Since carmakers make more money on SUVs, they make lots of different models. Many more SUVs than coupes or sedans these days. Unfortunately, the folks in charge of naming these things are completely overwhelmed. Used to be that an auto manufacturer would create a new model every three years or so, but they’re rushing these environment-destroying death-traps to market like new sandwiches at McDonald’s.
So what are they using as names for these McGriddle mobiles? Interestingly, I’ll mention the first thing they’re not doing any more: animals. Since the Ford Bronco, there hasn’t been another animal name. Weep for the critters.
Since the Ford Explorer, there have been many outdoorsy names. Navigator? Explorer? TrailBlazer? Pathfinder? These are good ones, probably the best, and seemingly appropriate. I’m not going to get into the issue that 99% of these “outdoorsy” SUV owners never get their tires dirty.
Special credit here for the Subaru Forester, which to me invokes an image of deforestation, which is a wink to say, “We know these vehicles are destroying the Earth, but don’t say it out loud.”
Lots of companies use letters for model names, and that’s an old tradition going back to the Model T. MKX? SRX? HHR? Sure, I guess that’s okay.
Places? Again, a classic naming strategy like the Malibu, Bel Air, and Camaro. So Santa Fe, Acadia, Denali, they evoke more outdoorsy images, that’s good.
Subaru also makes the Tribeca, which is a place, but it’s a neighborhood in Manhattan. That’s got to be some kind of mistake. What are they thinking there at Subaru?
We’ll give the Volkswagen Touareg a pass here, since it’s named for a nomadic tribe. Nobody can pronounce that word, however, and that’s a minus.
Kia Sportage – What the heck is a “sportage”? Is that like when Buffy says “slayage”?
Honda Element – Perhaps the worst name for a vehicle ever.
Dodge Nitro – Whoa, that one sounds safe! Reminds me of the inflammable Pinto.
Suzuki Grand Vitara – Suzuki again! What is a “vitara,” and how does it get “grand”?
Chevrolet Equinox – Like a broken clock, right only twice a year.
Pontiac Torrent – Because it takes a torrent of gas to fill it up?
Buick Rendezvous – Ooh, it’s French, and it’s lame.
Ford Freestyle – You can do whatever you want, as long as you get to a gas station once each hour.
Isuzu Ascender – Probably for climbing onto curbs and across medians illegally.
Buick Enclave – Enough room for a whole tribe inside?
Nissan Armada – Could be a step in the right direction, see below.
Ford Escape – Escape from what? Carbon offsets? Miles per gallon?
Ford Edge – “Edge” is not a name. Especially for that guy that can’t play guitar.
Saturn Relay – You need two or more of these to get where you’re going. And a baton.
Buick Terraza – The terrace. I don’t get it.
Here are my suggestions for SUV names. I think there’s a large, untapped resource here. I freely offer these to the auto industry.