of people. I have even offered to drive my Kia to Ann Arbor, MI for testing. Is anyone else interested in joining my endeavor? How about joehick?
  • jawilson: Just read your post to onefuncar. I just returned from a 2000 mile trip from Texas to Georgia along I-10 and got between 31 and 32 mpg highway driving on Chevron regular. I drove between 65 and 70 mph. I have a 2012 EX GDI with 8500 miles.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    newcarshoppe: Can we trade vehicles? Do you sell Kias?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The EPA relies on the manufacturers to test their vehicles per EPA guidelines. The EPA just tests a few of the cars in order to keep the manufacturers honest.
  • dmcfeedmcfee Posts: 1
    I to have been getting 13 to 15 mpg in the city. I was first told to run a few more tanks of gas thru the change took it back and was told I only averaged 18 mph and that is why it is so low. I have been very careful about stepping on the gas and my Eco light is always on which is suppose to mean you are getting the best gas mileage you can get. I told the salesman I wanted the car for city driving mainly and was buying it because of the gas mileage and size. He said it would be perfect for me. he acted very surprised with the head maintenance mans explanation. It's to bad because I think the car has a lot going for it. Love the back up mirror, heated seats and the phone works most tHe time. Just want to know if anyone else has heard this reason for bad gas mileage.
  • lanshilanshi Posts: 22
    I now have 26,000 miles on the suv and am not gettin what the salesman told me. I was told that I should get around 32 on the hwy and am getting 26. I have asked the dealership about it and they say that is the govt reports. But they use the sticker to sell the vehicle and not tell you the truth. As you can see on the blog there is alot of people upset with the gas mileage on the Kia. My Eco light is always on and it doesn't matter still 26. It is sad that the salesman are not upfront with you. I am getting ready to trade it off to a Nissan but I do like the vehicle other than the gas mileage. The service department told me to always take 20% off of the sticker mpg and that should be what I should get. I had to laugh when I read that the salesman said it would be perfect for you as that is the exact words I was told about the hwy mileage. They must get trained on that line. :mad:
  • I have about 8000 km (5000 mles) on a new 2013. Its the V6 EX and I have a heavy foot. I am getting 26-28 MPG Highway and around 18 in the city. It seems to be slowly improving. Its better than the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander LX V6 I traded in and so far the vechile has been trouble free. I typically drive 10 over the limit on the highway. The posted numbers are never realitistic and if any thinks they can get 32 MPG on a V6 SUV this size, your just fooling yourself.
  • syatlsyatl Posts: 3
    I think when you have a Sorento with V6 engine , you get better mileage than one with GDI engine. Plus you get to enjoy the POWER that V6 offers over GDI.

    On recent travel, my rental car was upgraded to a Sorento with V6 engine. I could notice a clear difference between my Sorento with GDI engine. Simply the GDI engine is not powerful enough for Sorento and you end up wasting more gas. Car is just too big for 4cyc GDI.

    Posted MPG miles can be correct. My Camry is a definite example of that. It gets 32MPG on the highway(50K miles on it) and I think that was the sticker for that vehicle.
  • jawilsonjawilson Posts: 20
    Now that I have over 700 miles on the GDI-4, the dash mpg is inflated consistently by 11%.  At last fill-up it read 24.4 mpg but measured 22.0 mpg on half highway, half city driving.  I noticed that the gas gauge is quite accurate, allowing interim estimates of real mpg  (Allowing for 4 gallons at "F" and 2 gallons at "E", the 8 markings represent 12 gallons; the half-way point indicates 10 gallons of consumption and 8 gallons remaining--or 6 to prudent refill.)  

    I also noted that at 172 miles into the trip computer, it read 24.4 mpg.  After driving 2.5 miles to WalMart, stopping 20 minutes and then making a second quick stop and returning home 2.5 miles (no idling,) the dash read 23.3!  This means I used 7 gallons of fuel (172 miles/24.4 mpg = 7 gal) to go 172 miles, and .6 gallon (178 miles/23.3 mpg = 7.6 gal) to go 6 miles  (6 miles/.6 gal = 10 mpg.)  If this is corrected for the 11% error, it is worse.  My estimate of highway mileage is about 26 mpg, but maybe I could get 32 on 500 uninterrupted  miles of interstate 95 on the way to Florida.  I get 34 mpg in my 2008 Hyundai Sonata on that trip--and it reads within +/- 2%.  This Sorento engine appears to be a fuel hog at low speeds or idling.  

    So, perhaps the average speed is an indication of gas mileage; if you average only 18 mph, there is too much idling and not enough travel in 6th gear.  My average speed was 22 mph and 22.4 mpg last time I looked.  I have never gotten the average speed above 55 in the Hyundai,  even when driving 75 mph on the interstate.  Just stop for gas, lunch, dinner, overnight, and the average speed plummets.  I noticed that the transmission will not go into 6th gear below 42 mph.  If you can travel over 42 mph, and not accelerating or going uphill, you can achieve the best mileage.

    But none of that explains why one vehicle (e.g., Honda CR-V) consistently exceeds its EPA estimates and another (Kia Sorento) frequently fails to measure up.  The EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality (Margo T. Oge, Director) insists that it measures mileage consistently from vehicle to vehicle, using the complex rules Congress has enacted. So why can't we use the EPA figures for comparison?
  • I did alot of research and test drove many vehicles in this class. I narrowed my decision between the Mazda CX5 and the Sorento. While I like them both I opted for the Kia Sorento 4cyl GDI for better purchase price # and(almost $4k less). While I realized getting 32MPG was probably a max# I was hoping for 29-30 realistically as I drive mainly highway and very little street or idle time. My MPG is running about 24mpg currently. MUCH LESS than I had bargined for or was lead to believe by the manufacturers claims. Mind you I live in Calif and have been running the a/c pretty consistently while driving. I will post update in cooler months with MPG at that time. I am hoping the draw down is caused by brand new vehicle (less than 1000 miles) and use of a/c. I am really hoping that it is not because the GDI is too small for the size/weight of the vehicle itself. . . I would not say Buyer Beware yet in as much as Buyer Be Aware of the elusive 32MPG. Don't hope for the best but know the reality!
  • I have the 6-cyl (2012). I get 23 mpg overall at 14,000 miles. I get 27-28 mpg highway but don't drive much highway. The conclusion I'm drawing from this string of posts is that the four really is too small for the heavy Sorento, that the six gets roughly the same mileage but with a lot more power.
    For reference, I was getting exactly 25 mpg overall and 27-29 mpg in my 2011 Toyota highlander Hybrid (totalled by a falling tree in a storm and not replaceable due to the Tsunami damage).
  • I guess you should have the read what people have said here. Great car,I love it too, but the mileage stinks.I get 12-14 city and maybe 18-20 hgwy.
    The bottom line here is the engine is to small for the 5000 lbs it has to pull.

  • Congratulations, ponynround, on achieving 24 mpg.  Most of us have been unable to get over 22 on the GDI-4.  I received an email from KIA with an article on improving gas mileage.  Wow--just what I needed!  I thought they would finally address the Theta-II failure to live up to EPA standards.  Instead, they promoted the need to do regular maintenance--change the oil, check the brakes, change the filters, check the tire pressures! Hey, this car is brand new; it has clean oil, new filters, new brakes, and polished pistons. Why can't it perform better than ever?  OK, maybe you can expect a few mpg better when all tolerances are equalized, but I haven't found anyone I can believe who got 32 mpg. Unless my calipers are sticking and there is a bird in my ar intake, I don't see how this engine will get better mileage, but I'd be willing to listen to anyone who has a suggestion.   I can't find anything in writing that indicates an extended period of "adjustment" (as my service manager claims now) but I do wonder about the high readings that some people report.  Are their engines quite different?  Can my engine be electronically retuned?  Is there an engineer who can answer these questions?  I really like this car. My wife loves this car. Why can't we have an engine to love? 

    I'm ready to assemble owners for class-action--not based on EPA estimates (that won't work unless somebody cheated,) but on the expectations promoted in literature and by salespeople. Anyone else interested?
  • I bought a 2013 Kia 4cy GDI last week. I test drove nearly every vehicle in class and this was my hands-down favorite. I also did a significant amount of research on internet and created a spreadsheet to compare vehicle values. While there is no excuse for sales people to mislead, when considering a 24k+ purchase, why not do some research first? Are salesmen generally known for brutal honesty?

    My 11-year-old toyota Celica was still running perfectly but impractical for family outings. My goal was to fix this without sacrificing insurance, gas costs, and hopefully maintenance. I estimated before buying that the crossovers in general should cost about what my GTS does (epa 20/29 premium) if I drive careful. After a week, Sorento is close enough for me to be relieved. I set my first trip rolling out from the dealership and I am here to report tank #1 at 26.3. Note that they window sticker that misleads many with the number "32" clearly says the realistic estimate for combined driving is 25.

    I took a picture:

    jawilson's scholarship is appreciated, and if he is right, then the needle in this position indicates I have burned 14.5 gallons, so 377/14.5 = 26. It can be debated if the needle must cover the line perfectly or if the needle touching the line is right, if that's the case, I was at 367 and trip calculator is off by about 3%. Filling up will give another perspective, but I'll have to fill several times before confident it is filling to the same spot each time, and pumps are pumping what they claim.

    What kind of driving does this represent? 5 29 mile trips to work at 5:00 AM in SoCal on the 5, 13% city, no traffic or AC, 65-75. 5 29 mile trips home in hot afternoon with moderate traffic and AC on 2, 13% city; 50-70. The other 87 are mostly in town with traffic, lights, idling at drive-throughs, and a few trips with family where I drive a little more aggressively so as not to embarrass them. On my spreadsheet before purchase I estimated 25 based on Consumer Report's slightly lower figures for the non GDI 4. Impression is this thing wants to get 21 if you're doing much more than touching the accelerator. As others have noted, ALL the 4-banger SUVs have a myriad of unhappy owners who expected better gas mileage, Kia is not unique here.

    My take on random comments from this thread:

    "one vehicle (e.g., Honda CR-V) consistently exceeds its EPA"

    Consumer Reports says 16/32 vs. 22/30 EPA for CRV. The V6 Sorento 14/26 vs. 19/25 so it also exceeded EPA on highway. But City is the killer, and
    they all do much worse here. The non-GDI 4 did just barely worse than CRV compared to its EPA and 6 did arguably the same.

    "Eco light is always on which is suppose to mean you are getting the best gas mileage you can get"
    "and always have the ECO light on that tells you that you are driving with the most favorable conditions"

    These statements are not quite right. Read about GDI here:

    There are 3 operational modes in GDI and the eco light means you are in mode 1. Though a bit over the top, I could say if I have a car with a turbo charger and nitrus, that driving without the turbo kicked in and NoS pumping that I'm getting my best gas mileage. That's true relative to the other modes of operation, but it's not true within the mode. You can still give plenty of gas in eco mode that will hurt your MPG. Until your foot is a butterfly resting on the throttle in eco mode, you're not getting your best gas mileage.

    "I think when you have a Sorento with V6 engine, you get better mileage than one with GDI engine"

    Consumer reports shows the non-GDI 4 ties with the 6 combined MPG, but the 4 better by 2 MPG on the 150 round trip. I expect when they finish their eval of the GDI, that it will surpass the 6 enough to easily justify it for those who don't want to pay more for the 6, get a little better gas, and don't need the extra power.

    "Should not be that much difference in mileage [than a lighter car w/proportional engine]. Sorento is heavier but has more torque and horsepower."

    this matters for 0-60, but more mass means more energy required to accelerate, period. a 3800 pound car will never get the mileage of a 3000 pound car if the two are using identical technology proportional to size. The best gas mileage will always be had by smaller cars, what we should be
    optimistic about is the more realistic ownership of a well-tuned large vehicle.

    "was able to use my cruise almost the whole way going"
    "Set my cruise on 60 for 15-25 miles and got a WOPPIN 15.9 MPG"

    Cruise control doesn't help gas mileage, unless there is some advanced version of it I'm not aware of that uses GPS to calculate road contour. As
    an extreme example, imagine going down a hill into a valley and then up another hill. Is it better to have cruise control braking the vehicle on the way down to not exceed 70 and then power its way up the next hill, or let the weight add to your speed going down to hit the incline base at 75? But 16 MPG is too low, something must be wrong. If Kia can't find it (and they have a small vested interest in that they work for corporate, not you) ask around to find a solid independent mechanic to help. I'm not sure I will do any of my service through KIA or any dealer.

    "Some gas stations use a cheaper quality gas which effects all vechicles MPG"

    very possible. good point.

    "I get between 22-24 mpg in what I call "mixed" driving, which is about half on the freeway. While I know it's too early to really gauge the real mileage,"

    Just to point out again, the EPA combined rating that is actually printed on the window sticker very clearly, is 25.

    "i do think the car companies set up the cars to get best mileage under epa tests standards making it harder for the average person to hit the numbers"

    Partly true. Well, what should the standard be? Who is the average person? If the EPA does it right, then car companies seeking to max their EPA ratings will of consequence be helping the average person hit their best numbers. If otherwise, the implication is that the EPA has unrealistic
    standards, not that car companies are doing something wrong.

    "alot of weight for a 4 cyl in a sorento. look at other forums equinox etc. all people with 4 cyl engines get poor mileage"

    The Sorento is 191 HP and 3,800 pounds. Back in the day, my '73 Cutlas Supreme, 350 ci V8 with Edelbrock 4-barrel put out 180 HP. Looks like it
    weighed 3559. Sorrento GDI 4 is not underpowered at all. I've seen estimates of 0-60 of 8.8, faster than my cutlas, and some (technically) sports cars are in the 7's. 3,800 pounds is a lot of weight, period, it takes X amount of exploding force to accelerate it no matter how many cylinders.

    If you're accelerating the vehicle all day long, it takes a lot of power. The smaller engine or more efficient GDI engine can maintain velocity withou
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