If I remember correctly, the term “SUV” or “sport-utility vehicle” has been in vogue for only about seven or eight years. But what were we calling Jeep Cherokees and Broncos and Jimmys before that?
I’m pretty certain that the term “sport/utility vehicle” has been around since at least the 1970s; I saw it used in an ad for one of the old International vehicles. It’s just that SUVs became more popular in the past few years.
IME, people just used the model name (“Jimmy” or whatever) to refer to their vehicle; I don’t know about a generic term used in the industry.
That’s my recollection as well. Up until fairly recently, there just weren’t as many of what we now call SUVs on the road, so they just went by their respective proper names - ie: Jeep, Bronco, etc. And they certainly weren’t as fancy and family-friendly as the ones made today. Fifteen years ago, a Jeep was well, a Jeep. Four-wheel drive, four seats, and a jack and winch on the front bumper. Closer to a 1950s Army Jeep and not quite such a plush vehicle with leather upholstery, wood appointments, video screens for the kids, and all that.
Ditto the above, but also just truck. I had a Cherokee just as the trend was beginning to really swing up but the term SUV hadn’t been so universally adopted (though it was certainly in use by that time). We called it the Jeep or a truck.
SUV was added to the vehicle glossary after mini-van was added in the mid 80’s. Earlier vehicles that kind of fit today’s SUV description were panel wagons and panel trucks (1950’s).
I’ve heard the term “off road vehicle” - ORV - from the 80’s
Or MPV’s. Multi Purpose Vehicles.
Here in Maryland back in the 70’s that’s what they had on the tags.
I don’t think it mattered just what they were but we called them jeeps and blazers.
I’ve also hear “Land Rover” for safari-type vehicles.
In most auto parts catalogues (I worked part-time in one for 13 years) they would be classified as “light-duty trucks”.
For those too young to remember, here’s a link to a panel truck gallery. Easy to see the connection to today’s SUV.
Or MPV’s. Multi Purpose Vehicles.QUOTE]
That’s what Cherokees and Wagoneers (among the first vehicles with station wagon bodies on 4wd truck chassis) were referred to as in the Jeep literature (VIN decoding charts and such) and, AFAIK, the state DMVs, up to at least 1984.
So MPV appears to be the “official” term.
The 1963 Jeep Wagoneer fit today’s definition of an SUV – station-wagon-type body on a truck frame. They were offered with leather interiors from very early on, and became full-luxury in 1975, when the first-generation Cherokee (basically a base-trim Wagoneer, but available in 2-door versions as well as 4) was introduced. Also in the '70s, they got miles of fake wood, inside and out. Here’s an ad from '71; that copy pretty much sums up the definition of an SUV.
It was the downsized XJ Cherokee, introduced in 1984, that started the SUV craze.
In Australia they were called by their make Range Rover or Land Cruiser which was about all that were around back in the 70’s. This still happens today or they’re just referred to as four wheel drives.
Land Rover is a manufacturer of SUV’s and not a type of SUV. I’m not sure Chrysler would take to having there Jeep refered to as a Land Rover.
So did the 1946 Willys Wagon.
What about “four-by-four” or “four-wheel-drive”? I seem to remember this term for what we now call SUVs.
Thanks for “off-road vehicle” and “multi-purpose vehicle.” Now that you mention them, I seem to recall hearing them as well.
One more that hasn’t been mentioned - CarryAll
Isn’t the style of the Chrysler PT Cruiser (which is actually a compact hatchback) modeled on the old panel trucks?
No doubt they wouldn’t, but it wouldn’t be the first time a brandname has been used as a generic for a product category. In fact, in NZ and Australia, minivans are usually called caravans, despite that being a Chrysler brandname.