Skip to main content

Many SUVs share similar body styles, but each has a unique name distinguishing itself. Some are named after animals, like the Ford Bronco and Ford Mustang Mach-E. Others have monikers that promise fun and adventure, like the Chevy Trailblazer and Nissan Rogue. But interestingly, many car names, especially crossover SUVs, include the letter “X.” Let’s go over some of them and what the “X” represents.

How many car names have an ‘X’?

Car names: X in SUV names
2023 Lexus RX 350 Premium AWD | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Many BMW SUVs have an “X” in their name, starting with the BMW X1. Both the X1 and the X2 are subcompact crossovers, while the X3 and X4 are compact crossovers. The X5 and X6 are midsize, while the X7 is the German automaker’s only large SUV. 

The BMW iX is a two-row electric crossover SUV with standard all-wheel drive and about 324 miles of range. Its rival, the Tesla Model X, can go 348 miles on a full charge. Even the Model X Plaid, with its 1,020-hp powertrain, still boasts an excellent 333-mile range.

Lexus also uses “X” in its SUV names, including the UX, NX, GX, RX, and LX. Some other luxury automakers, including Acura and Infiniti, also use various letters in combination with an “X.” 

For instance, Volvo’s new SUVs, except the C40 Recharge, have “XC” in their names.

The Cadillac XT4 and XT6 follow a similar trend, though this automaker uses slightly more variety in naming its SUVs.

Despite the letter’s prevalence among luxury brands, mainstream automakers also use “X” in their car names. For instance, Mazda makes the CX-30, CX-5, CX-50, and CX-9 crossover SUVs. The Japanese company’s electrified SUVs, including the MX-30 and upcoming CX-90 plug-in hybrid, also adhere to this naming convention.

In addition, the Kia Rio hatchback is classified as the Rio X-Line in Russia and China. And Toyota recently kicked off its electric SUV lineup with the bZ4X

What’s so special about the ‘X’?

Typically, “X” is an abbreviation for “crossover” in car names. Though there are exceptions, most models with an “X” in their monikers are crossover SUVs.

Numbers that follow “X” are usually size indicators, as seen in BMW’s and Mazda’s SUV lineups. Lexus’ SUV-naming conventions are arguably the most difficult to follow because the letters before the “X” are adjectives. For example, “RX” stands “Radiant Crossover,” while “NX” means “Nimble Crossover.”

Also, a handful of SUV names use “cross” instead of the abbreviation. After Mitsubishi discontinued the Cross sedan in 2012, the company introduced the reimagined Eclipse Cross for the 2018 model year. Even though the Toyota Corolla is still alive and well, the Corolla Cross is the new crossover SUV alternative. And don’t forget the Subaru Crosstrek.

Other car names that use initials

Numbers in a car’s name or trim level can also refer to its engine size. In many cases, “S” and “LS” refer to sedans and their luxury counterparts. The same is often true for “C” and “CS” regarding coupes, A Girl’s Guide to Cars reports.

“GT” stands for “Gran Turismo,” usually the performance variant. Some sportier trims have “R/T” (“road and track”) or “SS” (“SuperSport”) in their names.

As new vehicles enter the market, remembering which ones belong in which segments can be challenging. That’s why many automakers use abbreviations, so buyers know exactly what they’re getting.


The 2024 Mazda CX-90 Will Make History in the U.S.