Quick Tow Comparison: 2015 Ford F-150 Versus 2015 Chevrolet Colorado


F150 tow 1 II

The recent Texas Auto Writers Association's Truck Rodeo provided our first chance to do some comparison towing with a couple new 2015 pickup trucks. We hauled loads with a 2015 Ford F-150 equipped with the all-new 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost as well as an all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado with the 3.6-liter V-6. We didn't get to do any instrumented testing, but we thought you might be interested in our observations.

To its credit, TAWA allows its members to do some towing with select manufacturers' vehicles that are part of the rodeo. We can't think of any other automotive writers' association that does this. This year TAWA provided four identically equipped 500-gallon water-tank trailers — outfitted with a conventional surge-brake hitch — to put behind each of the designated vehicles. Although we didn't see an exact weight for the trailer, we calculated the total weight of water and double-axle reinforced supports to be just more than 5,200 pounds. Based on our best guess, the total weight of the trailer was nearly the same as the F-150 and probably several hundred pounds heavier than the Colorado. All trailers and hitches were well balanced and height adjusted, so there was no excessive tongue weight.

The Ram for this tow event was a well-equipped EcoDiesel; the Toyota Tundra was a fully loaded 1794 Edition; the Ford was a midlevel XLT FX4 package; and Chevrolet, interestingly, offered its Silverado 2500 Heavy-Duty Duramax and Colorado crew-cab V-6. As you might expect, the big and small diesels (the Ram EcoDiesel and the Chevy Duramax) made short work of the stubby trailer, with the Duramax significantly under-stressed during the drive loop. Likewise, the Tundra's V-8 had no trouble moving the load around comfortably and feeling quite stable (but we can't believe Toyota doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller yet).


TAWA towing 1 II


The big news was getting the chance to tow with the all-new, high-tech 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, something we weren't able to do at the 2015 F-150's recent introduction. The bottom line is that the engine seems powerful enough to pull a 5,000-pound load wherever needed, but maybe more importantly is how calm and settled the chassis feels when pulling and hauling the weight. From hill stops and takeoffs on a fairly good grade, the truck handled smoothly and settled any road irregularities pretty quickly. In comparison, the Colorado, since it's a smaller and lighter vehicle with a naturally aspirated gas engine, struggled a little bit more. Still, the engine and midsize platform did have the grunt and pulling power to move the load on our drive route. We did find ourselves more aware of the weight and how the trailer could push us around if we weren't careful when going off-throttle into and out of curves and corners.

Our drive route was pretty short, but we did manage to collect some unscientific numbers. While driving the F-150 we averaged just more than 11 mpg, while the same route in the Colorado got us just less than 9 mpg. We're fairly certain the F-150 was equipped with 3.55:1 gears, while the Colorado only comes with 3.42:1 gears. There's not doubt the Chevy would have handled the load better with a 3.73:1 gear, as would the Ford — yet it wasn't necessary.

The F-150's new EcoBoost engine automatically turns off the auto stop-start feature and does a great job in Tow/Haul mode, slowing down the truck and trailer with an aggressive software program that makes quick downshifts when slowing or braking. The Colorado, dealing with a higher percentage of its maximum towing capacity (about 61 percent for the F-150 and about 74 percent for the Colorado), seemed to accelerate slower but had the very comforting ability to quickly downshift with just a tap of the brake pedal or manual thumb shift (the Ford also had this grade-braking feature, but it didn't seem to react as quickly and tended to rev the engine at a higher rpm).

Based on these preliminary quick drives, both pickups seem able to do plenty of hard pulling, but the Ford (with the smaller engine) seemed to handle the load with a touch more confidence. The Chevy V-6 was only down 20 horsepower when comparing the two engines, but when towing, the torque numbers always tell the tale. The Ford EcoBoost produces 375 pounds-feet while the GM V-6 gets 269, almost a 40 percent difference. Still, for a downsized player, a 5,000-plus trailer is likely to be a 99th percentile activity for this truck; even so, it's nice to know it will do it with control.

Texas Auto Writers Association images


Colo tow 1 II





I'm not sure about your non scientific test...the EB2.7 will out tow the Ram Ecodiesel with ease. With 7000 Lbs it out classed it going uphill for 7 miles. See the video on you tube. The 5.3 GM was the closest competitor with the 5.3. The Midsize GM is 1/2 the truck the Ford is!!!

Now finally, and actual review article from the TAWA. Why can't they publish stuff like this when they award their winner so we know why they picked what they picked. Even though the test was admittedly unscientific, it explained the differences between these two trucks very well on their load handling capabilities. Good article.

GM compromised too much on the new colorado and didn't drop the price to compensate for this. They are going to end up very embarrassed at every comparison to the new F150.

Raven don't make such stupid statements. You saw a fraction of the J2807 test, conducted by Ford, that was a drag race up a slope. Only an absolute complete fool would consider a drag race up a mountain as the criteria by which one truck "out classes" another truck when it comes to towing. The ecodiesel is a compromise engine in that it can do light to medium work while returning excellent fuel economy numbers. Ford's new ecoboost can do light to medium work while returning pathetic fuel economy numbers.

If Ford had run the entire Davis Dam route the ecoboost would have overheated and had to slow down. If Ford had run the test in cooler weather with denser air the Chevy would have won the drag race hands down. If Ford had been honest and said they wanted to drag race and didn't care about fuel burn rate they would have run E85 in the Chevy and would have lost handsomely. In short it was a rigged test, put on by Ford, which they always do. Ford is a marketing and not an engineering company. Stop posting your poor interpretations of their rigged tests if you don't know what you're talking about.

@ Mark Williams

"Likewise, the Tundra's V-8 had no trouble moving the load around comfortably and feeling quite stable (but we can't believe Toyota doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller yet)." I hope you were driving the 4.6L V8 or I can't believe you don't know the 2015 5.7L V8 has a ITBC option for 2015 straight from Toyota http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/2015+toyota+tundra+full-size+pickup.htm. Since your article is about a 2015 F150 it is only fair that it be compared to a 2015 Tundra so you would be wrong and your going to get the diehard Toyota guys going with your being unfair again.

@AD, There still isn't an ITBC yet from Toyota. It was delayed due to production issues. At best it will be a late 2015 option. Toyota still hasn't figured it out. Also, the larger gas tank that Mike Sweers promised was scratched. Just thought you should know.



breathing borla says:

September 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I think they should figure out their trailer brake controller change first.


and what happened to the larger tank?

as far as the diesel, you said it, toyota moves slow. I would be shocked if they have anything within the next 3 years.


Tim Esterdahl says:

September 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Hey Borla,

I’ve asked both questions. The trailer brake controller is delayed due to production issues. IMHO – Toyota hasn’t figured this one out yet.

The larger tank option was scrapped for whatever reason. Auto show season is coming soon – LA, Detroit, Chicago, NYC. I plan on asking some pointed questions.



LJC says:

October 1, 2014 at 3:49 am

Here’s another question: what improvements or new features have been added to the Tundra since Sweers became chief engineer?

If Sweers can advance his career with persistence, then where in the hell is his persistence with advancing the Tundra?

The features current owners are asking for is existing technology.


Tim Esterdahl says:

October 1, 2014 at 10:55 am


Valid points. I think he needs to do more especially in light of what the competition is doing.


Thank you for the blog info but I will go with what the manufacturer says. I for one have been one of the biggest critics of the 14+ Tundra but I also am fair about it. You must have seen those AD post about the lack of advancement on Tundra headquarters where you probably got that and chose not to mention my complaints that got me banned just so you could try and make a point. I have also been critical of Mike Sweers on this site as well.

AD, Here' the deal. Even Toyota says an ITBC is not offered yet. At best it will be late 2015 is the last I heard. So you are correct it was supposed to be an option, but Mark is also correct that it is still not offered yet and it wasn't on the truck he drove at the Rodeo. Why Toyota is having a hec of a time getting this ITBC is beyond me.


One more and then I'm done discussing the Tundra.

This guy says 2016 for the ITBC. I hope that's not the case. But anyway it's still not offered....

My dealer said that he called Toyota and confirmed that the larger gas tank and integrated brake contoller was NOT available until the 2016 model year.

This gas tank thing is complete and udder bullsheetrock.

I feel like Toyota is becoming Apple - stop teasing us with this crap that SHOULD be standard on your trucks to begin with. Its nearly 2015 for gods sake, integrate the damn brake controller so I don't have to install my own and for the love of all things holy quit dickin around with these gas tanks made for side by sides - I wanna tow some stuff and I wanna tow it far and I don't wanna stop for fuel every 1.5 hours. Only you and my grandma have to pee every 45 minutes!!!!


The midsize GM V6 was not designed to replace a well equipped half ton Ford, but I bet it totally out-performs a base F150 (naturally aspirated V6) however in the same comparisons. Too bad they stacked the deck.

It's the proper comparison because 1) GM said they didn't need to do what Ford was doing because they had a midsize to take on the new F-150 with the 2.7L and 2) because it's the F-150's mid range volume engine against the top engine for the Colorado and 3) and it still wouldn't have stopped the trailer from pushing the Colorado around and all over the road.

23% better fuel economy.

I knew the F-150 would get better fuel economy than the Colorado.

I thought I'd never see the day when someone on PUTC said using a 2.7 was stacking the deck. If Ford went with the base engine, then the Colorado would have to as well.

The biggest problem with the Chevy Colorado is GM is targeting young buyers and cross over owners. You're not going to get young buyers because the trucks are more expensive than they would like. You're not going to get cross over buyers because of the poor fuel economy. You're not going to get half ton buyers because of the size.

Ford is going to conquest a lot of potential Colorado buyers once the real testing begins. For the few thousand in price difference it'll be a no brainer. More power, more stability, better mpg, dark days ahead for GM.

Did everybody miss reading this?
"The Ram for this event was a well equipped EcoDiesel. As you might expect the Ram EcoDiesel made short work of the stubby trailer"
That means the Ram EcoDiesel had no problem pulling that trailer but all the other pickups did!
What's the best 1/2 pickup?
The Ram EcoDiesel !

What am I always teaching you people reading the code words and reading between the lines and what the story doesn't tell you?
Every story has a bias and you have to see that to understand it!

I think all the trucks did quite well considering not many people will ever tow that much weight.

The FE of the Eco Boost is what I expected and the Colorado is slightly less than I would of thought, but how often will people tow. As Mark pointed out when the 373 assend is out it will be a different tow vehicle. That is if you really need that diff ratio.

By then the diesel Colorado will be around and that will be a better tow vehicle.

It's good to see that they felt the F-150 chassis was up to it. Since the changes to the chassis were significant.

It's not about 0-60 times like some comments are suggesting. Being quickest doesn't mean it's better.

In all honesty if I were towing that much weight regularly I would choose the diesel Ram. It will not be as quick accelerating but the FE will be much better.

I think some of you are trying to defeat your biased competitors with weak reasoning. This test wasn't meant to be a direct comparison, obviously the eco diesel is going to tow better and return the fuel economy. Obviously a v8 will tow better with worse fuel economy. The only semi comparison that can be made here is between the gm and Ford. Two v6 gasoline engines, trying to prove themselves in a large niche market. You can't compare apples to apples here, just take it at face value.

same colorado as that one at my local delaer listed for 36k! thats a nice 36k truck! if it had a 3.6 turbo in it it would be the new talk of the town smoking cars like cigars!

It's not about fuel economy like some comments are suggesting. Being the most fuel efficient doesn't mean it's better. They are just opinions that can change from person to person depending on the needs/wants of that person and how comfortable they are with their power to fuel economy ratio with the cost of fuel.

Also, this is not just about power either or fuel economy. It is a know fact that a bigger vehicle will handle the same load better than a smaller vehicle. Just like a 250/2500 handles 10,000 lbs better than a 150/1500, so does a 150/1500 handles 5,000 lbs better than a midsizer. There is just no way of getting around it.

The new 2.7 ecoboost appears to be pretty impressive, but the initial MPG reports are up and down. The first report I read stated 16.7 mpg mostly highway. That was easily the worst I heard (wonder if ford did that on purpose). Then I read multiple reports stating 18-19 mpg mixed driving. Now I'm hearing crew cab 4x4s are easily averaging mid 20s on the highway. Towing MPG with this vehicle is hardly worth a few words since very few people will be regularly towing with that engine, people just want to know they can comfortably tow a big load a few times a year since that's all anybody will do with it (and most probably won't even do that). Also impressive to see that the little 2.7 can compare to the ecodiesel and gm 5.3 v8 performance, even if ford's comparisons are designed to favor the ford.

I think ford has done a pretty good job convincing people so far why they don't need to bring the global ranger here or build some other mid-size truck. I don't know how the colorado, in any one way, is actually better than an f-150, aside from being easier to park and might be slightly less expensive (though I'm pretty sure I could get a much more comfortable and capable f-150 for the same or lower price after rebates). It appears ford has built a truck that can be a much better overall package than any mid-size, or can be had with an engine to outperform most other half-tons. I might even replace my f250 with one. The new f-150 appears to be a pretty good one size fits all truck. The only things missing from ford are a true compact truck, an 8 to 10 speed transmission, and perhaps a small diesel for the few people that tow all the time with a 1/2 ton truck.

@Big Mike

So, are you going on the record today as saying that the GM midsize twins will be a big bust for Chevy and GMC?

Can you please give me that info from Toyota where they say it is delayed and not some forum members like I asked. To be fair I gave you straight from Toyota and not a forum members post cause I can post to that same forum and say my 2015 has one. I don't even have a 2015.

"I can post to that same forum and say my 2015 has one. I don't even have a 2015."

@AD, Why would you do that?

The Tundra Mark drove at the Rodoe didn't have one and they told him it one wasn't offered yet. Did you want him to say Toyota says ITBC is being offered with dealayed availability instead of "not offered yet"?

"I hope you were driving the 4.6L V8 or I can't believe you don't know the 2015 5.7L V8 has a ITBC option...."

Here it is straight from Toyota about the delay.....
Integrated Trailer Brake Controller (5.7L
V8 only) (delayed availability)
Source: Toyota Product Guide PDF

PS Mark has been burned on this before. This isn't his first rodeo.....

I really hope it gets here by the end of 2014. I am sure Mark Williams will be the first to stand up and applause.

That did not quite come out the way I wanted as I am not calling you a liar I am just saying Toyota says it is a Option for the 2015 5.7L Tundra. Then they state it will be later in 2014 which could mean they planned to build the first 15's without one or their could be a problem. That is why I asked for a from Toyota link.

The problem with your link is it says 2014 Tundra when I said 2015 Tundra because the article is about 2 pickups from the 2015 model year. The Toyota link I provided was about the 2015 Tundra from Toyota. No speculation.

The reason I posted that link was to show you he was personally burned by Toyota on this topic before and knows all about it.

Google this: 2015 Tundra Product Guide. It lists the 2015 ITBC as delayed. Whatever the reason is, it is delayed.

All Mark said was it was not offered yet - true statement.

The problem with your original post is you basically called Mark dumb and to make sure he knew what he was driving because the ITBC is on the 5.7. Sorry, but that is not true and it isn't offered yet and wasn't on the truck he drove.

Maybe it will be a .5 release. But if you had simply stated that and gave the link instead of calling Mark "dumb" and to make sure he knew what he was driving, then that would be a lot better.

Quite frankly I am in agreement with Mark and cannot believe Toyota doesn't offer it yet. This is definitely a FAIL. The wiring has been there since at least 2007. It's a no-brainer to add an ITBC and should have been done seven years ago and should have been on the 2014. It's 2015 and we're still waiting.

correction: should have been done 5 years ago.

FE is terribly disappointing.
My 1980 400m with t18 will average 12.5 on mountain 2 lane roads with a few long 7% grades hauling apx. 7000 lbs.

Empty at freeway speeds 17 mpg.

It's a 2 barrel. The only massively tech. stuff on that truck is the way they managed to run all the vacuum hoses.

Bitterly disappointing FE. Did I already say that?

buddylam makes a great point saying a 1980 pickup gets the same gas mileage than a new pickup, he's correct!
If I may I use his message to say again that technology has reached its limit for the internal combustion engine even years before 1980.
Trucks have gained over 1000 lbs empty weight since 1980 cause of crew cabs and creature comforts.
Gasoline has changed since 1980, its less concentrated and more oxygenated now.
Engines are air pumps that its more important to blow oxygen thru the catalytic converter than transferring power to the engine.
So if you guys think you're going to get 28 MPG pulling a 5300 lb empty truck around then you are living in dreamland.

2.7L EcoBoost SuperCrew 4x4 is getting 29 mpg on the hwy at 65 mph according to the people driving them for two weeks at the F-150Drive events.

Talked to the guy who has been driving a SC 4x4 with the 2.7 EB for a couple of weeks, he said on the freeway at 65 he's been getting 29mpg


@Chris Somebody is pulling your leg.

@All, I would not doubt it. The EPA rating is supposed to be close to 30 mpg and I can easily beat the ratings.

Its all about how a vehicle is driven i have made a round trip airport run 1 hour each way in my 5.4 Raptor and hand calculated 21 which was the same as the readout on the dash going 65 both ways my truck is rated about 18 highway which I always seem to beat when going 55-65. At 75-85 forget about it, I also never get the city millage, but there are alot of factors there to , my 1.5 mile up hill comute with speed limits of 25, 50, 5, 20 MPH really uses alot of fuel for suck a short trip.

Colorado with 3:73 would have been significantly better at towing that load.

Reminds me of the 2014 review of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Silverado with 3:43 ring gear was called a dog.

GMC Sierra with 3:37 ring gear was described as peppy.

Same engine, same configuration otherwise.

Ring Gear does make a difference.


that Ford must be a fun ride!

about City mileage ratings, we often are driving with a motor that's not fully warmed up or even is downright cold. Mileage killer for sure.

At hiway speeds it does not take long to get warmed up though.

I had a F250 reg. cab long bed (1978) truck with the 400m 2 barrel and 3.54 gears. It got 10-11 mpg in town or on the highway. Never varied 2 mpg. You better keep that truck.


That's pretty forceful talk for someone who has no idea that the 400m never came with a 4 barrel. Even today it is very difficult to find a aftermarket 4 barrel manifold for it. I know some years back someone made one for it. But I would imagine it is discontinued now. It wouldn't have been a street legal manifold anyway.

I suppose you are giving figures for a 460. It did have a 4 barrel. And empty or loaded it got 9 to 11 mpg.

The figures I give are correct. They are much better than figures for a Automatic. The Auto trans were not suited for the 400m. It was a low rpm torque motor and the auto's of that time were non locking. Autos of that time also reduced the ability of the motor to tow. They just didn't seem to get the torque to the wheels like the manual transmission did.

Auto's of that day in effect increased torque through slippage that increased RPM. They were really just converting RPM into power. Not really multiplying torque in the way some were led to believe. The 400m has a 4 inch stroke. It does not like high RPM. And the constant slippage of the non locking transmission demanded higher RPM and caused much lower MPG. It is somewhat a different story for engines that like high RPM. Just the slippage of the torque converter allowed such engine to get into their power band. But even with those engines there was much less MPG

Thanks again for your comments. Have a good day.

Such a stupid comparison!!! Two trucks in two different classes and you are comparing them. Why not compare the 2500 Chevy to the Ford 150, just about the same thing. Your last three articles are pretty bad for your web site. I am curious why another truck site gets their hands on more trucks then you and their postings are getting a lot better then what you have been offering lately. One thing for sure is that the mid size truck market is starting to heat up and Ford and Ram are going to play catch up or be left behind. Just watch and see.


I don't believe there is a 6 passenger model for the Colorado. Please correct me if I am wrong. That I believe is a problem. There are smaller SUV's capable of up to 7 passengers. And of course full size pickups capable of carrying 6.

My son is looking for a pickup, they have a daughter and 3 foster children. Their current options are a full size pickup with bench seating or a SUV.

The twins will not be a option for them or others like them.

Trailer brake controllers are over rated. Electric brakes sucks. They difficult to set and adjust. I'll take a hydraulic surge brakes over electric brakes any day. Plus you can get disc brakes with surge brakes. Can only get drums with electric. Surge brakes have superior performance and fully automatic.

I was directly involved in the media event in San Antonio, as well as the dealer event. I drove all Chevy Silverado and Dodge powertrains while towing, as well as the Fords.

In theory, the Ecodiesel SHOULD have easily pulled the load AND gotten good economy. While it does pull the load, it isn't effortless. Not by a long shot. To be fair, acceleration wasn't much slower than an unladen Ram diesel. It is sluggish off the line (regardless of load) and wakes through all turns. Braking is just as uncertain as the writer's description of the Colorado. I agree that the economy on the Ram is great. I was a huge proponent of them bringing a diesel in, hoping the others would follow suit. Ram just picked the wrong engine and chassis.

The F150 with the 2.7 EB stunned me. It EASILY pulled an 8000lb trailer, accelerated like an unloaded truck and felt completely stable during all maneuvers, including those where I tried to get stability or traction control to step in to help. Where the Ram felt very wishy washy, the F150 maintained the feel and stability of a sport sedan.

For those who believe Ford stacked the deck or are simply marketing, you are partially right. Of course they want the F150 to do better than the competition. They don't show all parts of the J2807 test. They don't need to, it passed with flying colors. It doesn't overheat on a hot day going up a grade. It doesn't even struggle. Except for the noise of the safety chains, you wouldn't know you're towing 4 tons. Certainly not with a 2.7liter engine.

I can't speak for the Colorado's performance, but why wasn't a Silverado made available for the TAWA test? Chevy would have faired better in handling than it did using a Colorado for sure.

The Colorado is shorter and narrower so it makes sense that it would have more "tail wags the dog" feel to it. Comparing a normally aspirated engine to a TTDI isn't an apples to apples comparison. The 2.7 TTDI V6 has the power characteristics of a V8. Time will tell if it has the mpg characteristics of a V8. Preliminary reports indicates that it does. It would be fair to compare it to a similarly sized turbo diesel since Ford claims it was built with diesel characteristics in mind.

Maybe a little off topic, but can someone on this board explain Toyota's molasses slow truck development?

I love Toyota trucks, but please, can't we have something new?

The 4.6 is a great mid size V-8, but thirsty for it size,and the 5.7 was hot stuff...in 2007.

And the Tacoma-what is that, 11 years old?

@ AD

Ken is correct...... the 15 Tundra ITBC was delayed due to production issues.....

The 38 Gallon tank was scratched as well for some reason......

I hear the ITBC maybe available in Jan. but no official word yet......

Unlike the other manufacturers Toyota will make sure its right before they launch it, obviously something held that up.... Its coming though......

To ken though..... funny that you mention stoppin all the time. I dont and i tow with mine all the time. I still get over 250 and closer to 300 miles on a tank towing 7-8k worth of weight and only put 21.5 gallons in. See the big difference with Toyota is that the tank makes you think its empty sooner so if your in the middle of nowhere and the light comes on you can still make it 50 or so miles...... Also to not for those who dont know better the only way for a fuel pump to cool itself is the fuel it sits in........ This means if the tank is abnormally low the pump cant cool itself well and could lead to premature failure...... maybe this is why you NEVER hear of a Toyota fuel pump going out....... unless of course its over 25 years old and 400,000 miles on the clock.

So basically, what we're saying here, is that the much smaller, naturally aspirated Colorado V6, managed to hang in there with the full-sized trucks? Yeah...I went there, because comparing the F-150 EcoBoost...or any other full-size truck to the Colorado, is apples to oranges. Still, it's good to know that it'll competently haul 5000+ pounds, even though very few who buy it, will have that expectation of it.


"I am tired of you calling me a liar and will not discuss things with you again"

All I am saying is that I never heard, seen with my own eyes, or even seen in the forums of a 400 getting 17 mpg on a consistent basis, and it is usually about 10-12 mpg. If you have a 17 mpg 400 then that is a something very rare. Why you getting so worked up about it.

It appears so far that Ford hasn't given the FE for this new F-150. Why? I personally think (opinion) that the FE might be what Ford had hoped for. If it was good Ford would be shoving it down our throats right now.

As for the characteristic of the 2.7, the 3.5 EcoBoost was supposed to be the same.

But, then again, how can it have diesel characteristic without as good FE as a diesel? That is what makes a diesel good. If diesel didn't have good FE diesel's would have died or never got off the ground.

@Justin Case - agreed. The Colorado does hold its own among full sized trucks. I'd be more interested to see how it does with a 1,500 lb load in the box since I am more likely to carry a load then tow.
What I want to see is a shoot-out between the Ram 3.0 VM Motori diesel and the Colorado 2.8 Duramax. My money would be on the Colorado since GM has a knack of winning Diesel shoot-outs.

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