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Here Are 5 Strange Trim-Level Names Currently on Sale

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." Find a BMW i3 for sale

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. Find a Kia Soul for sale

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. Find a Porsche 911 for sale

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!" Find a RAM 1500 for sale

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." Find a Volvo XC90 for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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10 COMMENTS

  1. The First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence goes to… the 2018 Volvo XC90 Excellence!

  2. This also leads to unintentionally funny moments, like every time my dad tells someone about his new Volvo S60 “Inception” model.

  3. Fiats have some too.  Pop, Lounge, Abarth for the 500.  Pop, Trekking, Lounge, Urbana for the 500X.  Classica, Lusso and Abarth for the 124 Spider.  

  4. The Soul trim levels kinda make me giggle… I could imagine someone going into the dealer knowing the want a Soul ! but addressing the sales man like:

    Customer:  hi.  I’d like to purchase a SOUL (At the top of his lungs)
    Startled sales person:  Sir, why are you yelling me?
    Customer:  Don’t you sell SOULS??? (again… at the top of his lungs)
    Startled sales person:  Sir… if you would just calm down I am sure we can help you find a soul… What trim level are you interested in?
    Customer:  I thought I already told you.  I want a SOUL! (Yelling now)
    Startled sales person:  sir, if you can’t control your voice, I am going to have to ask you to leave….
    Customer:  But I want to buy a SOUL! (yelling).  Why won’t you sell me a SOUL! (still yelling)
  5. How about when automakers take a trim designation, and move it from top of the line to bargain basement?  My wife once had a 2002 Malibu LS, which was a top-of-the-line trim at the time.  Just a couple of years later, Chevrolet changed their trim designations, and LS was the new base level (followed by LT and LTZ).

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