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Station Wagon vs SUV

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Comments

  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    Thank you very much for the information. I've been following it since I first heard of it awhile back. The wife told me she thinks it's ugly so that's a hurdle. I'm considering a used Audi A6 AWD Avant (S6 would be nice, but maybe next time), VW Passat V6 AWD wagon (wish it was bigger), Pacifica (disapproval of the wife) and, hearing what juice has been saying, a Subaru with the boxer 6 engine(cramped rear seat room). I'm in no hurry and enjoy reading the 70 +/- boards I surf here at Edmunds. I'm always open for suggestions and opinions and anybody can e-mail me at any time. I'd be happy to hear what you have to say.
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    How about a Volvo V70 AWD?
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    Nice suggestion, I really like the looks of the Volvo. It seems the more I get into this the more I feel like I'm chasing my tail.
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Well, the Volvo V70 is the derivative of the wagon that started it all. To me it seems like one of the safest buys... I think it would definitely be a better motorway cruiser than the Passat, and more afforable than the A6.
  • tomsrtomsr Posts: 325
    In the SUV board there is a picture of the 2003
    Accord with the 2.4 Ivtec and might be here late
    summer of 2002.It might cut into CRV sales so this
    may not be gospel.If uou had a choice of either
    with the same equipment for the same price which
    would you choose? The wagon would handle better and if it had a 5 speed would be fun too.The high
    view of the road is nice too.I'll take one of each.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    If you take a peek at Consumer Reports reliability ratings, you discover as I did, that the Volvo V70 is a model they warn against for numerous problems - just $0.02 worth from a Sub lover. For what it is worth, Subarus have consistently made the recommended list and had above average reliability for the last 5-8 years or so.

    On the other hand, the Passat AWD with the V6 is a pretty good alternative to the Sub, but I think it is more expensive by several thou $$, right?

    Mazda 6 hatch, Odyssey (old gen), and new accord five-door all do not have AWD, unless I am mistaken. And as far as Aerio, you are right, it is in a group with some smaller hatches, not a competitor for Sub H-6. I would say Impreza is the best of the smaller group, but definitely costs more than Aerio, and maybe more than Matrix AWD as well, I am not sure. I am also sure you get more feature content and a better built car going with the Impreza!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    So many people are buying SUVS these days, it's just starting to annoy me a bit. Where are the Chevy Caprice and Buick Roadmaster station wagons when you need them? I've reviewed all the posts on this topic, and not one of them mentioned any full-size wagons. More people should have bought these GM wagons because of their mechanical simplicity and durability. And, because they have tons more room than many SUVs on the market today. All in all, those cars are overlooked gems.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Many people who buy SUVs either want the macho, rugged image thing or they want the high ride height thing, and you did not get either from the roadmasters etc. Plus, I think even Ford Expeditions get better gas mileage than one of those mondo huge American wagons, don't they?

    This makes me sound like I am a big fan of SUVs and I am absolutely, ardently the opposite of that, but I am also frustrated at the number of people who continue to buy SUVs that they will never use more than 10% of the capabilities of, meanwhile using more gas, creating more pollution, and heck, even wrecking the roads faster with their huge heavy vehicles. Not to mention driving a vehicle that they are not well enough trained to drive, thereby creating a danger to all the rest of us who drive cars.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd pick an Accord wagon over a CR-V. We test drove a CR-V and while it's quite roomy and has a peppy little engine, it didn't handle or ride all that well, and the structure definitely feels like a compact. Plus, it's loud.

    I'm sure the Accord will be more substantial feeling, plus handle better.

    4Motions at fitmall.com, a local no-haggle dealer, run $30k and up. Subie LL Bean are about $4 grand cheaper, while VDC are about a grand cheaper. But VW doesn't (yet) offer stability control, so the LL Bean is more comparable.

    A WRX wagon costs more than a Matrix AWD, but an Outback Sport wagon is cheaper and much closer in terms of performance.

    -juice
  • upstateny2upstateny2 Posts: 11
    Any truth to the comment that the ACCORD wagon will be available in the US market in the next 4 months. Looking for a wagon replacemnt for my 97 CRV.
  • bkswardbksward Posts: 93
    I think even Ford Expeditions get better gas mileage than one of those mondo huge American wagons, don't they?

    A 1996 Caprice Wagon was rated 17/25 MPG with 330 HP and 330 Ft-Lb of Torque.

    The 2003 Expedition 2WD XLT with the 4.6 is 14/19 with only 232 hp and 291 lb-ft and 1000 lb more weight...

    The 5 speed V6 2WD Explorer is only 16/21...

    My father's 83 Caprice averaged over 22 in mostly highway driving.

    -Brian
  • porknbeansporknbeans Posts: 464
    Although the Accord is due for a full redesign this coming year, a wagon will not be part of the remodeling. I recall reading on the Accord board that Honda does not intend to bring a wagon version to the US. They feel that this area is covered by the CRV and the Pilot.

    If I'm wrong I'm sure somebody will correct me. :)
    Porknbeans

    Grand High Poobah
    The Fraternal Order of Procrastinators
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    330hp on a stock Caprice wagon? Do you mean 230?

    -juice
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    seems to be the direction Honda and many others are taking. Wagons are making a comback but not at the expense of SUV but rather in addition. SUVs are still outselling mid sized cars and of course wagons. Motor Trend had a pretty good article on this in this months edition. Yes it is an image thing but in truth just about everything is about image. What you wear to the way you cut your hair is about how you feel you look not function. Americans like the image and versatility of SUV and it doesn't look like that will change real soon.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    and who is really buying those 2WD 5 speed explorers anyway? What did they make, about 10 of those nationwide? LOL

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Toyota and Honda are missing the boat here, not having camry/accord wagons. If Subaru can sell so many wagons, there has to be a market for T&H. Especially with all the German brands bringing wagons to market now.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    is a Highlander, is has a foot in both camps...I've got one and love it
    my state registration info has 'station wagon' on it
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    sells a lot of wagons compared to the number of vehicles they sell but not compared to the number of vehicles sold. Saturn out sells Subaru in this country. Total sales of all models of Subaru was 185,944 in 2001 while Saturn sold 206,730 units. That means that there aren't a lot of wagons hitting the streets just yet. There is a bit more profit to be made in the Pilot, CR-V class so it would be a hard choice to bring in wagons to pull sales from those vehicles. Toyota now has the Matrix and several SUVs and the Matrix is expected to sell pretty well. Toyota seems to have it covered pretty well. I believe Honda just dropped their wagon for lack of sales so one would have to wonder if they are ready to spend the money to fire that model back up. I think they will wait to see how the buying public responds.
  • bkswardbksward Posts: 93
    330hp on a stock Caprice wagon? Do you mean 230?

    They list it as a 5.7 with 330/330 for a 96 Caprice Wagon here on the Edmunds site. The Sedan is listed as a 4.6 L 200hp/240lb-ft

    The 95 Wagon is listed as a 5.7L 260hp/330 lb-f. and the Sedan as 4.6L 200hp/235 lb-ft.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    260/330 is correct.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    260 sounds more believable.

    Highlander is very nice but it's kind of pricey once you equip it. We tested one that was $26k at invoice and didn't have AWD or leather. IIRC the Camry wagon could be had for low 20s even well equipped.

    Honda announced prices for the Pilot, so an EX with leather would set me back $30,710, plus about $775 for a 7/100 warranty means it's also out of my price range.

    So how about an affordable Accord wagon?

    A decade ago they didn't sell well, but people coming out of SUVs want the space so I think they'd sell better in today's market.

    Subaru has had growth in every year since 1995, and nearly doubled sales in that time, primarily with wagons. They are still small but they used to be tiny.

    -juice
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I suppose if you were to buy a 2WD highlander with the 4 cyl, which is about $25K, that would not be a bad deal if, instead of considering it an SUV, you were strictly thinking of it as a camry wagon? I had not considered this before. The camry XLE 4-cyl, which is equipped about as a base highlander is, sells for about that price or a couple thou less, and you would expect the wagon to sell for a little more than the sedan, right? Interesting thought. Plus, I would expect you to be able to get a 4 cyl, 2WD highlander for a LOT less than sticker, since this car is marketed as a crossover SUV, and the base version does not have either the AWD or the V-6 engine. making it less desirable as an SUV.

    BTW, as far as Subie, I would agree they are a small carmaker in terms of their annual sales, and the road is not flooded with wagons as a result, but I will also say this: around northern California, you can't throw a stone without hitting one of those outbacks. There are a lot of those on the roads now. So there must be a market for wagons - Sub increases their sales every year...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dealers just don't stock many of those. I searched 4 dealer inventories and only found a single 4cyl 2WD. The salesman discouraged us from even driving it (we tried a V6 instead, and ruled it out for other reasons).

    Plus, you'll recall the last Camry wagon came with a V6, and the Highlander is only heavier.

    Still, as an affordable people mover, I can see the appeal.

    -juice
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the rounded camry wagon from the mid-90's came with both a 4 and a V-6 didn't it? I have seen ones on the road that did not have the V-6 badge on the back...

    How much does a V-6 highlander 2WD go for? Around $27K right? A little high I agree, but still in the ball park. And I bet dealers have plenty of V-6, 2WD highlanders around.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    The Camry wagon of early 90's vintage also came in AWD. I got a FWD V6 Highlander for less than 27. It is nicely equiped and is getting 21-23 mpg with mixed day-to-day driving. I was shopping the new Camry when I saw my first Highlander...took it for a drive and it fit like a glove. It has good clearance without requiring running boards or rails to get up into the seat. Very civilized for an SUV and I really love this car (just doesn't seem like a truck).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We drove one that was $26k, V6 with 2WD. We didn't like the rear seat, too low and not very comfy. It was quiet and refined, though. The wife thought it felt "big" but I liked it.

    In the end the price seemed high for the equipment level, though I can definitely see the appeal. We paid $17.8k for a Legacy L wagon instead.

    -juice
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    juice, a really good buy....

    Legacys are far underrated in the US, especially in the south. If only they'd beef up the interior, it'd be the only car to get.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They're working on it. I saw a 2003 2.5 GT at the NY Show, and it had heated leather and chrome rings around the guages, plus a few other small improvements.

    But in our price range (under $18k) there isn't really anything much better. Even on Accords and Camrys, the interiors are only good when you step up to the EX or XLE models.

    -juice
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    You have a point. For that price, the only better interior is the Golf 5-door.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Probably, and the Golf is pretty tiny in comparison. Jetta wagons are closer, though still smaller, but cost more once you add things that I got (even excluding AWD).

    A Jetta GLS wagon with 5 speed would have cost about what I paid, but that's a compact with 115hp. The 1.8T would cost about a grand more than I paid, and would still lack AWD and be one size smaller.

    A Legacy is closer in size to a Passat, really. We considered the Passat, but not the Jetta, which doesn't rate as highly in reliability. Still, it's nice that VW offers wagons.

    -juice
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    to NPR's Car Talk this morning, and a lady called in about buying an '03 Jetta, and Tom and Ray stressed to her that it was a very good idea for her to get an extended warranty, because she "would need it".

    I am still getting over the fact that in '97 I bought a 100K extended bumper to bumper for my Subie, and never even got $50 back from it! What a waste of money that was! But I guess in the long run I would rather have a problem-free vehicle than to have to use my precious warranty!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I purchased a navy blue 2000 Outback with leather and I will never buy anything but a Subaru again. There have been no problems, the engine is great and when I'm at a stoplight I see people in RX300s and X5s looking my way. The interior is wonderful and flawless. The leg room in the back is alot more than it seems and I love the pop-out of the dash cup holder up front. On the papers 165hp doesn't look like much for a car as bulky as the Outback but it is surprisingly powerful and I find myself speeding on the highway without noticing. There is plenty of cargo room and the Outback can hold just as much stuff as many SUV's. With the AWD you cant beat a Subaru. With leather mine only came to 21,995 and my dealer offers me really good incentives like free loaner cars and lets me park there free when i travel since its close to the airport. Also when i visited the dealer before buying the car the workers there gave my kids free sodas and gave them a TV to watch to keep them occupied. Thanks Subaru. I'll never get another type of car!
  • Does anyone else think it would be a good idea to make a long wheelbase Out back with a third row seat. I think it would sell well if the price it right. or make a long wheelbase Forester. either one. Volvo did it with the XC 70. The new XC 90 won Motor Trend's SUV of the year. Subaru could really strike gold here. Just some food for thought. tell me what you think
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The XC90 isn't even an SUV, just a tall station wagon like the X5 and other wanna-be SUVs.

    -mike
  • the X5 and XC90 ARE Suv's. Remember SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle. Both have sport and utility and they're obviously vehicles. Just cause there not Tahoes doesnt mean they are not SUV's.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So by your definition, ANY vehicle could be considered and SUV, depending on what your ideas of Sport and Utility are!

    Honda Civic Hatchback is my favorite SUV then! Look at the great gas milage it gets!!!!

    -mike
  • ok - can't help but chime in - my idea of sport is binge drinking & utility is being able to haul around tons of women so if i don't want to get a dwi & want to have lots of room for the women, i think my ideal suv will be a stretch limo..... lol
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    I think what paisan means is "real SUV". There is an accepted definition of SUV that the industry uses and Edmunds uses...it has to do with size, weight and flat area in the back, IIRC. Under that definition, Tahoes, RX300s, Highlanders, XC90s and even (gasp!) Azteks are SUVs. But Civics are not.

    But I think his point was that you can divide SUVs into 2 classes...real SUVs and SUV-look-alikes. I would venture that the defining difference between the 2 is that real SUVs can do serious off roading, towing and hauling...unlike the others which cannot and are really "tall wagons" or MVs that look SUVish.

    Of course, the ability to do heavy duty tasks might not be a definition of SUVs that everyone agrees with...especially since about 75% of SUV owners (IMO) don't use them for those purposes

    (:-O)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What LI_sailor said. It's all in the eye of the beholder what "sport and utility" are.

    -mike
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 265
    SUV is purely a marketing term, not based on any particular engineering specification. It is purposely vague, so manufacturers can use it as they please without adhering to any hard rules.

    More of such "hot-air" terms are "crossover vehicle" (in my time that would be a neighbor who didn't manage to stop in time before reaching my fence), "SUT", and countless others (shall we start a list? I am afraid to ask).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    just plain old "Utility" vehicles, the old pickup-based wagons like Suburbans, etc. In fact, I believe the old Ford Bronco was referred to as a U-100 or U-150, by Ford internally. If you check the registration numbers on the old Broncos, I believe you will that referenced there.

    Bob
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    SUV is purely a marketing term...

    There's a heck of a lot of marketing hype centered around the SUV, but to say that the term SUV is "purely a marketing term" is simply not true.

    ...not based on any particular engineering specification.

    I disagree.

    The typical SUV (real SUV, if you will) is very identifiable with clearly distinctive attributes:

    - Truck frame, stiff and heavy for heavy duty tasks like heavy hauling, towing and off roading

    - High ground clearance for off roading and snow clearance

    - 4WD for off roading, heavy snow applications and some towing tasks

    - Large engine with a transfer case to provide high torque for heavy duty applications

    - an enclosed cargo area, accessible from the passenger space, with climate control to enable "normal" passenger use as well as heavy duty applications

    - a flat, decent-sized cargo area for hauling applications...this is just to eliminate the Wrangler as an SUV ;-)

    SUVs like the Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, 4Runner, Explorer, Trailblazer, and many others all fall under this definition (oops, the Trooper, too...sorry Paisan ;-) ) There are car-based SUVs that have all the other characteristics, too, like the Grand Cherokee and the Pathfinder.

    No one with at least a basic understanding of vehicles is going to confuse these with any car, wagon or MV. SUV is a fairly meaningful term.

    I agree, though, that those not familiar with the differences between a "real" SUV and the others, could be confused. Maybe that's why so many folks are buying SUVs when they don't need them ;-)

    Now, the other, "non-real" SUVs like the RX300, MDX, X5, Highlander and others (and almost all mini-utes) only have 4WD, increased ground clearance and an enclosed cargo area...and those things are available in many other vehicles.

    So, in short, I think your claim applies to some SUVs, but not the "real ones".

    More of such "hot-air" terms are "crossover vehicle"

    IMO, it's still a useful (although more vague, of course) term. Basically means "non-real" SUV.

    I am afraid to ask

    Apparently not ;-)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    << - Truck frame, stiff and heavy for heavy duty tasks like heavy hauling, towing and off roading >>

    The Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Liberty all have "beefed up unibody" structures, not the traditional body-on-frame structures that you mentioned. Same with the new (and very capable) VW Touareg/Porsche Cayenne. I think(?) that's also true for the current-generation Montero. Not sure about the all-new Range Rover.

    Bob
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    Yes, as does my vehicle, the Pathfinder. Beefed up unibody.

    IMO, these vehicles are still "real" SUVs...so I guess I would revise the frame attribute to be truck-based or "Beefed up unibody".
  • "SUVs like the Tahoe, Suburban, Expedition, 4Runner, Explorer, Trailblazer, and many others all fall under this definition (oops, the Trooper, too...sorry Paisan ;-) ) There are car-based SUVs that have all the other characteristics, too, like the Grand Cherokee and the Pathfinder."

    The 4runner had a frame-ectomy around the same time as the pathfinder. I'm not sure about the Trailblazer. Even with a full frame, a Chevy Tahoe gets 4 stars for a side impact, whereas my '98 VW New Beetle gets 5. But I don't think my Beetle is an SUV just because its tougher.

    Whatever you do, don't ask Mazda what an SUV is. When their minivan wouldn't sell they tried pushing it as an SUV. A couple of years ago an auto-magazine put it into an SUV comparison, and when they went off-road the front sub-frame fell off the van barely a car-length off the road!
    In their marketing wisdom, Mazda have replaced it with an exact clone of the original, tiny Honda Odyssey which Honda dropped because no-one would buy them.

    Honda now sells one of 2 front-drive vans available that can take a 4'x8' sheet inside and close the rear door. The other is the Eurovan. Interesting, but the 4x4 (Synchro) versions of VW's van fits your definition of SUV. But I don't believe you can buy them in the US. They're only in Europe, Canada, England, South America, ...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Haaa the biggest issue I have with it is all the "automatic" stuff.

    For instance once you hit 30mph, the suspension drops down and the sway bars re-connect to the suspension. Now lets say you are in a mud hole up to the door handles and you want to "spin" your way out it with the wheels spinning at say 31mph. You are gonna be SOL because the suspension is gonna drop on you @ 30mph.

    Offroading has a lot to do with finnesse and sometime you just need traditional suspension systems to accomplish that. Not that the Cayanne is a BAD vehicle, but they should stop touting it as an "offroader" like the TLC and G500.

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'd agree with Bob and LI about the uni-body but beefy SUVs such as the Pathy, Jeeps, Montero.

    -mike
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 265
    li_sailor, I appreciate your attempt to put some sanity and precision into the term "SUV", but as you can clearly see, this is really an attempt to write the specs after the product has been built. In addition, since the range of the "SUVs" is so wide, it necessitates making the specs so flexible as to encompass many vehicles they were clearly not intended conceptually to include.

    Since we are having such a difficulty defining a "real SUV", what are we to think of the "non-real SUVs" as you yourself have dubbed the "crossover" vehicles?

    And how would Forester square with your definitions, then, and why? To me it is just an AWD wagon that handles like a wagon. It is no tougher than many former domestic wagons (and no one called them SUVs). Is it a non-real SUV? A crossover vehicle? A non-real crossover vehicle? :)
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    I don't know about the 4Runner...I remember reading that the 2001 model was truck-framed. And the reviews I've read of the new model seem to say the same:


    4Runner's frame rails are boxed and significantly upsized. This beefier frame contributes to improve torsional rigidity for increased stability and handling, and quells cabin noise with less road and drivetrain vibration.


    That's from Cars & Trucks.


    And this from Truck Trend:


    ...the original 4Runner had a beefy frame under a separate body, and the newest version is no different. The full-length boxed section frame rails are connected with nine fully welded crossmembers, while a Class III tow-hitch receiver is built into the rear-frame crossmember. The rigid frame is a good place to mount a substantial suspension...


    Here's a link to the Truck Trend article.


    The Trailblazer (like the cousin Envoy) is truck framed.


    Interesting, but the 4x4 (Synchro) versions of VW's van fits your definition of SUV.


    Neither the VW van nor the bug can tow over 3500 lbs or haul over 1200 lbs, AFAIK. So, no...they don't fit my definition.


    I agree about the Mazda and also about others like that...there's a lot of "not-so-real" SUVs out there. But I think the real ones are pretty well defined.

  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    ...this is really an attempt to write the specs after the product has been built.

    And what's wrong with that? ;-)

    Well, I never mentioned chronology, but I'm still not sure that that's true. The old TLC and Suburbans fit under that definition as well and they've been around a long, long time.

    In addition, since the range of the "SUVs" is so wide, it necessitates making the specs so flexible as to encompass many vehicles they were clearly not intended conceptually to include.

    I'm not disagreeing with that. The term itself "SUV" includes stuff that defies definition. I'm just saying that I think it's possible to define what a "real" SUV is and that there's a clear set of vehicles that fit there. I totally agree the simple term SUV is misapplied and is not, by itself, a clear term in the marketplace.

    And how would Forester square with your definitions, then, and why? To me it is just an AWD wagon that handles like a wagon.

    Yup..and a light duty one at that. It's small and unpowered. Suitable for some, but no SUV, for sure.
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