A recent article in the Atlantic covered a pair of researchers who claim that the growth in SUV sales is an indicator of increased fear and isolationism among a certain group of the population. Since SUV’s are big, tall, powerful, heavy, and intimidating they suggest that they can be used as a measure of tribal protectionism. Further buttressing their argument, the researchers point to the names of these behemoths as appealing to and reinforcing this isolationist tendency, e.g. Outlander, Pathfinder, Crossfire. Now a relation does not a correlation make, but there is no doubt that the imagery evoked by these names, including Santa Fe, Yukon, Tahoe, Land Rover, Range Rover, and our personal favorite, Enclave, is meant to appeal to the rugged individualism nascent in every urban driver.
If the researchers could point to SUV names like Stay-Away or Backoff, or GunAboard, they’d have a stronger argument.