Did you ever notice how big badges on the front of cars are getting these days? Have you ever wondered whether it's out of a need for automakers to "compensate" for their prospective buyers lack of size? We did. So, trusty ruler in hand, we hit the dealer lots at the mega-motor-mall up the street to find out whether size really does matter and to answer the important question: Which automaker has the biggest badges, and do they correspond to the bulge in the pants of the male members of the target buying demographic? Let's find out.
For starters, we've set up some ground rules:
1) Measurements are taken across the major axis of the badge vertically or horizontally, none of that diagonal baloney.
2) Script logos where not considered. Spreading letters out is too easy. So sorry Hummer, Jeep, GMC, Land Rover and others with the name spelled out in long-hand, get a real badge.
3) Only vehicles on the dealer lot of the Troy Motor Mall in Troy, MI where considered. Thus, this field study was subject to dealer availability. However, we did find ourselves some of the fattest, juiciest dealers in all the land, so not much was left out.
Now, on to business. For starters, we decided on a test case before prowling the local sales:
Test Case: The Cadillac Escalade didn't even register on the list of the ten biggest sizes. The 'sclade sported a puny five-and-a-half-inch rear badge (by far the most prevalent size) and a six-inch diameter front badge. Surprising, right? Then we thought about the big Caddy's target market: Eight-foot-tall professional basketball players. And the new Cadillac CTS designed for investment banking weenies? An Escalade-besting 6.125" badge on its snout. So, even in this test case, maybe we're on to something. Anyway, here's the resulting badge-o-meter as proof of our contention that size matters — and an explanation of each below:
10) Mazda CX-7 and Mazda CX-9
As predicted, the nearly twin Mazda SUV's did indeed have some massive badges on them. Coming in at an impressive 7.125 inches horizontally, the big ol' badges didn't make us think "Zoom Zoom" any more than the tiny ones on the Miata. However, a male Miata driver generally needs to have pretty strong self-confidence given the public's general lack of awareness of its track performance potential — so maybe it means he's got nothing to worry about in his self-confidence in other areas.
9) Mercedes Benz R-Class
minivan wagon Sport Activity Vehicle from Mercedes came in with a pretty substantial 7.25 inch diameter three-pointed star. The target buyer's a rather emasculated member of the male gender — the successful dad who doesn't want to seem like he's driving a minivan after he drops his kids off at school. Poor man.
8) Lincoln MKS
The Lincoln MKS has a pretty strong upper hand in this challenge — being one of the newest cars on the lot, it knows just how far the big-badge arms race has gone. With a target market of old men on Cialis, the 7.625 inch vertical badge snags an eighth place finish, making a statement that screams "Viva Viagra!"
7) Lincoln MKX
Sure, the MKX is a bigger vehicle than the MKS, so obviously it has to have a bigger logo, right? That's how the logic goes. True to form, the Lincoln MKS scores with 7.875 vertical inches of logo love. And considering the average buyer may very well be limited to bespectacled marketing metrosexuals, it makes sense they'd be even less endowed than their Viagra-popping pops driving the MKS.
6) TIE: Infiniti QX56 and Mercedes Benz C-Class
Both of these luxury rollers offer up some whopping chrome accentuation in the form of an 8.75 inch badge on both the Infiniti QX56 and Mercedes Benz C-Class. Sounds about right since they're pretty much both wheels for the white tennis playing country club types. We've been told by our female friends they truly need all the help they can get.
5) Almost Everything Ford Makes
What do we expect from a brand who uses a country crooner who uses his guitar as a phallic extension of his self? Anything bigger than a Focus in the Ford brand beloved-by-Toby Keith wears the same 7.875 inch big blue oval. Because if you're a Ford truck man, self-confidence is only as big as your truck with the big blue ovaled badge.
4) TIE: Chevrolet Tahoe and Lincoln Mark LT
Chevy's rolling tribute to the suburban lifestyle sports a hefty 9.75 inch bowtie mounted right on its nose. While it's a good way to tell you're not driving a GMC SUV, you'd need to somehow explain what the nine-and-three-quarters-inch sized badge means about what you've got in your pants. Same's true we guess of Lincoln's luxury truck.
3) TIE: Chevrolet Silverado and Lincoln Navigator
Our third place goes to two vehicles on the same platforms as the fourth place holders, each sporting a humongous 10.25 inch ornament to a lack-of-johnson size are the Chevrolet Silverado pickup and the Lincoln Navigator SUV. Sounds about right to us.
2) Chevrolet Express
This one was a shocker for us, we were really pulling for the even-bigger Silverado HD models, but they sport the same plate as the regular trucks. On a whim, we ran the ruler across the nose of the Express and lo and behold, a stupendous 10.5 inches of bowtie bone-compensation. Who said van owners can't hang high with the smallest of em?
1) Audi Products
We'd always known Germans were into some seriously freaky stuff. Something about issues of sexual repression. But we never knew the levels to which they were over-compensating. Every single member of the Audi family — with the exception of the TT — sport the same impossibly large 10.75 inch Audi badge. Maybe now it is the time on Sprockets when they dance and show off flat-as-the-world-is-round pants bulges.
So what did we learn from all this? In reality, badge size probably does not correspond to bulge size. Especially considering I own a nearly ten-year-old Audi with the same sized badge as its new breathren, and I was confident enough to put together this list. So go figure. (Hat tip to Mackenzie!