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Here Are 5 Strange Trim-Level Names Currently on Sale

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2017

In the world of trim level naming, most vehicles follow typical conventions: The majority of trim levels are called something like LX, or DX, or SL, or RS, or LT, or SE -- and each automaker has its own conventions regarding trim level names corresponding to increases in equipment. But some car brands take the trim level situation to a different level, going for bizarre (and memorable) trim level names instead of normal ones. Here are five really strange trim level names you may not have known about.

BMW i3

BMW i3 Worlds

The award for the strangest trim level naming in existence undoubtedly goes to the BMW i3. Because the i3 is an unusual vehicle, BMW decided to eschew usual trim levels -- and instead, each trim level is a "World" that almost sounds like a video-game level you're unlocking. Initially, the i3 was available as the base-level Mega World, the midlevel Giga World and the top-spec Tera World -- but it seems the Mega World has been discontinued. Still, BMW has continued using the other two names, meaning it would be perfectly normal to walk into a BMW dealer and tell them you want a "Giga World."

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Kia Soul

Kia Soul + and !

Although Kia uses a fairly standardized trim level pattern for most of its models, the Soul deviates from the norm. The Soul is offered in three trim levels: There's a base model, called just the Soul, there's a midrange version called the Soul +, and there's a top-level model dubbed the Soul !. Naturally, this has caused some issues for both Kia marketing and PR people and journalists trying to cover the Soul; using punctuation randomly, in the middle of a sentence, is a bit messy and confusing. As a result, I've seen some take to writing out the Soul's trim levels ("Plus" and "Exclaim"), but I personally enjoy the chaos of ! and +. Period.

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Porsche 911

Porsche 911

If you're a sports-car enthusiast, you may not think of the 911's trim levels as bizarre -- but if you look at them objectively, they're confusing, complicated and difficult to explain. There's no base model called just "911" -- instead, that's the "Carrera." The next one is the Carrera S, then the GTS. Then there's the Turbo, but it drops the "Carrera." There's also a Turbo S. And a GT3. And a GT3RS. And a GT2RS, but no GT2. Stick a "4" anywhere in there, and you have an all-wheel-drive car -- and "Targa" means a complicated lift-off roof. A Porsche enthusiast will know exactly what you're talking about if you say "Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS." Everyone else will be absolutely mystified.

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RAM 1500

RAM 1500

The RAM 1500 is offered in 11 different trim levels, all of which skip the usual "SL" and "SLT" fare for actual words that describe what they do. The base model? In Ford parlance, it's the "XL" -- but for the RAM 1500, it's the "Tradesman," since it's aimed at tradespeople who don't need a lot of equipment. Want a short-bed truck with big wheels and no chrome trim? That's the "Sport." Want a RAM with all-black trim everywhere? That's the "Night." The "Rebel" is the off-roading RAM, and the "Limited" and "Laramie" are the luxury trucks. It may be a bit confusing, but it's also a lot better for bragging: "I've got a LARAMIE!" as opposed to "I've got an SLT PLUS!"

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Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 Momentum, Inscription, Excellence

While most brands do use traditional trim levels with a couple of letters stuck together, some car companies are increasingly dropping those trims in favor of words. Few automakers have embraced this as enthusiastically as Volvo, who now uses terms like "Momentum," "Inscription" and "Excellence" to describe its trim levels. Although that can be useful, it can also be a little difficult to remember which words mean "more luxurious" and which mean "less."

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here Are 5 Strange Trim-Level Names Currently on Sale - Autotrader