Why are car names so rubbish these days?

The question is slightly misleading. There are some cars on sale today with fantastic names. Lamborghini Aventador. Pagani Huayra. Lotus Evora. Ferrari California. Aston Martin Vanquish. Even Volkswagen Scirocco.

They’re the kind of names you can bite into and really enjoy saying.

Other names have been around since the dawn of time. Golf. Fiesta. Range Rover. They’re not especially good names, but familiarity breeds affection.

But there are many more that are just hopeless. For instance: Suzuki SX4 S-Cross. At best it sounds like some sort of exercise machine. Or how about Dacia Duster? That sounds like an industrial cleaning appliance.

It gets worse when you look at the model designations given to modern cars, which generate some hideously convoluted names.

One of my favourite car names ever was ‘Ford Orion 1.6i Ghia’. The car itself was terrible, but ‘Orion’ made it sound slightly mystical. ‘1.6i’ told you it had the biggest engine with that most modern of things, fuel injection. And ‘Ghia’ sounded like a rank of Italian aristocracy.

These days Ford’s biggest hatchback carries the name ‘Mondeo’, a word specifically formed to be as meaningless as possible. Ford at least calls its top spec models ‘Titanium’, with is actually quite a good word.

But they don’t know when to stop. So we end up with Ford Mondeo Titanium. X. Business Edition. TDCi 163. Powershift. Too much!

Not that Ford are the worst offenders. Check this out: Renault Megane Dynamique TomTom ENERGY dci 130 Stop & Start. Sport Tourer.

Or how about: Toyota Auris 1.8 VVT-i HybridSynergy Drive Icon Plus CVT. Touring Sports.

That’s another thing. Why can’t we call an estate an ‘estate’ any more? They’re all Touring Tourer Shooting Brake Sport Wagons.

I could go on, so I will. Citroen Berlingo Multispace XTR e-HDi 90 Airdream ETG6.

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi 130 Tekna 2WD Xtronic CVT.

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 16v 110 ecoFLEX SRi Start/Stop.

There are two problems here, besides the estate matter. The first is a compulsive need car manufacturers have developed to list all the car’s technology in the name.

Hence the Mondeo’s ‘Business Edition’, which just means it has satnav and Bluetooth. And since stop/start is not yet universal, it has to be pointed out. It goes on.

The other issue is an excess of branding. Many manufacturers fit some of their cars with eco-friendly tech that reduces Co2 emissions and increases fuel consumption. And they all have their own branding.

So there’s Renault’s ‘ENERGY’, Toyota’s ‘HybridSynergy Drive’ and Vauxhall’s ‘ecoFLEX’. Add in Ford’s ‘ECOnetic’, BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’, Audi’s ‘ultra’ and Volkswagen’s ‘BlueMotion Technology’, to name but a few.

All this branding has to go into the car’s name somewhere, and to hell with the results.

I would offer a solution, but quite frankly there’s little point as the problem is only going to get worse. And we are to blame.

It used to be that the exact model of car on your drive reflected your position in the world. So you would start out with a Ford Sierra L, for instance. Then as life improved you moved up to the LX. Then the GLX. Then the Ghia.

So when you told someone you drive a Ghia, they knew you were doing alright for yourself.

But our priorities have changed. We just want air-conditioning, Bluetooth and nice seats. And since those come on higher-spec models, that’s what we buy. So the fact you’ve got a Mondeo Titanium is meaningless, because everyone else has one as well.

What matters is whether or not your Mondeo Titanium is an Econetic with Start/Stop. Because that says you care about the planet, which is what really matters. And never mind that it takes 11 minutes to say the name of your car.

Image: A Ford Mondeo Titanium X Business Edition. ECOnetic. At least Ford calls it an estate, not a Touring Sports Tourer Wagon.

What do you think?

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