Whether you’re browsing the lot of your local car dealership, admiring a certified pre-owned Kia Telluride, or passing by a vintage Buick Riviera on your way to work, there’s something about geography that sparks interest in the automotive industry. You may not realize it, but many vehicles are named after cities, states, countries, and more, enhancing their appeal with drivers everywhere. From adventurous SUVs to sports cars and top-of-the-line trucks to family vehicles, you may come to find that many share a name with some of the most popular destinations in the world. Let’s get to know a few of the most famous models, what places they’re named after, and what makes them so special.
#1 – Kia Telluride (Telluride, Colorado)
Kia’s latest midsize SUV isn’t just great at transporting families everywhere they need to go in comfort; it also shares its name with a very popular ski town in Colorado. Known for its powdery slopes and winter activities, Telluride is a must-see destination for those who want to sail down some of the most immaculate slopes in the country. Much like its namesake, the Kia Telluride aims to thrill, offering drivers an affordable and practical way to travel, armed with desirable features, loads of interior space, and energetic driving dynamics.
#2 – Chevrolet Malibu (Malibu, California)
A staple in the Chevy lineup since the mid-1960s, the Malibu is a dependable sedan that offers style, value, and efficiency to any travels. Not only that, but this popular car shares its name with an equally popular city in California, just west of Los Angeles. Recognized for its idyllic scenery, pristine waters, and ample entertainment, Malibu is a top spot for surfers, tourists, and locals to take in the gorgeous California sights. Like Malibu, the Chevy Malibu is alluring as well, providing drivers with a powerful engine, plenty of modern styling, and a smooth ride anywhere it travels.
#3 – GMC Denali (Denali, Alaska)
The most luxurious trim available in the GMC arsenal of vehicles, the Denali line showcases brilliant features, sophisticated appointments, and an aura of perfection that simply can’t be replicated. Named after Denali in south-central Alaska, the highest peak in North America, the Denali line exhibits sheer beauty and exuberance. With its peak at 20,310 feet, Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, serves as the focal point in the Denali National Park & Preserve. You’ll find maps of this magnificent region adorning the seats of some of the most recent GMC Denali models, a tribute to their namesake.
#4 – Buick Riviera (French Riviera)
Consisting of a variety of towns, stretching from Toulon, France, to the Italian border, the French Riviera is home to dazzling coastlines, favorable weather, and centuries of history, nestled in this rich, Mediterranean region. Taking its name from this spectacular area, the Buick Riviera was a tried and true favorite, found in many driveways across the nation from the early 1960s until production ceased before the turn of the century. Recognized for its classy style, ideal for touring, the Riviera was among one of the best luxury cars of its time.
#5 – Toyota Tacoma (Tacoma, Washington)
It’s one of the best-selling trucks of all time, with a cult following that further enhances its appeal and popularity. The Toyota Tacoma is a midsize truck known for its reliability, high resale value, and superior off-road capabilities. This crowd favorite takes its name from the city of Tacoma, a moderately sized port city on Washington’s Puget Sound, known for its hiking and biking trails, unmatched views, and charismatic neighborhoods. Creativity flows freely here, as Tacoma serves as a home to many writers, artists, and performers, seeking out a place to be inspired.
#6 – Hyundai Santa Fe (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is known for its unique architecture, rich history, and dry, temperate climate. This popular resort town was founded in 1610 and serves as a mecca for aspiring artists, tourists, and adventurers alike. Like the city, the Hyundai Santa Fe is recognized for its fearless attitude, offering drivers a smooth, controlled ride, an impressive selection of powertrains, and a price tag that won’t break the bank. When you’re looking to explore, the Santa Fe is the perfect companion.
#7 – Chevrolet Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California)
A large SUV with loads of desirable features, the Chevy Tahoe has been a fan favorite for years. Perfect for families, frequent road trippers, and any type of driver, the Tahoe’s cozy interior vibes, impeccable power, and tech make it ideal for any journey. This versatile Chevy offering gets its name from Lake Tahoe, which resides in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the border between California and Nevada. A popular tourist destination that is known for its ski resorts and lake activities, approximately 15 million visitors grace these lands each year to catch a glimpse of nature at its finest.
#8 – Kia Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
With stunning views of the Atlantic, nestled in a tropical paradise, Rio de Janeiro remains a staple in Brazilian culture. Pristine beaches, tropical forests, and some of the most iconic history in the world can be found here, making this seaside city a must-see for many. Taking a few cues from Brazilian culture, the Kia Rio acts more like a luxury vehicle than an affordable offering in the Kia lineup. A modern interior cabin, responsive handling, and a strong presence make it easy to see why the Rio is a big car in a small package.
#9 – Chevrolet Colorado (Colorado, United States)
It’s tough, it’s nimble, and it’s ready to be your go-to workmate, no matter what the job entails. The Chevy Colorado not only exhibits intense power to complete tough tasks, but it’s also agile and smooth on the trails, especially when armed with the ZR2 package. Like this tough truck, the state of Colorado showcases something for everyone. From iconic ski towns to rich culture, this mountain state is a key destination for winter travelers.
#10 – Chrysler Pacifica (Pacifica, California)
It’s one of the most popular minivans on the road, with enough room to handle anything during your travels, plus ingenious features to make any ride better. It gets its name from the coastal city of Pacifica, located just south of San Francisco. Hills, trails, oceans, and canyons dot this area, making it a perfect tourist destination, and when you want to take in some of the best sunsets in the country, Pacifica makes it easy to relish in its natural surroundings.
#11 – Nissan Murano (Murano, Venice, Italy)
There’s no doubt about it; the Nissan Murano showcases exceptional luxury appeal, no matter which angle you’re admiring. It gets this attitude, of course, from its namesake, Murano, a series of seven islands located in northern Italy. Perhaps most famous for its glass-making traditions, Murano offers many opportunities to attend glass-making classes, shows, and shops to bring a piece of Italian history home with you. Like this string of islands, the Nissan Murano also exudes a timeless appeal, with a sleek exterior, elegant interior, and a fine variety of tech that resides inside.
#12 – Kia Sedona (Sedona, Arizona)
The famous Red Rocks lead the way to the desert city of Sedona, recognized for its unbelievable natural sights, trails, canyons, valleys, and more. For those who want to get out into nature, Sedona offers a backdrop that’s simply unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. Named after this beautiful city, the Kia Sedona provides families and those needing more room in their vehicle with ample space to accommodate everything and everybody, as well as a smooth ride and the value that can only come from a Kia.