I really really don't like SUVs. I think the habit was ingrained in me by my mom. I don't think my mom would ever get behind the wheel of one unless someone put a gun to her head and told her to drive one. When I was little, my mom would always complain about them (how big they were, how much gas they guzzled, etc.). As I've grown older though, I've realized that she wasn't just being a weird mom. There's something about SUVs that I really don't like, and it doesn't have anything to do with their ridiculous size or their unconscionably bad gas mileage. In fact, I'll even take foreign SUVs out of the equation (I still hate them, just not as much). I save my utmost dislike for American SUVs, and here's where it starts: the name.
When I was in Europe a few years ago, I caught sight of one of the smallest SUVs I've ever seen. Having seen all the small cars in Europe, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but seeing an SUV in Europe kind of blew me away. I decided to go check it out. When I got closer, I noticed that it really wasn't all that bad. It had all the space that five people could realistically need, and it didn't look like a direct descendant of a World War II tank. I moved around to the back to read the name: Panda. The Panda??? I'm from America: land of intimidating SUV names. My foreign made Civic is used to driving alongside Excursions, Navigators, Armadas, and Titans. Not Pandas. Can you imagine the crap GMC would take if their next SUV was called the Panda?
Then I started thinking about it more. Is there actually a reason that American SUVs have to have intimidating names? Really, what's wrong with a name like the Panda?
The truth is, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a name like the Panda. But for a culture that prides itself on it's bad-ass-ness, naming a car (especially a car as American as an SUV) anything short of "bad-ass" would be admitting defeat to foreign companies. So while I can hope for more Pandas and less Envoys and such, the truth is, I'm more likely to live to see an Apocalypse than a Panda made by an American company on the highway.