Notice how “green” car names sound so wimpy? Prius sounds like Prissy and Wuss. And the Leaf? Can you get more inanimate than that?
Jonathan Richman’s Dodge Veg-O-Matic was pretty inanimate, despite its industrial-sounding name.
Still, you have to figure that this is a case of Know Your Audience: no one in the history of the world ever cross-shopped the Prius against, say, the late, lamented Mercury Marauder. And you can be sure that John Q. Hypermiler isn’t buying a Prius to go hooning around.
Besides, none of Toyota’s vehicle lines, from misty Avalon to lumpy Yaris, carries a name that sounds the least bit menacing, with the possible exception of the home-market Harrier, which came here as the Lexus RX. (Nissan, which issues vehicles with such names as Armada, Titan, and Rogue, is apparently less concerned with appearing more concerned.)
And suppose we’d had the technology much earlier. Could there have been, say, a ’62 Buick Electrodyne?