Whatever Happened to Car Names?

Cutlass: Now THERE’S a name for a car!

When The Curmudgeon was growing up, the cars his parents owned had car model names: Comet, Corvair (and we lived!), Impala.  Some had pretty cool names:  Cutlass, Montego, Monte Carlo.

All of the cars The Curmudgeon has owned have had names, too:  Pinto (don’t do that:  he saw you roll your eyes), Charger, Camry, Accord, Civic. Okay, so “Camry” isn’t an actual word and “Accord” and “Civic” don’t even pretend to have anything to do with the real meaning of the words, but still, they were actual names and not just serial numbers.

So when Mrs. Curmudgeon recently decided it was time to trade in her car – a Honda model he’d never even heard of before he met her, and one he can’t recall off the top of his head and name for you now without doing a web search, which would be cheating – for a small SUV, The Curmudgeon found himself a spectator in a world he never knew existed:  a world where most of the vehicles she was considering were represented not by names but by a few letters and a few numbers:  the Acura CDX, MDX, and RDX; the Honda BR-V, CR-V, XR-V, and HR-V (the official model of human resources professionals?); the Infiniti EX/QX50, FX/QX70, JX/QX60, QX/QX80, and QX30; the Isuzu MU-X; the Mazda CX-3, CX-5, CX-9; the Suzuki SX4; the Toyota C-HR and RAV4; and the Volvo XC60, XC40, and XC90.

The Infiniti EX/QX50. Or is it the Volvo XC60? The Honda CR-V?

Did the people who named these SUVs have no imagination at all?  Or maybe it was a computer keyboard problem?

When Mrs. Curmudgeon started to discuss the ones that interested her, her poor husband’s eyes glazed over; he couldn’t keep the cars straight.  In addition to the SUVs all having names that look alike, in his eyes those cars all look alike, too – seriously, can YOU tell the difference between the Infiniti EX/QX50 and the Volvo XC60 just by looking at them?

“Can’t you just get a Santa Fe or a Dodge Durango?” The Curmudgeon whined.  “CAN’T WE BE LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE AND GET A CAR WITH AN ACTUAL NAME?”

She shook her head; there may have been some (blessedly, silent) rethinking of those wedding vows as well.  And when she made her choice and The Curmudgeon happened to mention this to his brother, who is definitely a car person and especially an SUV person, his brother asked which SUV she picked.

And The Curmudgeon had to admit:  “I have absolutely no idea.”

And The Curmudgeon knows, for sure, exactly what was going through his brother’s mind at that moment:

“My brother’s an idiot.”



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