What were SUVs called before?

Long before becoming a Chrysler brand name, “caravan” was a generic term for a type of vehicle, specifically what in the United States is called a “camper” or a “motor home.”

Another one: all-terrain vehicle, or ATV

I disagree with that one. I’ve always associated ATVs with those little 3- and 4-wheel dirtbike-type vehicles that appeal to young guys.

In the 80s, I remember the main term was “four-by-four”, but I also heard “four-wheel-drive” and “offroad vehicle” a lot.

From here.

It seems that “depot hack” beats 'um all.

Don’t forget buckboard. A Wagon used by farmers and ranchers when they went into town.


“Four Wheel Drive” is the universal term in Australia. I remember the term “four by four” used to be around too, but that tended to be used by the car companies themselves, not the average person in the street. I only heard “SUV” for the first time on the SDMB.

When I was very small, I remember them all being called “Jeeps”.

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. :smiley:


Perhaps not. But I’ve heard plenty of people refer to Land Rovers as “jeeps”.

Another candidate for earliest SUV: the Dodge Power Wagon, based on the company’s WWII line of military light trucks and introduced in 1945; one year before the Willys, apparently and sold though '68. Both pickup and carryall versions were offered, and the presence of 4-wheel drive with a station wagon-style body, IMO, makes it the oldest direct ancestor of the modern SUV.

And a lot of people refer to all Jeep-type vehicles as “jeeps.”

I know specifically about India, where people are always talking about police jeeps and military jeeps and private jeeps, but so far as I know Jeep doesn’t market there.

I know that they made the Mahindra, which is a CJ3B. (With all the changes in ownership of the makers of Jeep, I have no idea to whom they paid royalties.) I think they were still making them into the 1980s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were still being made.