Talking Trucks Tuesday: What's in a Name?

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By G.R. Whale

The automotive industry is a strange place, much of it not making sense. Clear communication should be imperative, but leave it to marketing to muddy the transmission. Consequently, hybrid vehicles — many of which sport blue badges — are called green. And aftermarket diesel exhaust fluid — a product meant to make a diesel's emissions "greener" — is called BlueDEF or AdBlue. You also can buy vehicles with labels that imply or outright promise high efficiency and still get mileage in the teens.

Further, according to SAE International, a coupe can be a four-door car and even a "sport activity" coupe. Some manufacturers like to use heritage names and numbers — Mercedes-Benz's 63, Chrysler's 392 and Hemi, Ford's Boss — regardless of their technical accuracy. And they do get mixed up over time. Is "Blue Flame" a Chevrolet inline-six engine or a Ford F-150 color choice?

For the most part, most pickup trucks are spared awkward names because they use alphanumeric nomenclature to designate how much they can carry, but would you want a pickup named Brat, Probe or Esteem? Then there are engine names that give no clues as to their abilities: think Triton, Magnum and Vortec. Additionally, all the manufacturers seem to be adding "tec," "boost" and "eco" to engine names.

What's your vote for the dumbest name given to a pickup, whether it's the truck, trim level, engine, safety technology or whatever?

Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan; manufacturer image

 

Comments

Ecoboost should be called Eco or Boost. I have one and love it but you don't get both at the same time.

Dumbest names:
eco-anything
GMC Sierra
Lightning
Lariat

Best names:
King Ranch
Powerstroke
Bronco

Future names:
Chevy shaker
Chevy Bed bender

Worst Name?

Ram

Ecodiesel - hilarious since it got pulled for scamming emissions

Limited

LongHorn

Magnum

Pentastar

Tacoma/Tundra

Must be a slow news day.

"according to SAE International, a coupe can be a four-door car and even a "sport activity" coupe."

Nope. Four doors in a 3-box car is a sedan. In a 2-box car it's a wagon. I will not call either of those a coupe, no matter what the SAE says.

As for names? The only intelligent names are those that relate to its capabilities, such as 150/1500, 250/2500, etc. Anything else says that it's not a truck, it's a car that looks like a truck. That includes all those trim-level names trying to make them sound more masculine.

"The International Standard ISO 3833-1977 defines a coupé as having a closed body, usually with limited rear volume, a fixed roof of which a portion may be openable, at least two seats in at least one row, two side doors and possibly a rear opening, and at least two side windows."

It would depend upon what one considers 4 doors.

The Mazda RX8 comes to mind. It is a coupe'. Insurance agencies tend to put it in the same class as a Mustang.

Dumb Names?

Can't think of many truck names that are really terribly off-base, banal, or misleading.- - -

Maybe Subaru "Brat"? That seemed a bit rebellious and undisciplined. I want my trucks to obey me under all conditions. My neighbors kids were brats, and I wanted no part of them.

What about Dodge's "Job Rated"* in the 1940's? Like what else was a truck "rated" for in that era?

Or for Jeeps, how about a "Jeepster"? Reminded me of jeepers creepers, and that was creepy.

The Chevy name "Avalanche" struck me as odd: like was this thing going come crashing down into rubble sometime?

Is a Honda "Ridgeline" not able to go into wet, dirty valleys easily, or does it have to stay up in clean air where it's safe?

(^_^)....

================

Wow a slow day alright - my 2 cents;

I don't mind all names even the ridiculous ones; I care more about the actual final product, capability & looks.

@Lionel--Agree, I could care less about the name, but having said that I am tired the the meaningless alpha numeric names that Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Infinity, BMW, and Mercedes have been using. I do like that Lincoln is now using the name Continental again.

Recall that Subaru BRAT was actually an acronym, not a name... Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter. Same principle as the Chevy LUV - Light Utility Vehicle. Then there's the LUV's twin Isuzu P'UP (contraction of "pickup").

Nissan Hardbody was pretty corny.

Dodge had the Rumble Bee sport model for the Ram about a decade or so ago.

GMC's Syclone and Typhoon... is a natural disaster a great name?

Lincoln's second attempt with a rebadged F-150 - Mark LT. Ummm, no.

From the mid 70s to the mid 80s, Chevy C/K's base trim level was called "Custom Deluxe"... nothing custom or deluxe about it.

@RoadTrip--"Deluxe" use to mean the top trim level. The Chevy Deluxe was the top trim level for Chevy cars thru 1949 then in 1950 Bel Air name was added to become the top trim level. I had a 1973 Chevelle Deluxe which as you said became the lowest trim level (1975 Chevelle dropped the Deluxe name and called the lowest trim Chevelles Malibus with Malibu Classic becoming the top name and we all know that in the 2000s the Malibu Classic became the name for the old Malibu model being made alongside the newly redesigned Malibus). Limited is another name that use to mean a limited number of higher trim models were made and it too lost its meaning and appeal when millions of cars bore the Limited name. At one time the Ford Custom was a premium trim level that became the lower trim name as was the Ford Galaxy which went from a top trim to a lower trim name when the LTD name which later became a lesser trim. Seems the manufacturers take a name with a premium meaning and dilute its meaning over time.

Silly names in reference to pickups
Ecoboost
Ecodiesel
Ecotec3
Pentastar
Hemi (its gotten out of hand with the truck guys)
Tremor
Harley Davidson F150 (Never liked the crossing of bikes and trucks)
Ultimate GFX (sometimes just big stickers that say GroundFX)
Ram 1500 (The truck is missing a name)
Rumble Bee
Bronco 2 (A 2 after the name is dumb to me)
Ram Rebel
Tundra 1795

Names I like
GMC Truck
Dodge Ram
Chevy Silverado
Ford F100
Ford F150
WT (simple = work truck)
Cheyenne
Lariat
Tradesman (we dont have them in Canada, we have the ST)
Express

Nissan Hardbody

LOL

Those things rusted out badly.

@Alberta_Oil - I do believe that "Ground Effects" or "GFX" is just a Canadian thing.

It is a total misnomer since it originally was just a Grill Guard and sticker package.

I think they should name trucks with women names
pretty women names like Casandra, Princess, Precious

Lou

Could be. I see them all the time in different vaiations. Usually obnoxious looking with racing stripes and or giant stickers GFX, Ultimate GFX or Ground FX. There is one that is on gm 2500's that looks like a harley davidson f150 knock off that says ultimate GFX. Black truck with orange decals. I strongly dislike the way they look.

"The International Standard ISO 3833-1977 defines a coupé as having a closed body, usually with limited rear volume, a fixed roof of which a portion may be openable, at least two seats in at least one row, two side doors and possibly a rear opening, and at least two side windows."

• "It would depend upon what one considers 4 doors. The Mazda RX8 comes to mind. It is a coupe'. Insurance agencies tend to put it in the same class as a Mustang."
---- Posted by: amateur hour | Mar 28, 2017 2:14:20 PM

The RX-8 had half-doors with no external handles in order to shorten the main doors for today's tight parking spaces. I can accept that. Having four full doors and still calling it a coupe? No. Sorry. Not happening for me.

Names for me are creative and help brand a truck. Gives it personality and character. Ram, Colorado, Sierra, Titan, Silverado... Now when they mix up the name with a letter and number designation, it seems to me like the decision was made by an engineer. Just seems lazy and there is nothing really personal about it... F150.



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