This Is What The Badges On Cars Really Mean

Badges are slapped on the asses of pretty much every car made today. That’s just how it is. While many are ridiculous and useless, even the ones that we just accept and don’t even mock, at least not openly, are laden with hidden meanings; a shorthand for a set of criteria we can assume about the car and it’s owner. You know, like a stereotype! Just like the bigots use!

Since I know everyone’s goal is to become the best automotive bigot they can be, I’ve put together these handy little visual guides to interpret what the most common sorts of badges you’ll see on cars really means.

This should save you lots of precious time. You’re welcome.

Badge Class 1: Hybrid, or similar variants, like lower case ‘e’s or little green leaves


Badge Class 2: Any complex alphanumeric string of characters on a premium car


Badge Class 3: Two- or three-letter pairs like RS, GT, RT, GTS, and so on, or word/letter combos like [some letter]-Type, or [some letter]-Spec


Badge Class 4: Any technical acronym or words like OHV, DOHC, VTEC or INJECTION, or similar


Badge Class 5: Outdoor-related badges like 4x4 or Trail Rated, or Trail[something]


Badge Class 6: Any truck with SUPER DUTY or HEAVY DUTY or anything similar


I hope this helps! What will you do with all your extra time now?

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)