Please Help Us Choose New Family Car (Newborn Coming Soon) - Budget $45,000

Hi everyone,

We will soon be welcoming our first child in November this year.

We are looking at getting a family car with the purpose of fitting pram, basinet etc in the boot & for easier access.

The cars mentioned in the poll are ones we are considering and we were looking for any advice, experience or alternatives to the cars mentioned.

Our budget is around $45,000 and this will be our sole family car. For context, we currently do not have a car (we used to have a Honda Accord & never have had an SUV) and my wife is 5-foot.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


First off I wanted to apologise for not responding earlier to this thread and being a bit MIA. Thank you all for taking the time to share your suggestions, it has helped a lot and made us think of alternative options that we initially thought would not suit our situation (expected bub) + when factoring in that what we want may not be available right now.

I think that we initially got caught up in the "Keeping up with the Joneses" so to speak thinking we NEED a mid-SUV.

Yes, it is an exciting time for my wife and me. We recently went to the baby event that was held in Olympic Park, NSW and was tbh overwhelmed with all the different products being sold. So that will be another journey in itself.

We will definitely check the cars mentioned throughout the thread and thanks to those that have shared their experiences with the different cars and provided alternatives and other cars to consider. The next step is visiting the dealers to get timings on delivery etc

Which cars generally have the better fuel economy and lower service costs?

Some more cars that we are considering from your comments and advice that we are going to check out & maybe test-drive:
Mazda: 3 & 6 wagon

Subaru: XV, Forester, Outback, Liberty, Levorg

Toyota: Rav-4 (our favourite at the moment), Camry (hybrid)

Kia: Cerato (hatchback)

Hyundai: i30n (hatchback)

Honda: HR-V, CR-V (medium) HEV L

Skoda: Octavia, Superb, Fabia

VW: Passat

Poll Options

  • 20
    Kia Seltos
  • 16
    Hyundai Tuscon (base model n-line)
  • 150
    Mazda cx-5
  • 56
    Kia Sportage
  • 177
    Toyota rav-4


  • Unrelated advice, don't bother buying a bassinet attachment for your pram. They're not in it for very long anyway and as long as your pram allows your infant to lie flat comfortably, then there's zero need for a bassinet other than for aesthetics.

  • +1

    Perhaps unpopular opinion, but consider your kids future planet. All this justification for SUVs appears to be just people trying to justify an image rather than a substantial need.

    The bigger and heavier a vehicle is the more fuel (or energy) required. SUVs are demonstrably more prone to rollovers and other dangers, make it harder to see around you (look at the stats of people backing over their kids in the SUV they bought to protect them). Fuel prices are going up and will continue to do so, you will be paying thousands to carry around all that extra vehicle.

    Agree with the comments above eg "Its like people that move to regional centres and think they need a landcruiser because they are in the "country" now. It is just thinking you need a certain car for stage of life and lots of people buy SUVs for a newborn."

    My friend justified his 70k Cx9 because he might have to take all the kids and a friend and a grandparent once a year somewhere. It was just so he could justify the car and image that he wanted. To my knowledge he has never done the load case envisioned.

    • All this justification for SUVs appears to be just people trying to justify an image rather than a substantial need.

      SUV owner here. Nothing to do with image for me, everything to do with comfort and practicality. Better height for car transfers, strapping kid in, boot nappy changes. Also nice having aircon in the back in the hot QLD weather, needing to keep baby from over heating. Definitely not necessary, but nice to have. Updating from the 1995 Corolla was also a safety thing - they don’t fare well in crash tests! So whilst your points about fuel is valid, it’s really not about image for most people.

      • +1

        Hey Morse I'm not saying everyone, but I would say a majority. There was a line in "Unsafe at any speed" along the lines of "I don't ever take my SUV off road, but it looks like I could" And further too that capability image I would suggest that a Hyundai Staria or Kia Carnival people mover would have way better access than an SUV. But they are forever called soccer mum cars. So folks naturally choose the one that has the less daggy tag.

        To your points the transfers and access is easier for the baby duties, definitely safer than a '95 corolla, but how long will you have the SUV versus you needing baby specific features.

        Oh and I did say unpopular opinion… :)

        • I dunno kid is nearly 3 and still enjoying baby features. I’m going to say at least until 5. Will probably keep this one for road trips into the future and get an electric when the other newer Corolla dies (possibly never). In my circles no one cares what car you drive. I have rich friends and those just scraping by. I’d hate to be in circles where image was important, perceived or otherwise.

      • I don't get it, I've never owned a sedan or wagon that didn't have air con vents in the back?

        • Our other two cars and a few we looked at didn’t have vents in the back.

  • +1

    I watched a five foot woman lift an 18 Kilo toddler into her shiny new Nissan Patrol. She was lifting almost past her shoulders. Didn't look fun.

    Good luck buying a RAV 4 though. Are they still on like a 6 month wait?

    • +1

      18 months for the hybrid

      • +2

        One of our relatives waited 15 months,quite stupid really.

      • 18 months for hybrid yes

  • While I can't say I'm in the same boat, we drove a Skoda Octavia wagon in Tasmania for a week or so. Great size, enough power, good height.

    I would take one of these over a new CX5 or similar, but thats just me

    Subaru outback / forester are also a good size, though apparently the hybrid models in these is meant to be garbage. They are also CVT but they did drive alright too

  • No Subaru Forester on your list?

  • Tesla model e

  • +2

    I would recommend an ev as price of fuel will continue to climb due to oil and gas corporations all agreeing to limit supply to drive the price up. But if you are firm on a ICE vehicle and it has to be a SUV, give the Haval H6 a look. We got one and find the all the poll cars lacking compared. The top of the range will set you back about $40000 but has everything you could want in a family SUV, Ours has been solid for the year we have had it. We have put 17000km in the last 11 months. Real road fuel use is around 7.5ltr per 100km mixed driving. Gets about 6.8ltr per 100km on the highway.

    • How about 2.9/100 to 3.9 for a Honda HRV Hybrid?Sound good?Pretty impressive I would say.(that is what I achieved.)My old 2019 Honda CRV AWD was in the mid sixes.Think you have been had.

      • +1

        Damn that is impressive. Sadly most big name dealers around me had a 8 month plus waitlist so our choices were limited. Would be cool to verify the fuel claims though as those numbers would make your car easily the most efficient car in its class.

        • @JustASmoothSkin.Highway running Hybrids are no where near as good as urban running.Mine is just over 5/100 on the highway, but once it hits the Urban areas,then it really comes into its own.They will easily achieve high threes,no problem @ all.I think I can get it down from 5/100 to the high fours on the highway.As long as you are between 80-120kph it is achievable.All about your driving style with these,& adapting to the technology.Watching your style of braking, using the regenerative braking side of it.Still a learning experience for me.Last I heard it was a six month wait on them ,but could be longer now, I was just lucky & in the right place @ the right time to place my order.They are worth the wait.

    • +2

      We have the H6 4WD . As you said its great car, though the fuel consumption is ~7.5l highway which I think they could do better.

    • Great to see another H6 owner, we love ours too.

  • Walked in a dealership to look at those medium SUV's and ended up purchasing a Wagon instead before the arrival of bubs 2 - fell in love with the bootspace.
    Boot space on those SUVs just didn't cut it, in fact not much larger than the boot of a Golf hatchback which served well for bubs 1.
    My wife is around 5-foot as well, the car being much lower made it easier for her to carry the pram in and out etc.

  • Look for MPV, the sliding door make things easier.

  • my wife is 5-foot

    Get her to sit in all of those and try to lift pram out of the back of those, cross off ones that don't suit.

    THEN check delivery date for the grade of vehicle you want, cross of those that won't make the November date.

    Update the poll and give us a go.

  • I have the sportage and it's great. Getting crowded now with 2 kids though so it's time to upgrade if we decide to have a 3rd.

    7 year warranty - can't go wrong. My only regret was not getting the diesel…

  • +1

    having had a santa Fe SUV and also 2 kids,

    • 7 seats used as a 5 seater, means buckets loads more space
    • boot space big enough for kids to sit in and have a picnic.. handy when it started raining.
    • reversing up to a sports field and using the boot space as a covered seat
    • boot floor at height that changing nappies was a breeze.
    • boot space tall enough that as a toddler my kids were able to stand up and get changed, in emergency
  • We drive a Honda city with 3 kids (11,9,4) are expecting no.4 soon and am annoyed I need a bigger car. Go small, so much easier for parking, fuel costs and driving around.

  • a few years ago we got a CRV because the CX5 boot was too small. If I were buying today, the RAV4 Hybrid would be my choice by far. Full EV is too expensive. Now we are looking at 7 seaters… sigh.

  • Mondeo hatch or wagon

  • From having driven lots, consider a station Wagon as well as the softroaders . The boot space is better and you have extra flexibility for extra large things sans kids.

    We went with a Passat a few years back which has a ton of space for two of rhe biggest baby:toddler seats and pram and a lot of power but have a drive of everything and give Skoda a go.

  • +1

    If you’re not a brand snob, we just got a Haval H6 and we love it. It’s approximately Toyota Rav 4 sized, but much nicer inside, although that’s a pretty low bar. Obviously burns more fossils though.

    • They are considered as very reliable in China. Aside from past few months, the H6 was number 1 SUV there for 10 years.

      Now the H6 is outsold by EV/PHEVs but that's just Chinese market, where buses are EVs too for a long time.

  • New Kia Sportage. Best ride in the class, hands down, bubs and mum will love that.

  • +1

    I had a corolla hatchback from 2013 and was quite spacious tbh for the 3 of us. If you are expecting parents and inlaws and going on trips with them + car seat + pram then consider a 5+2 or 7 seater. I only upgraded because of the latter, else would still be rocking the Corolla.

    I felt rav4 was a joke when it comes to usable space.

  • We were looking at very similar cars last year. I put an order down for a Kia Seltos but they managed to 'lose it' so we had to shop around. We ended up getting a CX-8 and so glad we didn't end up with a mid-sized SUV like a Seltos or CX-5. We've usually got the rear seats down and the boot space is massive, but we could also drive the 2 kids + in laws around if needed. I think our next car will be even bigger (Honda Odyssey, Kia carnival etc.).

    I think you'll manage regardless of which car you get, we were managing with one kid in a sports coupe until the second one came along. With 7 seaters you can future proof if you plan to have more kids :) good luck!

  • Subaru forester worth considering too

  • +1

    Congrats. We got a Honda CRV in 2019 for the same purposes (and one of our cars was due for replacement anyway) and are very happy with it. The doors open a bit wider than the RAV4 and Outback at the time. Fuel economy is good for the size/height of the vehicle. Features I like on our variant with a bub is the auto open boot, and being able to open all the windows when approaching the car using the remote to let heat out. Would have loved to have the version up with electric adjustable seats (him and I set it up pretty differently) but it wasn’t worth the extra at the time. The boot height is also good for doing nappy changes in the back of the car, which unfortunately does happen.

    I’d recommend looking at them, imagine where the baby will be in relationship to your hip height and head height and see how you’d go adjusting straps etc. the car seat adds about 30cm to the rear seat height. We’ve done extended rear facing but many people turn kids around from 12months or so, so consider that also. Some prams are massive! Valco snap ultra gave us plenty of room with the pram in, but some prams would have taken the whole boot.

    Now baby is approaching 3 years he climbs into both cars independently and has done since 18months-2years. The other car is a Corolla. So in a way we only needed the bigger car for a short time, as only having the one kid. Still like the CRV though.

    • @morse,we just moved a 2019 CRV AWD on, only because the wife did not like the size of the vehicle especially driving in large metro areas.She had no issues otherwise.Great cars though!

    • Now baby is approaching 3 years he climbs into both cars independently and has done since 18months-2years.

      Lucky. Mine could barely climb onto the couch until they were about 4

      • Oh gosh - I’m not sure who is lucky here. Mine just scaled a retaining wall at my parents property (maybe 1.5m) to get to me at the clothes line. Whilst I’m pleased with his athleticism I’m less enthusiastic about the safety.

        Not sure if you’re being sarcastic saying I’m showing off about my kid. But defs not, every kid is different. Just for OPs reference, many kids climb into the car quickly others don’t. When I worked at the childrens hospital pre kids, many mums of kids with disability told me the higher cars worked better for them.

        • +1

          Yeah. They’re all different.

          Was kinda pleased we didn’t get climbers especially after seeing a few kids getting stuck at the top of play equipment and watching parents work out how to bring them down.

          I much preferred a taller vehicle. Less bending down with a back that quit on me getting em in and out of the cot.

          • @Euphemistic: It’s actually refreshing to hear that they are not all climbers and escape artists. Sometimes I mention how hard it is to other parents/people and they say it’s just normal. But then I turn my head for 3 secs and he’s gone. I lost him momentarily today whilst on the phone - turned up outside doing some sweeping, but it was less than 15 secs that I wasn’t looking at him, turned around and couldn’t find him, he’d let himself out the front door.

  • +1

    Have you considered a Ssangyong Korando or Rexton? Have a look, you may even find them to be in stock for immediate delivery depending on where you are located.

    • +2

      Not sure what the down vote is for. I mean a top spec Korando is less than $42k drive away with 5 star ancap rating and 7 year warranty. The dealer near me has them in stock and ready to deliver. The whole range starts from $30k drive away. It's similarly sized to most of the other cars mentioned here. It's a serious contender.

  • I reckon Kia Sportage GT if you can stretch your budget

  • check out honda CRV, i was considering CX5, but found that the 2nd row seats have very small space. the front seats will be pressed when you have capsule installed. CRV have smaller but sufficient boot for pram and bigger 2nd row. if you are going to get prams like bee or compact prams like Yoyo, then there will be lots of space for it in your boot.

  • +3

    Was in the same spot as you
    we took our car seat to all those cars you mentioned. Absolutely surpsiing that the SUVs are smaller than most hatchbacks.
    Seltos seemed great for us, but my wife preferred a smaller car.

    Golf Wagon, was bigger inside, more modern a bit cheaper at the time - that's the one we ended up with.
    Kia Cerato was actually the biggest inside

  • +2

    MG HS with it's safety and 5 yr warranty?

  • +1

    Im also in a similar position. Was interested in the rav4 for the hyrbid, but the boot height was quite disappointing. Couldnt fit a uppababy pram folded upright while my 04 crv could easily do it plus some more.

  • -1

    Good luck if you getting a Tucson. Cost me a fortune to have engine replaced under 100,000k, just out of warranty. Many parts failed pre-maturely because they are made with plastic and hard to access. Nice drive though, when it is working.
    Their base model is now cost even more than RAV4. Go figure.

    • What year is your Tucson?

      • 2016

    • Engine failure is not a reasonable thing to happen to a modern car under 100,000Ks given that you have looked after it as per the service manual. Did you look at whether you may be entitled to at least a partial refund of your expenses to replace the engine under the ACL?

      • Did try to fight with Hyundai and even got Fair Trade involved, but they just don't budge. Last resort was to bring them into the court.
        Discussed with my solicitor, and being already months after it's broken I just decided not to go further into that path.
        Got a few quotes around and the local dealership ended up replaced it for me at cost price. All other mechanics are quoting me $4-5k more, on a used motor.

        Will get rid of it later when Corolla Cross hybrid is available.

  • +2

    just to add to the cacophony of folks saying this:

    get. a. wagon.

    outback, octavia, golf. just get a wagon. end of story.

  • May be look for a used Kluger ?
    Either 5 or 7 seater.

  • +7

    Is it just me who thinks $45k is a lot to spend on a car?

    2016 Skoda Octavia for $15k ish is my vote. Have fun with the $30k saved.

    • Found one wise man.

  • i30N. Hatchback for convenient boot access. Decent boot capacity. Fast & furious

  • I have 2021 CRV. Very happy with it and much more spacious than the CX5. Should be able to pick it up for around $33k-36k if low km.

    • CX5 2.5T is a far better engine though

      • Yeah probably. I have the VTi but engine isn't important to me unless it's totally gutless.

    • Hows the boot height?

  • +2

    Haval H6 should be on the list as well.

  • +1

    Haval H6 Ultra 4x4. $43k with 7 year warranty.

    • You got one? I don't know much about them but it looks interesting.

      • My wife does. We have 2016 model and she is upgrading to the 2022 model. She is pretty happy with the brand.

        • -1

          I suspect that’s more like not unhappy with the brand and like the bang for buck their vehicles provide.

  • +1

    None of the vehicles in your list are suitable for coaching baby. You'll need enough space to fit the baby capsule in the second row seat while your first row passenger not loosing their leg rooms, and additional space for a full size stroller, plus space for nappy change and shopping/groceries. It's also extremely difficult to take the baby capsule out from the second row seat if you're parking next to another car in a tight parking spot. Most SUV rear door required good amount of space to swing fully open.

    If you want to fit the baby capsule & stroller comfortably with room to spare then check out the following vehicles
    - Honda Odyssey 2.4L petrol
    - Kia Carnival 3.3L V6 Petrol or 2.2L Diesel
    - Nissan Elgrand 7 seaters 3.5L V6 petrol
    - Toyota Estima 7 seaters 3.5L V6 or 2.4L petrol Hybrid (JDM imported)
    - Toyota Tarago 3.5L V6 petrol (Australian poverty pack of the Estima)
    - LDV G10 👎

    If you want to know how reliable these vehicles are then just join the owner groups on Facebook for these vehicles.

    Personally I have the Toyota Estima 7 seaters 2.4L hybrid and we have been very happy with it.

    Good luck 👍

    • My wife and I got the Odyssey and it's been amazing. Seriously would never ever get an SUV again for transporting kids around. Or a wagon. It's just perfection. We have the luxury version and it's crazy comfortable.

    • +3

      Whilst 7 seaters have their place (I have one now that I have 3 kids) it is ridiculous to suggest that you need a vehicle that big for your first child. You simply don't. We were able to fit 3 child seats across the back of a Cerato with stroller etc in the boot.

      That said, if you do want a larger vehicle, as much as my Sorento has been a very reliable vehicle I agree that a people mover is a better option for practicality and ride comfort.

  • Which one of those have you and your wife test driven so far, and what do you personally think of those from the perspective of things like ingress/egress, cabin, boot space, comfort, driving dynamics (if it mattered), safety systems, etc?

    If you don't have the answer to that question, I'd suggest start with test driving each one. Remember you're putting down $45,000 so it's best you experience each one personally. That would be a good start.

    Also worth checking out is the Subaru Forester.

  • I have a 2018 CX-5. They are super nice, but the boot isn't overly big unless you have the seats down.

  • We had SUV and wagons, and our current car is the dream for a family with 2 kids or fewer. The Honda Odyssey. Get the leather seat version, it's way easier to clean, but most of the time the back row is folded down and it's just a stupid amount of room. The two captain's chairs in the middle row are crazy comfortable, it's ridiculously roomy too.

    Every other parent with an SUV has looked in our car with envy. It's the best/

  • I never understood the idea you need to go a SUV when starting a family. In 2011 I picked up a mkv golf r and a week after that my first was born followed by my second 2 years later and we used that hatch for both of them.

    We didn't buy those massive pram/stroller contraptions that people are fond of these days, the smaller petite prams/strollers still work and the babies slept in them just fine.

  • We bought a Kia Sportage Si Premium 2019 (~29.5k) when we had our first.

    Extremely happy with it. All the bells and whistles and drives like a proper family car.

    If I'm right, they have a much bigger boot space than the RAV4 and Tucson and we didn't even have to break the bank.

    7 year warranty and 7 year fixed price servicing with warranty transferable when selling is pretty cool.

    Model Y/Cybertruck when we can afford it will be out next car.

    • +1

      Model Y/Cybertruck

      So very similar car categories :/

  • When we had our first in 2020, we simply just drive our 20 years old Toyota Corolla. 1 set of grandparents fit in there as well.
    Now that we are expecting 2 (and plus the border opens up), need space for 2 kids and 2 sets of grandparents, we bought Kia Carnival. Not sure how we'd go with it, but my point is for 1st child (or even 2) if you don't need to have other people in the car, sedan/hatchback should be ok.

    • Yeah, we went 4 years with a 2005 Honda civic sedan. Often with 2 big dogs on the back seat with the car seat with no issues.

      With the second we needed something bigger to move the dogs to the boot so we could actually go places together. Got a 2012 Outback for under $15k and couldn't be happier. No idea why people think they need to spend $45,000 on a car (not even electric), or need a big SUV for 1 kid.

  • +1

    I am a fan of the Subarus, but would personally remove the XV from your list, they are an excellent car but have very little boot space. Forester or outback would be a much better pick.

  • I was similar situation 3 years back and didnt wanted to wait 2 to 8 months for a car. I was looking for spacious mid Size SUV. I had shortlisted RAV4 petrol and Honda CRV and ended up buying based model RAV4 GX petrol.
    Both are spacious but Honda CRV felt more roomy in the back seat, I found 2 people can sit more comfortably next to baby seat. Also CRV has more leg space. However I guess Rav4 has more boot space. Since August 2019 my car has driven about 20k and gives me about 7.5L/100km.

    I bought RAV4 because of Toyotas safety features reliability, capped priced servicing and no price negotiation from Honda dealers in Adelaide. Also i think certain safety features were standard in RAV4 GX whilst in CRV it were only available in higher models.

    45K is high budget for mid size SUV. If you dont mind petrol base model or so then why not consider 7 seater such as Kluger.

  • -3

    Which cars generally have the better fuel economy and lower service costs?

    Better ask "In which car people generally survive head on collision". Answer is in a big car. Buy used Prado, solid 2250kg.

    • Oh FFS. NO!

      • It is physics, dude, deceleration of two objects with different mass.

        • Yeah but it’ll cost twice as much to run and be a lot harder to avoid a crash with its poorer handling - due to the increased mass (your favourite physics at work)

          A Prado is not a suitable car for driving in city traffic. It’s only suitable if you want to tow or go serious off road.

          And that’s before mentioning that for $45k it’ll be a long way from new. Think 5yo and/or 200,000km

  • -1

    Anyone spending $45k on an ICE car at this point is not thinking straight. The whole world is transitioning to EVs. By the way, how do you afford $45k for a car when you're having your first child? Everyone I've ever known has bought 2nd hand <$20k cars right up until their mid 40s or 50s.

    • I got curious, found map of charging stations, only 23 stations that are 50+ kW in whole Sydney. None on whole Northern Beaches. Closest to me is in 15 km. To charge overnight you need to buy a house, I think appartments are tough call with strata.

    • Transition will take many many years, especially in Australia. I don't see the reason for overpaying for EV just because there is transition in the world. Like everything new, it's usually overpriced at the beginning. People will be buying ICE cars for long time as they are much better from the financial point of view. So you think OP should buy worst quality smaller car not meeting his requirements just because it's EV? Don't even know what he could buy for $45k…

      BTW. OP can afford $45k car because he don't overpay for new gadgets…

      • Petrol around $2/l and riding is a big incentive to spend a little more on an EV. Running costs in the first couple of years will make up the difference in purchase price pretty quickly.

        • The problem is "a little more" is not really a little. We are talking about $20-30k or even more. OP would need to do a lot of KMs a year to make up the difference. Additionally you need this extra money straight away to buy a car, plus there is very limited choice and very long waiting times….

          • @yabol: Mg ev is around $50k.

            • +1

              @Euphemistic: Yes but I've checked on their website:
              MG ZS EV (Excite) - $46,990
              MG ZS (Excite) - 22,990
              So EV is over twice more expensive - $24,000 more for EV.

        • -1

          This is only true if you have solar and actively use free solar energy for your EV. Soon, your electricity will likely go up significantly also. Think 30c - 40c/kwh or higher. Your cheap EV based on 20c/kwh suddenly becomes a lot more expensive to run and more years to break even.

          Why? Because oil and coal are similar products and interchangeable to an extent. Newcastle 6000KJ coal is at historical highest (over AU$550/ton). Electricity price / coal price will soon become a much larger problem to Australian economy.


      • BTW. OP can afford $45k car because he don't overpay for new gadgets…

        More likely the OP will be borrowing the money, and is part of the new "want it all and want it now" generations that have ruined the property market. Borrowing $million of dollars for overpriced properties and fancy cars and then getting a bailout from the government when things go south.

        • Hi,
          Not borrowing the money - have it in savings.
          We bought our modest investment property through following the ozbargain way.

          We are now considering a hybrid Corolla or Camry.

          • @Lovemydeals:

            We are now considering a hybrid Corolla or Camry.

            If you're looking to buy new, expect to wait for 8-12 months … and probably longer for the RAV4 hybrid

  • You don't need an suv, you can get more space (wagon) for cheaper. But having an suv will save your back, it's so much easier loading a baby without having to bend over.

    The smallest cars can easily fit a baby seat.
    You don't need a bassinet, they only last like 6 months.
    CX5 was a nice car to drive but it's a tiny suv.
    My money would go to a rav 4 hybrid out of the list.

    I would also recommend having a look at the haval H6. Has all the bells and whistle for about $37k. Lots of room too.

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