Just a year ago at the Geneva Auto Show, Kia revealed its Sportspace Concept. It was basically a sportier, stretched out Optima Sedan. As Kia put it, the Sportspace was “a totally new breed of grand tourer that promises to bring sportiness and utility under the same roof.” At the time, we didn’t know whether or not the Sportspace would pave the way for an actual model, but toward the end of 2015, our spy photographers caught a similar prototype on public roads.

When we got our hands on the spy shots, we speculated that the car was near-production ready and would likely be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show this March. As it turns out, we were correct. Kia has just officially announced the Kia Optima Sportswagon and has released several preview images and a plethora of information regarding its first ever D-segment tourer.

Now that we have official details and photos of Kia’s new Sportswagon, it is time we take a look at what we’re going to see when the car makes its official public debut in Geneva. From a quick glance at the images, it looks like Kia did pretty well on its new tourer, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Updated 02/18/2016: Kia dropped the official details on the new Optima Sportswagon with just a few days before the car’s official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Optima Sportswagon.

Exterior

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Moving from concept to production model in just a year’s time is pretty fast, but that just goes to show how production ready the Sportspace Concept really was – and how serious Kia was about its new station wagon. From an initial glance at the images, you can see that it retains the same shape as the Sportspace concept, but takes all of its styling cues from the Optima Sedan. Up front, The Sportswagon takes its hood, grille and headlamps directly from the Optima Sedan. Down below that grille, however, Kia did a little body forming. If you look at the fascia itself, it is a combination design cues from the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid, the Kia Optima GT, and the base-model Kia Optima. The corner vents are more exaggerated and lack the chrome trim insert, just like the Optima Hybrid. The air dam has the same shape as the dam on the base-model Optima, but includes the flat in the middle like the Optima GT, with fog lights mounted in the out corners. It’s not a bad look and gives the Sportswagon a sporty and unique appearance.

The rear quarter has a long, stretched out window, and the same wraparound taillights from the other Optimas can be seen from the side.

To the sides, the Sportswagon maintains all of the same cues of the other Optimas in Kia’s lineup. The vent on the fender is more defined, and while it is doubtful, it looks like it could be functional. The side skirts on the Sportswagon are the same – including the chrome trim insert – and the doors are the same in every way. The rear quarter has a long, stretched out window, and the same wraparound taillights from the other Optimas can be seen from the side.

Around back, the Sportwagon somewhat resembles the rear of the 2016 Kia Sorrento, albeit with its own significant twists. The hatch sports a similar long overhang, and the hatch has a similar crease at the bottom. The fascia sports a chrome insert between the corner reflectors, but the rear diffuser – if that is what you would call it – is uneventful and bears a single, oval exhaust outlet on the passenger side. The handle is incorporated into a lip that runs the full width of the hatch. The taillights themselves look similar to those found on the Optima Sedan, but more stretched out. It does appear as if there is a roof rack on the Sportswagen, but the rails are very short and would require crossbars that will probably be available as an option when the wagon goes on sale.

All in all, the Sportswagon is the same width and length as the Optima Sedan but is five mm taller. When it goes on sale in Europe, it will be available in one of nine different colors and will be available 16-, 17-, and 18-inch wheels.

Interior

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As far as the interior goes, the only interior shots we have are of the rear storage compartment, which I must say is quite ample with nearly 20 cubic feet. It is the perfect place for a pet to ride, as a screen can be lifted from the rear seat to separate the rear cargo area from the rear seating. Almost the entire rear floor board doubles as a door that conceals a group of smaller compartments below – this would be a good place for tool and emergency supply storage. To the sides of the door in the floor sit pop-up luggage racks that allow luggage and cargo to be securely stored in place. A mat can also be extended from the rear seat to conceal anything that may be stowed away in the rear.

While Kia didn’t provide any shots of the front or rear seating area, it is safe to assume it probably looks very similar to the Sedan. According to Kia, the cabin is finished with “a high proportion of soft-touch materials, cloth and leather trim in natural tones, and tasteful metallic accents.” It has also be said that the cabin also has a significant amount of soundproofing, which Kia claims will reduce driver fatigue.

The Sportwagon will be available with a black interior color scheme, or dark gray and light gray color scheme, with either available in cloth or leather.

At the time of its launch, the Sportwagon will be available with a black interior color scheme, or dark gray and light gray color scheme, with either available in cloth or leather. The console will be finished in black and chrome. As far as technology goes, the Sportswagon will come equipped with Kia’s audio-visual navigation system. The standard model comes with a 7.0-inch screen, while those models equipped with navigation have an 8.0-inch infotainment screen. This system will also lead the Sportswagen to be one of the first Kia’s to support mobile phone connectivity through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Other small features include Kia’s wireless charging system, which alerts the driver if the phone has been left on the charger when exiting the vehicle, and provides the phones charging information on the car’s instrument cluster. There will also be two USB charging points – one in the front and one in the rear. The car will come standard with a six-speaker audio system, but a 590-watt Harman Kardon system that includes eight speakers, a subwoofer, and external amplifier will also be available at a premium.

Drivetrain

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The Sportswagon comes with the 1.7-liter CRDI diesel that is available in the Optima Sedan, or 2.0-liter CVVL gasoline engine. The 1.7-liter will mate to a six-speed manual transmission or a new seven-speed, double clutch transmission. The new transmission promises to handle higher torque outputs and a sportier drive experience. The Sportswagon GT will come with Kia’s new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine. The 1.7-liter puts out 141 PS (139 horsepower) and 340 NM (250 pound-feet) of torque. The CVVL, gasoline unit pumps out 163 PS (160 horsepower) that is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Kia has yet to release output figures for the 2.0-liter that will come in the Sportswagon GT, but as soon as we have them or performance specifications for the Sportswagon, we will be sure to update our information.

Safety

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The Kia Optima Sedan received a Euro NCAP five-star rating, and Kia expects the Sportswagon to obtain the same rating after its release. The car comes standard with seven airbags including front side and curtain airbags. A vehicle stability management system comes standard and will assist in maintaining stability via the ESC system and the electric power steering system. Optional safety features include Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and a Speed Limit Information System – a system that uses cameras to detect road signs, and displays speed limit information on the instrument cluster.

The Sportswagon comes standard with the same suspension used on the Optima Sedan, but tuned to accommodate the heavier, rear biased weight. As an option, an electronically controlled suspension system can be equipped that will provide handling and ride characteristics tailed specifically to those in the European market.

Prices

It is way too early to be talk anything definite on pricing, but considering the 2016 Optima sedan starts out at $21,840 before options, taxes, and destination, I suspect a similar price point for the Sportswagon. Give the car offers more cargo room and is more utility based, I’m thinking it will probably start out somewhere around $22,500 – still not a bad place to start for a sporty family-mobile.

Competition

2016 Volkswagen Passat Estate

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The Passat Estate is offered in six different trims that start out anywhere between £23,870 and £29,090. It is offered with a 1.6-liter TDI diesel, BlueMotion 1.6-liter TDI diesel, and five variations of the 2.0-liter TDI Diesel. The engines are mated to either a six-speed manual transmission, six-speed automatic transmission, or seven-speed automatic transmission. According to VW, the 1.6-liter TDI paired with the seven-speed DSG automatic pumps out 70.6 mpg on the European cycle, and the 2.0-TDI paired with a six-speed manual hits 62 mph in 8.9 seconds.

Read our full review here.

2016 Ford Mondeo Wagon

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The Ford Mondeo Wagon is offered in three trims – Trend, Titanium, and Ambiente. Two engines are available including the 2.0-liter Duratorq diesel engine and the 2.0-liter EcoBoost Petrol Engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on the Ambiente, while a Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard on Trend and Titanium trims. The Ambiente trim level starts out at $38,765, and the Trend wagon starts out at $46,696.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

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For a wagon, I really like what Kia has done with its new Sportswagon. I’m surprised to see how similar it is to the Sportspace concept and that Kia managed to give the wagon a truly sporty appearance. When we got the first spy shots of this wagon, the Volkswagen Passat Wagon, and the Ford Mondeo Wagon was spotted at Kia’s testing facility too, so it is clear who Kia has in its sights with this wagon. From what I’ve seen here, I think the competition better prepare itself because Kia just might have a winner here. Assuming the Sportswagon is as modestly priced as the Optima Sedan, I think this sporty wagon is going to do quite well in the market.

  • Leave it
    • Unsure of the interior
    • Will it keep the concept’s design?

Spy Shots

November 23, 2015 - First testing session

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2017 Kia Optima Sportswagon Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

The all-new Kia Optima Sportswagon, Kia’s first ever D-segment tourer, will make its global premiere at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show (86 Salon International de l’Automobile) on 1 March.

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Inspired by the 2015 SPORTSPACE concept – shown for the first time at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show – the Optima Sportswagon offers the striking exterior design and high quality interior of the 2016 Optima saloon, with the added practicality and appeal of a tourer bodystyle.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, commented: “The Optima has come to define Kia globally, and is credited with kick-starting the brand’s design-led transformation. The SPORTSPACE concept from 2015 was a clear intention of where we wanted to take the Optima next, and the Sportswagon adds an extra level of style and practicality to the well-received saloon.”

Cole added: “This is an important product for Kia in Europe, and it will increase our presence in this hugely important segment. In Europe, two thirds of all sales in the D-segment, and three quarters of all fleet sales in this class, are made up of tourers, so the Optima Sportswagon will play a critical role in attracting new private and corporate buyers to the brand. This is an important conquest product for Kia.”

The Optima Sportswagon will be available with a choice of efficient and responsive petrol and diesel powertrains, including a high-powered GT model. The Optima Sportswagon is equipped with a range of innovative safety assistance and infotainment features, ensuring maximum occupant safety, comfort and enjoyment.

The Optima Sportswagon is due to go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016.

The all-new Optima Sportswagon: Kia’s first-ever D-segment tourer

Inspired by the Kia SPORTSPACE concept shown at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Optima Sportswagon is Kia’s first foray into the competitive D-segment tourer segment. A thoroughly practical vehicle for everyday use, the Optima Sportswagon will also be among the most stylish cars in its class, with a long, lean and dynamic profile. The Sportswagon retains the same width (1,860 mm) and length (4,855 mm) as the saloon, and grows by 5 mm in height (to 1,470 mm) to accommodate the expanded boot.

The new Optima Sportswagon features the same sharp lines and smooth bodywork that has come to define the latest Kia models. While the front of the car remains the same as the Optima saloon, its strong, rising shoulder and gently sloping, swept-back cabin continue for longer to produce its distinctive tourer body shape.

The overhang at the rear adds greater visual volume to the back of the vehicle, though this extra mass is disguised elegantly by the raked rear window and tapering roofline, giving the Sportswagon a genuinely athletic stance in a typically conservative segment.

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At the rear of the car, wide LED tail lamps wrap around the corners of the bodywork. The rear bumper houses a single oval exhaust and features an integrated air diffuser, for a sporty finish.

The Optima Sportswagon will be available in Europe in a choice of nine paint colours, and will ride on alloy wheels ranging from 16- to 18-inches in diameter.

High quality interior with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™

The all-new Kia Optima Sportswagon offers a premium-quality, driver-focused interior, with features and technologies typically associated with vehicles from the class above.

The wide dashboard, designed along a horizontal plane, helps to create a genuine sense of spaciousness and modernity, with the same high material quality and design that characterises the interior of the Optima saloon. For a quality ambience, the cabin is finished with a high proportion of soft-touch materials, cloth and leather trim in natural tones, and tasteful metallic accents. High levels of soundproofing reduce driver fatigue during long journeys and when travelling over broken surfaces.

The new Sportswagon is available with a choice of single- or two-tone colour interior schemes: single-tone (black) or two-tone (dark grey with light grey) in cloth or leather trim. The console is finished in gloss black and chrome.

The same technologies that make the Optima saloon one of the most innovative cars in the D-segment are featured in the Optima Sportswagon – a range of on-board technologies to improve usability, comfort and convenience.

The Optima Sportswagon is equipped with Kia’s latest audio-visual navigation (AVN) system, available with 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment – the latter when specified with the satellite navigation system. DAB digital radio, which is available across a number of European markets, is fully supported with Kia’s AVN.

The Optima Sportswagon will additionally be among first Kia models to feature Android Auto™, designed to work with Android phones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, and Apple CarPlay™ for iPhone 5 or newer. Both systems feature voice control and allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead at all times.

Available from launch, Android Auto™ connects to the user’s phone and lets them access smartphone apps and functions through the in-car infotainment system, such as voice-guided Google Maps navigation, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Android Auto™ also lets users stream music from Google Play Music.

Apple CarPlay™ – available on Sportswagon models by the end of 2016 – will enable full Siri voice control to control the phone’s various functions and apps, including navigation via Apple Maps, calls and text dictation. Apple CarPlay™ also supports other audio apps, such as music streaming or audiobooks that the user may have downloaded to their iPhone.

The AVN system also offers the full Kia Connected Services package, with up-to-date, driver-oriented information. Provided by technology company TomTom, the broad range of available connectivity features includes live traffic updates, speed camera alerts, local search and weather forecasts. In Europe, the system will be available to Optima Sportswagon buyers free of charge for seven years after the car’s purchase.

The touchscreen infotainment system is paired with a six-speaker audio system as standard, while music lovers can also specify a powerful 590-watt Harman Kardon Premium Sound system, with eight speakers, an external amplifier and subwoofer, and Clari-Fi MP3 restoration technology.

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The Optima Sportswagon is available with Kia’s new wireless charger for mobile devices, situated at the base of the central console. The 5W wireless charger lets users charge their phone on the move, without a wire. With ‘foreign object detection’, the charging system activates when a compatible device is placed on the pad and warns owners when they’ve left a phone on the charger when they leave the vehicle. The system displays the phone’s charging condition on the instrument cluster, and features a safety system to prevent overheating while in use.

The Optima Sportswagon additionally features two USB charging points, one in the front and one in the rear, to allow passengers to charge mobile devices, depending on trim level.

Depending on market, other available features will include: 360-degree Around View Monitor, with four cameras helping the driver to manoeuvre when parking by displaying a birds-eye view of the Optima Sportswagon on the touchscreen; Smart Parking Assist System (SPAS), which parks the car automatically in parallel and perpendicular spaces and helps drivers safely leave a parking space; and Dynamic Bending Headlamps, which sweep the road ahead in line with the steering wheel for greater visibility and improved safety at night.

Versatile practicality features and 553-litre cargo capacity

The all-new Optima Sportswagon is the most practical Optima ever, with generous cargo capacity and a range of innovative and useful features to ensure the best possible use of storage space.

The additional cargo space resulting from the tourer bodystyle makes the Optima Sportswagon one of the most practical cars in its class, with 553 litres (VDA) of cargo space behind the second row of seats – 48 litres more than the Optima saloon.

A series of highly ergonomic features in the boot render the car more practical than many other D-segment tourers. These include a safety barrier net built in to the back of the rear seats and pop-up sliding luggage rails to secure individual items which are likely to slide or roll around the boot. A low, flat boot lip, and a Smart Power Tailgate – which opens the boot automatically when the Optima’s smart key is located in close proximity to the rear tailgate – enables owners to load heavy items easily.

Highly-versatile 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats are fitted as standard, enabling owners to slide longer outdoor equipment – such as skis or snowboards – through the central seat, while two rear passengers can still sit in comfort.

High strength bodyshell with active safety technologies

The new Sportswagon offers a high level of safety from its lightweight, high-strength body and high levels of passive and active safety. Kia’s engineers have targeted a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating throughout the Optima Sportswagon’s development programme. The Optima saloon recently scored the maximum five-star rating from the independent safety organisation.

The bodyshell of the Optima Sportswagon benefits from the extensive application of Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS), which makes up 51% of the body. AHSS has been used to reinforce the car’s A and B-pillars, side sills, floor and front wheel arches, with particular attention paid to the roof, C-pillar and rear bulkhead, which have been adapted in the Optima’s transition from saloon to tourer.

Inside the strong bodyshell, passive occupant safety is assured with driver, driver knee, passenger, two front side and two curtain airbags all fitted as standard.

The Kia Optima Sportswagon is expected to be a strong performer in Euro NCAP’s increasingly important Safety Assist category thanks to its suite of new active safety technologies designed to avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision.

Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) is fitted as standard, ensuring stability under braking and cornering by controlling the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and electric motor-driven power steering if it detects a loss of traction.

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The Optima Sportswagon is available with a wide range of optional active hazard-avoidance technologies, depending on market. These include:

Advanced Smart Cruise Control (SCC), which automatically adjusts the Optima’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)*, which employs a long-range radar detection system to detect a potential collision with another vehicle or pedestrian and help bring the car to a halt
Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), which detects the Optima’s position in relation to lane markings and takes automatic corrective action if it senses the car starting to draft without the use of indicators
High Beam Assist (HBA), which automatically adjusts headlamp range according to other vehicles and road conditions
Speed Limit Information Function (SLIF), displaying the speed limit in the driver’s instrument cluster based on cameras detecting roadside signs
Blind Spot Detection (BSD), with a visual warning in the door mirror when another car enters the driver’s blind spot
Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which warns against other cars driving behind the Optima in car parks while reversing.

The Optima Sportswagon’s AEB system is unique in its segment in Europe for offering not just a short-range radar, but also a longer-range unit which is able to identify cars and pedestrians further away and at higher speeds than many competitors.

The short-range ‘City’ radar helps drivers to avoid or mitigate the effects of front collisions when travelling under 50 kph, while the longer-range ‘Urban’ radar enables the Optima Sportswagon to detect and respond to obstacles at speeds between 30 and 80 kph. The AEB system’s pedestrian-detection function is designed to identify pedestrians when travelling up to 60 kph and reduce the risk of a collision.

*The Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS) is an assistance system and does not relieve the driver from his/her responsibility to safely operate the vehicle at any time. The driver still has to adapt his/her driving behaviour to his/her personal driving capabilities, to the legal requirements and to the overall road and traffic conditions. AEBS is not designed to drive the vehicle autonomously. For further information, please refer to the owner’s manual.

Smooth ride, agile handling and optional electronic suspension

Central to the appeal of the new Optima saloon is its ride comfort, high-speed stability and engaging handling. The Optima Sportswagon’s suspension system has been engineered to isolate vibrations and bumps from poor road surfaces, and while improving handling agility.

The Optima saloon’s fully-independent suspension hardware is carried over for the new Sportswagon derivative, however spring, damper and alignment settings have been adapted for the new tourer due to the new version’s different weight distribution, which is slightly more rear-biased.

The development brief for the Optima’s fully-independent suspension – compared to the last-generation Kia Optima – saw engineers move front and rear subframe mounting points further out towards the edge of the vehicle for a smoother ride over uneven surfaces. Two additional front bushing mounts (now four) increase lateral stiffness, while more robust wheel bearings complete the front suspension changes. The results are evident in the Optima Sportswagon’s quick responses to steering inputs, high level of traction under cornering and stability on motorways and poor surfaces.

At the rear, the Optima’s multi-link suspension features large dual lower-arms with thick, highly energy-absorbent bushings. Further defining the Optima’s ride and handling characteristics, stability and bump absorption are both high.

The Optima Sportswagon is equipped with Kia’s new rack-mounted electric motor-driven power steering system (R-MDPS), fitted as standard for European models with the 1.7-litre CRDi engine and GT models, empowered by the new 2.0-litre T-GDI engine. Mounted directly on the steering rack, rather than on the column, R-MDPS provides a high level of steering feel and quick, linear responses to driver inputs – particularly around the centre. R-MDPS enhances the Sportswagon’s sharp handling characteristics, and places it among the most agile cars in the D-segment.

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Customers can specify an optional electronic controlled suspension system with internal valves (ECS), to deliver ride and handling tailored exclusively to the tastes of European drivers. ECS employs internal valves for each of the four dampers, and is connected to a G-force sensor in the ECU and two G-force sensors built into the front wheels. Using these sensors, ECS detects steering inputs and accelerator pedal position, and monitors road conditions, to adapt the suspension for a firmer, sportier ride or for greater comfort – drivers can choose from ‘sport’ and ‘normal’ modes accordingly. The system provides individualised damping force for each wheel more quickly than ever before. ECS will be available from launch on models fitted with the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine, and will be fitted as standard to all 2.0-litre T-GDI GT models.

Choice of petrol and diesel power with manual or automatic transmissions

The front-wheel drive Optima Sportswagon will be available with a range of Euro 6-compliant petrol and diesel engines when it goes on sale across Europe. The Optima Sportswagon offers the choice of either a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel or 2.0-litre CVVL petrol engine, while GT models are equipped with Kia’s new high-powered 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol direct injection engine.

Upgraded for its application in the Optima saloon and carried over unchanged in the Sportswagon, the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel engine will account for the majority of European sales. The engine benefits from a series of modifications, resulting in greater power output and torque, and reduced emissions. Producing 141 ps and340 Nm torque, the upgraded 1.7-litre diesel engine will offer low CO2 emissions and high economy, pending final homologation later in 2016.

The 1.7-litre CRDi engine is available with a six-speed manual transmission or Kia’s new seven-speed double-clutch transmission, capable of handling the higher torque outputs of the turbodiesel engine and engineered to offer a sportier driving experience with smooth and instantaneous gear changes.

The Optima Sportswagon is also available with a 2.0-litre CVVL petrol engine, featuring continuously variable valve lift technology for smooth delivery of its 163 ps power output and keen accelerative response. The 2.0-litre CVVL petrol engine can be specified with either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The high-powered Optima Sportswagon GT features Kia’s new 2.0-litre T-GDI GT petrol engine, which transmits engine power through a six-speed automatic.

Kia Optima Sportswagon on-sale from Q4 2016

The Optima Sportswagon will go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016, with the company’s unique 7-Year, 100,000 mile warranty as standard. For European markets, the Optima Sportswagon will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.

Editor’s note: All technical data in this press release are based on the Optima saloonmodel and may differ from the Optima Sportswagon. Full technical details of the Optima Sportswagon will be released closer to the official vehicle launch.

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