To the Editor:
This is in response to John K. Teahen Jr.'s Jan. 23 column ("C'mon, guys, they're station wagons").
I think he is only half right. He suggests that the term "crossover" is dumb because "it says nothing of history, appearance, manufacturing technique or purpose."
Then he makes some valid points on why "crossover" does not make sense. He seems to focus on the purpose of the vehicles more than anything else. At that point I was totally on board with him.
But when he said we should call them station wagons, I was disappointed.
From my basic understanding of automotive history, the term "station wagon" is derived from the days when coachbuilders converted some of the early automobiles into vehicles that could pick up arriving travelers at train stations and transport them to their local destinations. These vehicles had replaced the horse-drawn wagons designed for the same purpose.
I don't know if the name "station wagon" endured continuously until the 1990s or whether some marketing people applied it in the 1950s. Either way, times have changed a lot since then.
I don't think the new multifunctional vehicles look anything like wagons. So, while I agree with Teahen that "crossover" may not be the right name for this new style of vehicles, I don't agree that "station wagon" is.
In my opinion, Mazda has already laid claim to the name that makes the most sense: "MPV" for "multipurpose vehicle."
Editor's note: Automotive News categorizes the Mazda MPV as a minivan.