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Fatal Flaws: Top 30 Dangerous Cars On The Road

Cameron EittreimOctober 24, 2019

via: Honda

27: Honda Accord

So how does one of best-selling cars in the country perform in terms of crashes? Well, the overall percentage of deaths in a Honda Accord is not good. That doesn’t mean that the family sedan isn’t a safe choice, but it does mean that the Accord is not necessarily a safe vehicle. That wouldn’t be further from the truth, because the Accord ranks high in safety ratings. But because the car sells in such a high volume there are a lot more accidents recorded.

1993 Accord
via: Honda

Another issue with the Accord is that the car is increasingly popular with first-time drivers. As we know, first-time drivers are often the riskiest on the road. New drivers will take more risks than established drivers, and that means that there will be more accidents.

Toyota Camry
via: Toyota

26: Toyota Camry

Why is the Camry, another well-known family sedan that’s a staple for safety and reliability, on this list? Well, the Camry is also the best-selling car in America and that has something to do with the number of accidents that get reported. The Camry is a very safe car in most regards, but again this is also a car that often becomes the first most of transportation for teenagers.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Via Motor Trend
Via: Motor Trend

No matter how safe a vehicle is, a teenager is bound to do risky things. Even the Camry, which has stellar safety ratings, is often the first vehicle in a collision. When you look at the numbers it’s not hard to tell why. Fortunately, Toyota has implemented a lot of new safety technology into the vehicle, which makes for an exceptional driving experience and great resale value.

2005_dodge_ram_power_wagon_rear_100008898_l
via: Truck Trend

25: Ram Pickup (all models)

The Ram, which was long known as the Dodge Ram, before a brand switch is a truck that has become immensely popular. While the sales numbers don’t particularly match up to Ford or GM, the Ram brand has carved quite the niche in the pickup truck market. The 2001 models were particularly troubling for the brand as there were 419 fatalities involving this specific model year of the Ram.

991-dodge-ram-w250-cummins-turbo-diesel-4x4
via: Hot Rod

The truck often gets a bad rap for being involved in more accidents than the Chevy or Ford models, but this is often because the Ram has a lower cost of ownership. Meaning that more potential buyers flock toward the Ram as opposed to more expensive pickup trucks that are on the market.

Del Sol
via: Honda

24: Honda Civic

Perhaps no passenger car is more iconic than the Honda Civic. The compact car was instrumental in providing affordable transportation during the fuel crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. The Civic is a popular compact car and the cheap price tag makes it appealing to young first-time buyers. These are the most likely recipients to be involved in a collision, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of Civics are modified.

Honda Civic Del sol
via: Honda

The Civic had experienced a triumphant run in the automotive industry, but the car has also experienced 4,397 over the study period of five years. This doesn’t mean that the Civic isn’t a safe car, but there are more fetal crashes involving this compact car than many other models that are on the market.

Toyota Corolla Via Motor Trend
Via: Motor Trend

23: Toyota Corolla

In addition to the Civic, the Corolla is another iconic car of the compact market. The Corolla has dominated a segment that the car was responsible for developing. The primary drivers of the Corolla are first-timers who need a safe vehicle, but this also means that the driving practices are a bit riskier. While Toyota has innovated with plenty of safety features there are a record 3,430 fatal crashes over a five-year period.

2002 Corolla S
via: Car Domain

Does this mean that the Corolla is not a safe car? Not at all, but the model does have more fatalities than the average vehicle on the road. Toyota has done a great job of improving the safety of the Corolla models over the past few decades, and the Corolla is one of the most popular cars on the road.

Nissan Altima SE-R
via: Nissan

22: Nissan Altima

The Altima has always been a fixture of the passenger car market in America, but the sedan has also experienced a few turmoil in-terms of safety. There were 3,267 fatal crashes over a five year period involving the Altima, and this should be a warning. The car does feature some safety innovations, but these are more toward the newest models. When you look back on the older previous generations of the Altima the safety wasn’t always a top priority.

Nissan Altima Coupe
via: Nissan

Instead, the Altima was marketed as a fun and sporty alternative to the Camry and Accord. While this was a great marketing ploy the overall safety of the car suffered to make room for performance innovation. The SE-R models are especially prone to be involved in collisions as the owners are generally riskier in their driving practices.

GMC Sierra
via: GM

21: GMC Sierra

The corporate cousin of the Chevy Silverado is the GMC Sierra, and it’s essentially the same truck. Thus the Sierra often experiences the same crash statistics as the Silverado does, and this isn’t a good thing. These trucks are generally lifted and or customized by their owners, which can result in more crashes. Another thing that the Sierra has that the Silverado doesn’t are an abundance of luxury features.

Via GTCarLot.com

Naturally, on newer trucks, there is an abundance of safety advancements, but the older Sierra models were not this fortunate. You can believe that a good deal of the Sierras that are involved in the fatal collisions are older model pickup trucks. The Sierra is an excellent truck in a lot of ways but the safety downfalls of the previous models were questionable.

Versa Note via Nissan
Versa Note via Nissan

20: Nissan Versa Note

Subcompacts have traditionally never been the safest bet when it comes to an automobile. The lightweight design might be great on gas mileage, but it’s subpar on safety. In a world where SUV models are becoming the norm, subcompacts are quickly becoming outnumbered. The Versa Note has been a budget-friendly choice, flying under the radar for a few years now. Nissan is going to be ending production of the Versa Note due to declining sales. Still, you’ll probably come across this car on the used car lots and it is best left avoided.

Nissan Versa Note via Nissan
Nissan Versa Note via Nissan

The Versa Note has a three-star crash test rating for frontal impact, which is no good. Considering that most accidents that happen are head-on collisions, you at least want a car that can handle it. The Versa Note does have some positive attributes such as the extended interior volume and cargo space. But most buyers are looking for a car that will get them to their destination in one piece. A recent study suggested that the Versa Note is one of the deadliest cars on the road. We’d have to agree based on crash test ratings.

Veloster via Motor Junkie
Veloster via Motor Junkie

19. Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The Hyundai brand as a whole has come a long way since the horrible Excel of the late 80s. But the brand still has a few blunders, and the Veloster is one of them. The car is a great concept on paper but in reality, it’s the laughing stock of the automotive world. The oddball styling doesn’t appeal to the average shopper, and the car is confused about whether it’s a sports coupe or hatchback. Another issue with the Veloster is its questionable crash test results. According to a recent study by the NHTSA, the Veloster Turbo has a subpar side-impact crash test rating.

Veloster via Motor Junkie
Veloster via Motor Junkie

If finding a safe hot hatch is on your radar, the Veloster probably isn’t going to be it. With the rise of SUVs, the risk of a side-impact crash causing a fatality is high. Naturally, the Veloster is still on sale due to its low price and long list of standard features. But the lack of safety is something that hurts the reputation of the car as well as the person who is driving it. Time will tell what the future holds for the Veloster and what the brand will replace it with.

Kia Soul via Motor Trend
Kia Soul via Motor Trend

18. Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is part of a recent study that showcased the most dangerous new cars. The Soul is still involved in a good deal of fatal crashes according to research, and that’s not comforting news considering that the majority of Soul buyers are college students and first-time drivers. The Soul still manages to be a hot seller for the Kia brand, and a redesign is imminent. The car has a good deal of positives, but the study does leave a lot to be concerned about.

Kia Soul via Motor Trend
Kia Soul via Motor Trend

Still, at this point, the car has developed a reputation for being unsafe. Drivers seem to accept that as the Soul provides a good deal of value for the price. There’s a reasonable amount of airbags in the car, but the small size still makes it a risky proposition. As automakers are continuing to increase the sizes of their crossover offerings, small cars will suffer in vehicle collisions. Kia seems to be unphased by the recent study and in fact, new advertising still boasts about its IIHS top pick award.

Camaro via General Motors
Camaron via General Motors

17. Chevrolet Camaro

The pony car has never been considered a safe type of vehicle by any means. What happens when you mix a powerful V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive? Fatalities. The Camaro is one of the most common car models to be involved in a fatal crash. If you’re driving a Camaro, chances are that you want to look cool, and this is why people tend to crash these. The new models have come a long way in terms of safety features and design. But there’s still a stigma that follows the Camaro for its boy racer image.

Camaro via Motor Trend
Camaro via Motor Trend

Deadly car accidents are not just the Camaro’s fault though. A lot of tragedies have to do with user error. These pony cars are being manufactured with huge amounts of horsepower and as such, an inexperienced driver is not going to understand how to handle that much car. Not to mention the fact that the Camaro is rear-wheel drive. That in itself takes a lot of getting used to, especially if you have never driven a rear-wheel-drive car. Luckily, the Camaro does have some advantages in its safety design such as a built-in safety cage and crumple zones. But the Camaro is still on the list for the most fatalities, so keep that in mind when you go to test drive one.

Dodge Challenger va Motor Trend
Dodge Challenger via Motor Trend

16. Dodge Challenger

Right alongside the Camaro is another pony car, and we’re not surprised it’s the Dodge Challenger. The pony car that boasts the most power in the industry in the Demon package is sure to have some sort of fatalities with that much horsepower underneath the hood. According to research done by iSeeCars, the Challenger is among one of the highest fatality-prone vehicles on the road. What’s shocking is that the Challenger did score high marks in terms of crash-test results. But even a positive crash test score can’t protect the driver against speed.

Dodge Challenger via Motor Trend
Dodge Challenger via Motor Trend

Sports cars traditionally put acceleration above all else, which is why drivers tend to push the limits. The Challenger is above all else a high powered sports car. When it comes to choosing a potential first car, the Challenger might be a mistake. The sheer combination of speed and style seems to push younger drivers to participate in more risky behavior, and that means collisions. Dodge has implemented a good number of safety features into the Challenger. But safety features only go so far when the vehicle is being pushed to the limit.

Kia Rio via Kia Motors
Kia Rio via Kia Motors

15. Kia Rio

The Kia brand has been off the grid for some time now in terms of safety issues. Rio is dubbed as the most affordable car in America. To be on the list of deadliest cars is probably going to be of concern to many owners. For years, the Rio has provided drivers with an exceptional value, combining an affordable price with a long list of standard features. But if you’re concerned about safety, the Rio might not be the first choice for you. The car has a good deal of interior room for its size, and the exterior styling is more than handsome. But in a recent study, the Rio is also one of the most accident-prone vehicles on the road.

Kia Rio via Kia
Kia Rio via Kia

When it comes to fatalities, the Rio has 5.9 cars get into an accident per billion miles. That’s not good considering that Rio is one of the smallest vehicles on the road. Rio has a four-star crash test rating from the NHTSA, which isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. The main point of concern for Rio seems to be side-impact crashes for the rear passengers. If you own a Rio it’s probably better to take precautions when you are driving. And if you’re looking for a first car, the Rio is probably best left avoided.

Nissan Versa via Nissan
Nissan Versa via Nissan

14. Nissan Versa

Nissan has never been a huge player in the subcompact car race, but the Versa is one car that’s been around for a while now. You’ve probably seen them on used car lots and at colleges, but the Versa has also been included in a study of unsafe cars. The Versa is a fatality-prone vehicle. It could be due to the small size or the lack of substantial safety features that newer larger cars have nowadays. The current generation Versa has been on the market for quite a few years now. And compared to the Yaris and Fit, the Versa is outdated.

Nissan Versa via Nissan
Nissan Versa via Nissan

The original Versa was a new venture into the subcompact realm for Nissan, a place the brand hadn’t been since the late 80s. But the Versa has been panned by the automotive press for a lackluster interior and substandard horsepower. In today’s world, those are important aspects of a car purchase, but so is safety. The Versa is ranked highly for having a fair number of fatalities during collisions. The IIHS gave the Versa a “poor” rating for front-impact crashes, which means that the Versa has a lot to improve upon in the safety department.

Ford Pinto via Motor Junkie
Ford Pinto via Motor Junkie

13. Ford Pinto

Yes, we had to throw a classic car onto the list. Perhaps one of the most iconic cars on the road, the Pinto was involved in one of the largest lawsuits in Ford history. The car was notoriously famous for having a rear fuel tank that was placed in the wrong position of the car. Poor build quality aside, the Pinto would catch fire routinely when it was involved in a rear-end collision. Leaked documents during the court trial showed that Ford understood the risks with the car but chose to send the car to market anyway.

Ford Pinto via Motor Junkie
Ford Pinto via Motor Junkie

Pinto sales were still strong despite the lawsuits, and nowadays the car has become a coveted classic. One of the most popular modifications for the Pinto is to convert the vehicle to a V8 engine. Still, it should be noted that a lot of lives were lost while driving the Pinto, and the problem recurred during the 1990s with the infamous Explorer lawsuits. Who would have thought that such an innocent-looking little car could turn out so deadly? But when greed gets involved, automakers tend to take unnecessary shortcuts.

Peel Trident via Bing
Peel Trident via Bing

12. Peel Trident

You’ve probably never heard of it, and you probably don’t want to. The Peel Trident was a two-man microcar that was manufactured during the 1960s and it felt more like a Flintstones car than anything else. Although microcars have become quite popular in urban settings nowadays, these cars weren’t very safe by any means. The Trident had a removable glass roof, which when it was all put together appeared like a fancier go-kart. Lacking many features such as air-conditioning or radio, the Trident was about as basic a car as you could get.

Peel Trident via Bing
Peel Trident via Bing

This could probably be the reason that the Trident never managed to take off in the American market. The car was not safe enough to drive on the busy roads and highways. In totalm 45 units were made during the 1969 model year. Surprisingly enoughm the car has recently come back into production as a special-order vehicle. The new and improved Trident comes with either a gasoline engine or an all-electric drivetrain. But none of these features have done anything in the way of safety improvements over the original design.

Yugo via Bing
Yugo via Bing

11. Yugo GV

If there is one thing that the Yugo GV is notorious for, it is being dubbed the worst car ever made. Affectionately known as the “Yugo,” the subcompact car was famous for its substandard build quality and questionable reliability. The Yugo would routinely break down on its owners, even brand-new from the factory. Knobs would fall off, windows would leak, and the engine would burn oil when it had less than 1000 miles on the odometer. Aside from those drawbacks, the Yugo also had a very tiny design which meant that the little hatchback didn’t fair very well in crashes.

Yugo via Bing
Yugo via Bing

Perhaps the most famous incident of a driver being hurt in a Yugo was in 1989 when one was blown off a bridge. The car will go down in history as one of the most iconic failures of the automotive industry. Sure, the concept was a great one to provide an affordable and gas-efficient car. But the final result was a car that suffered from shoddy build quality. If you do happen to come in contact with a Yugo nowadays, the car has become a collector’s item even though there was a time when the car was best left avoided.

Chevrolet Corvair via Motor Trend
Chevrolet Corvair via Motor Trend

10. Chevrolet Corvair

The Corvair has a special spot in history as one of the most unique and unsafe cars on the road. The car was the first domestic vehicle with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine reminiscent of the VW Beetle. The thing about the Corvair that was sad was that the car was quite beautiful to look at. But looks aren’t everything, and as Corvair owners soon found out, the car was a wreck.

Chevrolet Corvair via Motor Trend
Chevrolet Corvair via Motor Trend

Had the Corvair been engineered a little bit better and not rushed to market, the car could have been great. But early Corvair owners complained of everything from engine fumes to the wheels falling off of it. The Corvair was a bad idea that could have been done right a little bit later down the road. So if you happen to come across a Corvair and think it’s a cool retro car, this one is best left avoided. The Corvair was a great idea that was executed at the wrong time.

Ford Explorer via Motor Junkie
Ford Explorer via Motor Junkie

9. Ford Explorer

Oh, what car fan can forget the terrible Ford Explorer of the 90s? The vehicle was the best-selling SUV of all-time and you still see a lot of them on the road. But Ford was involved in one of the biggest scandals in automotive history. First and foremost, that generation’s Explorer was designed with a weakened roof, a design flaw that was discovered during court proceedings. Because of this design flaw, the second-generation Explorer has had more fatalities in rollover incidents than any other SUV on the road. Even the infamous Isuzu Trooper didn’t do as bad as the Explorer did.

Ford Explorer via Motor Junkie
Ford Explorer via Motor Junkie

Then there was the other part of the lawsuit, which was focused on Firestone tires. The tires that came with these Explorers would explode at high speed, causing the SUV to flip over. Yes, the second generation Explorer got one of the worst raps of any vehicle on the road. Surprisingly, it didn’t ruin Ford’s reputation, but it came close. The company never truly recovered from the media circus that was the Explorer, but as time went on, the model’s safety features were vastly improved. It just goes to show you that even an automaker as famous as Ford will still cut corners from time to time.

Cobalt via GM
Cobalt via GM

8. Chevrolet Cobalt

Surprised to see the Cobalt on this list? Well, you shouldn’t be. The Cobalt was involved in a major recall back in 2014 for a bad ignition switch. The faulty switch would stop the car in the middle of driving, causing power loss to the brakes, steering, and more. The problem caused quite a few injuries and caused the Cobalt to have a constant black cloud over it. This small car was a product of GMs attempted product revamp, but cheap materials and lackluster safety caused the car to fall into oblivion. This wasn’t the first dangerous small car to come out of Detroit, as you can tell by this list.

Cobalt via GM
Cobalt via GM

The Cobalt did have some nice features such as an SS package. The SS package featured a supercharged engine, racing alloys, and a spoiler. The automotive press had some good things to say about the Cobalt and its SS package. But you still couldn’t avoid the safety issues with this car, and if you’re the current driver of a Cobalt, it might be time to trade it in. Overall, the Cobalt had some strong features that made it an appealing purchase to budget-minded shoppers. But if safety is an important factor, the Cobalt is best left avoided.

Bronco II via Bing
Bronco II via Bing

7. 1984 to 1990 Bronco II

The popularity of the mid-size SUV caught Ford off-guard. Before the Explorer hit the market the Bronco II was rushed into production. The two-door SUV which was based on the Ranger pickup truck was top-heavy and very high off of the ground. The high ground clearance made for excellent off-road capabilities, but safety features went by the wayside. It was said that at one point 10,000 deaths were related to the Bronco II. Sad, considering that the original Bronco is one of the safest and well-regarded vehicles on the road.

Bronco II via Bing
Bronco II via Bing

The Bronco II did have some cool features such as the safari back windows and the notable spare tire. The truck was just as reliable as the Ranger, which meant that buyers could drive these things until the wheels fell off. There were innovative features at the time such as push-button four-wheel drive and even a compact disk player. The fully-loaded Eddie Bauer addition added even more goodies to the mix. The final years for the Bronco II managed to receive an airbag, but overall this is one SUV that’s probably best left avoided.

Pontiac Fiero via Bing
Pontiac Fiero via Bing

6. 1984 Pontiac Fiero

We’ve all seen a Fiero at one point or another. The iconic little 1980s sports car sold quite well and had some decent driving characteristics. The mid-engined design provided exotic car performance on a budget and buyers ate it up. The Fiero had a two-seat design and a sporty look to it that was unlike anything else on the market. The closest competitor to the Fiero was the MR2, and even that was a stretch. The Fiero would have been a great sports car if it were not for one issue.

Pontiac Fiero via Bing
Pontiac Fiero via Bing

The Fiero was notorious for having engine fires. The problem was attributed to faulty connecting rods inside of the motor which would cause the oil to spill onto the exhaust manifold. GM rectified this problem later on by recalling every Fiero on the road. But the year was 1990, and this was too little, too late, as the car had already earned a bad reputation. Still, aside from that, the Fiero is a pretty cool piece of automotive history. This is a car that will stand out no matter what parking lot you are in because people still want to know what exactly it is.

Samurai via Motor Junkie
Samurai via Motor Junkie

5. Suzuki Samurai

Although the Samurai has exploded in resale value recently, there was a time when this little SUV was at the center of a nationwide lawsuit. Consumer reports had discovered that the Samurai was prone to flipping. Once that happened customers, start to scurry. The Samurai suffered from the same problem as many other SUVs at the time. It was a box on wheels. With that being said, there were no aerodynamics back then and these vehicles were top-heavy. What made the Samurai even more prone to flipping over was the extremely short wheelbase.

Samurai via Bing
Samurai via Bing

Nowadays, the Samurai is more of a recreational vehicle and most people customize these things. But there was a time when the Samurai was just another SUV on the market and the rollover incident scared a lot of potential drivers. Consumer Reports was later sued by Suzuki as well as Isuzu for pointing out the potential tipping hazards of these vehicles. The automaker claimed that the coverage of the Samurai was unfair and it hurt business. The Tracker was the successor to the Samurai and fared much better in terms of crash tests.

Colorado via Bing
Colorado via Bing

4. Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

The Colorado was the successor to the S-10 pickup truck that GM produced for decades. While the Colorado wasn’t a bad truck by any means, there were quite a few recalls that were cause for concern. First and foremost, the Colorado was part of the famous ignition switch recall in which the GM vehicles would completely shut themselves down when the vehicle is in motion. Secondly, the five-cylinder Colorado had a notable defect that had to do with the intake manifold gasket disintegrating. This defect would cause complete engine failure and loss of power.

Colorado via Bing
Colorado via Bing

The Colorado wasn’t a bad truck in terms of design, and it boasted a nice big cabin and plenty of seating. But the engine defects caused a safety concern that these trucks still have to this day. Models from Toyota and Nissan are far more reliable and have taken most of the market share from this generation of the Colorado. GM has since released a new version of the Colorado to make up for most of these trucks’ shortcomings. Still, if you happen to see one of these Colorado models on the used car market, it’s best left avoided.

Porsche 911 via Bing
Porsche 911 via Bing

3. 2014 Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche has come a long way in recent years, and the 911 GT3 is a testament to that. What bolds as a fun-to-drive sports car with impressive handling also had a short-term failure. The GT3 was prone to engine fires, and lots of them. So much so that Porsche had to recall these vehicles to try and rectify the problem. Porsche owners were understandably upset when their expensive sports cars were bursting into flames. The issue seemed to stem from the same issue as the Fiero, which is ironic considering the two cars are 30 years apart.

Porsche 911 via Bing
Porsche 911 via Bing

Still, the 911 GT3 is perhaps one of the best performance cars on the market. You just can’t go wrong with the rear-wheel drive and rear-engine sports car. Porsche has made a name for themselves with this design, and the 911 carries on the tradition. No matter what the faults of the GT3, the vehicle is still drop-dead gorgeous and offers a unique look into one of the most precision-built sports cars of all time. If you’ve always wanted a Porsche and the GT3 is on the horizon, just make sure to remember what the engine faults are with these.

Trooper via Bing
Trooper via Bing

2. Isuzu Trooper

Another infamous SUV of the 1990s, the Trooper was selling like hotcakes until a Consumer Reports article came out. The Trooper was another top-heavy SUV that also suffered from enhanced vehicle rollovers. The problem was exacerbated by a lack of safety features in earlier Trooper models, at which point Isuzu added certain features such as a passenger airbag and upgraded restraint systems. When it comes to iconic SUV models, the Trooper set the bar for the family SUV we see today.

Trooper via Bing
Trooper via Bing

But after the rollover study, the sales of the Trooper never fully recovered. The model was initially available in two options, one of which was a two-door. In the later years, the Trooper was also sold as the Acura SLX. If you notice a resemblance, it was because both models were the same vehicle underneath. The Trooper still managed to gain a cult-like following and the SUV has since increased in popularity as an aftermarket off-road car. Still, the roll-over issue put a lot of fear in potential Trooper buyers and hurt Isuzu’s credibility in the US market.

Smart EQ ForTwo via Motor Trend
Smart EQ ForTwo via Motor Trend

1. Smart Fortwo

This entry should be of no surprise, as the Smart Fortwo is a seriously tiny car. The Smart Fortwo did so bad in the initial crash testing that the vehicle would spin around in the air before finally landing. When it comes to a practical application for this car, it’s only meant for urban driving. If you live in a big city where parking is scarce, the Smart Fortwo is a decent vehicle. But if you commute on a freeway everyday, the Smart Fortwo is like taking a risk every time you hit the on-ramp.

Smart ForTwo via Bing
Smart ForTwo via Bing

The Smart Fortwo does have some pretty good safety features such as front and rear airbags, but none of this will do you any good due to the fact that the vehicle is so small. What’s hard to believe is that there’s a vehicle even smaller than the Smart Fortwo, and that’s the Smart EQ. The appetite for these tiny cars seems to be diminishing with the rise of crossover vehicles. You’ll still see a good deal of Smart Fortwos in urban cities such as San Francisco, but otherwise, this little gem is best left avoided.

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