By on January 22, 2020

Let’s talk about badges. Seems like in recent years the thing to do is gather up a multitude of badges on a single given vehicle. Extending well beyond the manufacturer’s emblem and the model name, badges now branch to sub-model variants, trim, drivetrains, special editions, and perhaps others I’m not even considering right now.

But which brand (or model) commits the crime of Too Much Badge most often?

Today’s question was generated by a particularly funny Craigslist posting. To be fair, this Alfa Romeo Giulia had some assistance from a very proud owner who freely admits he added more “four leave clover triangles” to his favorite car. The overhead console, door mirrors, door pull trims, and the license plate bracket have all been beclovered.

Like all the additional badge photos, the ad copy is well worth a look. It cites the opinions of police officers and different women who had the pleasure of beholding the silver Giulia (which is the best car ever, but is now for sale). Other oddities here include photos of a vintage Giulia and its rear lamps in use on the Countach, and a man’s portrait in the passenger seat that may or may not be from a funeral.

But I digress. Hilarious and bizarre ad aside, we’d like to rely on your keen powers of observation in the comments today. What vehicles have you noticed lately with the most badge action, be it inside or out?

[Images: BMW, seller]

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68 Comments on “QOTD: A Bit Too Much Badge?...”


  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Hard to beat the: Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Super Long Exceed

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I don’t know if it’s so much lately, but cars have always broadcast their options in script somewhere on the car from the 50s “Hydromatic” transmission to more current “Turbo”, or “Skyactive” engines, to “AWD” or “4WD” or “4X4”, to even the type of “Flex-Fuel” it takes. Automakers just want you to know all about the car you’re driving

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Script is grandfathered in at this point but broadcasting it in light up badging is still pretty radical. Mercedes started it, BMW copied them, Kia is surely next.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      My first trip to Europe in the 80’s I was amused that there were badges on some cars bragging about “catalyzer” . No manufacture here bragged about emissions controls that I can remember except for Volvo bragging about their “Lambda sond” system.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The illuminated star on the front grille of newer Mercedes has to get a dishonorable mention here.

    • 0 avatar
      lstanley

      It just screams “Get me another Redbull and vodka”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Make it two.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yup there is a few A-classes running around Gallup with the lighted baged and illegal levels of tint. Makes me less likely to ever purchase a MB.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Don’t worry, those will be in the junkyard soon enough.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Getting off on a tangent here, I think window tint laws are a little arbitrary. There are some very sunny climes in the United States where dark tint on three sides and a strip across the top of the windshield makes an enormous difference. What’s allowed though depends a lot on your jurisdiction. As far as seeing inside the car at a roadside stop, the kinds of flashlights you can get nowadays are much, much better than the big @$$ maglites of the 1990s (4 and 6 D cell models), and the forward lighting on cop cars nowadays would put the Berlin air defense searchlights of the 1940s to shame.

            If and when pulled over on the side of the road and interacting with the local constabulary, I *like* having legally dark tint on the front seat windows. Why? Well, although I do not believe it is possible to talk one’s way *out* of a traffic ticket, I definitely believe it is possible for a motorist’s words and actions to sway the officer’s decision towards getting the ticket and fine. In other words, because enough *other* people who are too dumb to do basic things like turn off the radio, turn on the lights inside your car, and *roll your window down* without being asked, ergo- that improves my odds of getting off with a warning.

            And that’s what I have to say about window tint. ;)

            But seriously, tint makes a big difference in your comfort in some places.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see this as simple, let it be known either roll the window down or be faced with a hail of bullets and the problem fixes itself. Darwin at work.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            On the subject of tint there is a little conflict here in NM because our law is pretty lax (limo tint on anything but driver and front passenger window and can have the upper 20% of the windshield limo tinted. Driver and passenger window are allowed to 80% as dark as limo tint.)

            AZ on the other hand allows limo tint all the way around. So many people get their windows tinted in AZ and hope they never get caught.

            One of the local shops has a large US map on the wall with the state by state regulations. They will only tint to the level of the regulations indicated by your vehicle registration.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            Dan,

            AZ (Phoenix PD and DPS) does not allow limo tint, windshield tint or windshield strips lower than the rear view mirror. My prettier half is pulled over about once a year for having tint too dark. She has been warned many times and once given a citation. When she was given a citation, our tint guy provided us a receipt for removal of the offending tint. The receipt was presented to the court and the citation was invalidated.

            I may or may not have several cop friends, all of whom say that they use the “window tint” law to pull over vehicles whom they suspect of other more significant violations. They only cite for tint if the driver is a d***.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    GM was classic for doing this. Especially when they slapped an “ABS” badge on just about every 90s car.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    28 sez: moaaaar sail panel badge.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Maybe not a badge but the large “cartoon” decals on pickup trucks for the last several years. “FX4”, “4X4”, “TRD”, et al. I am from the “less is more” school of thought and see these as pretty ridiculous – my wife does not. When I said I was going to remove the “FX4” decals from the bedsides of my new truck she threatened me with bodily harm.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    You can never have too much…

    Oh, wait. You wrote “badge”.

    Never mind, then.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I’m sick of the “BMW X3 Xdrive28i” type of crap. What does all of that nonsense even mean to the average person?

    Plus enough of everyone’s made up names for AWD. 4motion, 4matic, x-drive. Just put an AWD badge and be done with it.

    Oh and there’s the silly engine tech names. Mazda Skyactive, Honda Earthdreams. Just silly nonsense.

  • avatar
    Jon

    Although not technically “badges”, I do not like the HUGE raised/stamped letters on tailgates. I like my body panels to be smooth and texture free.

    I also remove all badges and emblems from my vehicles. Therefore I do not like any badges or emblems that snap into holes in the body.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I have the opposite problem with Jeep products. They don’t put the model name on the back. World’s easiest marketing, and they waste it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Just glancing at my own car I know it’s a “Ford”, “Escape”, “XLT”, “4WD”, “Flex-Fuel”, “6” (Cylinder) What else do you need to know?

    • 0 avatar

      No more Bronco?

      Nah, we’re trying to get away from that whole ‘criminal on the run’ thing. This is the Escape!

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Yeah I’ve got the “Ford”, “Escape”, “Titanium”,and “Ecoboost” all on the back of mine. That’s one too many. Maybe i’ll pull that silly Ecoboost badge off.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        No! “Ecoboost”= Ford Turbo. How would anyone know you have a Turbo?

        True story, my grandfather had an old Chevy, he thought the word “Turbo” sounded cool, so he went to Pep Boys and bought a plastic “Turbo” badge and put it on his 1973 Chevelle. Family facepalm

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Turbo”

          Was your grandfather per chance a fan of the character of the same name in the movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            A “NO TURBO” emblem would better bragging. I always get a kick out of Mercedes “2.3 KOMPRESSOR” badges. Like yeah with that 2.3 thank god.

            Or the “3.6” on Cadillacs, as if *NO V8* is supposed to make Mercedes owners drool.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “Or the “3.6” on Cadillacs …”

            Back when you could have had a V8 I read that as “base trim meh” too, fast forward 10 years to buzzy POS fours in everything upmarket under 60 grand and that base trim meh suddenly seems like a real luxury.

            GM being GM, that luxury was abandoned of course and the new ones have the same POS fours as everything else.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Back when you could have had a V8”

            The V6 badges on some Fords in the last ten years make me laugh. I mean the ones with the superimposed V on a 6 (or is it a 6 on a V) that are stylized like the old V8 badges from the 1930s- that were for the flathead engine of myth and yore that supposedly gave Bonny and Clyde an edge on the lawmen of that era. Objectively, a modern V6 is a superior powerplant than almost any V8 of twenty years ago or older, but it’s just such a comical thing to me to usurp that old V8 badge and seemingly parody it this manner.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Someone in my town drives a Honda Odyssey with the script “Turbo” badge from a Porsche on the back hatch.

  • avatar
    bogardus

    As far as I am concerned, any badging on the side of a car is too much. Closest this ever came to acceptable was the period in the aughts when certain BMWs (X3, X5, Z4, etc.) did not reveal their engine spec with the rear badging and instead had a subtle “3.0i” or “4.4i” on the fenders. Then, of course, everything became “XDrive35i” and it was too much. A “V12” fender badge MIGHT also be acceptable on a luxo-barge if you need the guy in the 750i next to you at the stoplight to know that you dropped the extra change for a 760, but honestly I would rather keep it sleeper.

    First thing I did when I brought our Accord Hybrid home was take off the “HYBRID” fender badges. I’m not trying to hide the fact it’s a hybrid (the rear badge is still on), but I don’t feel the need to scream it from every angle and it really cleans up the side of the car.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’ll say this for extensive badging: It helps when you’re shopping for a used car. When I was looking for a ’15 Genesis I wanted AWD, so… no ‘htrac’ badge, no need to look further!

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The Homer didn’t need any badges.

    Just sayin’…

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    Focus RS. Don’t @ me.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If you look at the forums for many models you’ll see that people are generally divided between “debadge” – “rebadge” – “add badges”.

    Many current Regal owners have stripped the car down to just the Buick Trishield front and rear, others try to turn it into an Opel or Vauxhall (even one nut who put Maserati badges on his), the add badge club also goes overboard sometimes adding an “AWD” badge (that’s what the “X” in TourX is supposed to signify) or adding “2.0T” badges to the fenders etc.

    I added one of the Buick “red T” to signify turbo on the tailgate next to the “BUICK” and I slapped a “BUICK TURBO 4” badge (rip off of the old “Turbo 6” badge) under the hood on the engine cover. The current Regal sold in such tiny numbers the oil change tech at the dealership probably thinks it’s factory.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “even one nut who put Maserati badges on his”

      Dude, waht?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        https://youtu.be/21GpvsoF1kU

        I think he watched that review ONE time too many. Tom Voelk claims some guy at a gas station asked him if the Buick was a new Maserati.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ve thought about about putting a turbo-6 sticker on the Stinger. The Kia reminds me a lot of the GM cars I used to own (in a good way) and Lord knows Buick is never offering a V6T performance car ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      20 years or so ago I saw a person with an early 1990s Festival with all the badges removed and Civic badges and Honda emblems attached in their stead.

      Guy would have been more accurate had he put Mazda badges on instead.

      More recently in primary season 2016 somebody modified the badging on his turbocharged Cruze to say T Cruz.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    When I was mostly-debadging my old truck my then-teenage son thought for a minute and said “I *guess* that’s allowed” like maybe it was illegal or something. (Part of me thinks his mindset is somehow connected to the whole splitter protector thing.)

    I felt a little silly last week paying good money for new front and rear crests for a Cadillac I’m prepping for sale (the colors on the original appliques have faded). But I’m thinking of them more as “jewelry” vs. badges (and they are relatively tastefully small compared to some of the current dinner plates).

    Did remove the dealership script emblem which was a surprisingly hefty die-cast piece – much-cleaner appearance without it. Leaving two text badges – as shipped from the factory (powertrain and model, on the rear decklid).

  • avatar
    crtfour

    The “4WD” badges on the back of crossovers like the Explorer and CR-V. Really? Can you shift on the fly or engage low range in these things?

    I think all Infiniti’s have either the “3.5” or “5.6” badge. What’s the point of the “3.5” badge?

    And probably the worst, the ever popular “2.0T” badge.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    A “Turbo” badge on a full-electric vehicle.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I think the newer Porsche 911’s have too much on the back.
    Every car has 911 Carrera then GTS, or 4S, or S. It just looks too big and too long under the simple 911 logo.
    Also the L on any Lexus steering wheel is just too big.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I must admit I find it hilarious when people can’t just say they drive a 3 series, but must say E90 and then go on to list all the options, engine size, transmission, number of drive wheels, added accessories etc.

    Nobody cares except the teenage boy across the street.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I stopped caring when I stopped being able to decode BMW badges as to displacement and number of cyl.

      Well I also stopped caring when an inline 6 stopped being standard.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      In fairness, the E90 came in four different body styles (sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon). And AWD vs RWD, each of which has a different driving feel. And Wikipedia shows 18 different engine variations sold across the world from 2005-2013. Three transmissions (auto, manual, DSG). Three levels of suspension and 3 body kits (base, Sport/M-Sport, M3). And there were at least two notable option packages – Sport package, Idrive – which made a significant difference in the interior feel.

      I would say it’s similar to how, if you drive a Mustang, there’s a notable difference between an Ecoboost 4, V6, GT, Bullitt, GT350, or GT500. Only the E90 actually had far more variations.

      So I wouldn’t quite call it esoteric knowledge only for fanboys.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I appreciate Mazda’s approach, though I’m likely a bit biased. It’s cool that they don’t had trim level badging to the car that screams out the fact that one has bought the stripper special. The only way to tell is to look for minor styling cues or lighting differences.

    When I was younger, I used to look for the 16v or V6 badges on Pontiacs, and maybe others I can’t recall, to determine a 4 cylinder versus a 6.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I saw a Honda Ridgeline go by a few weeks ago with a set of Audi rings on the grille and tailgate. It’s not like Audi even makes a pickup truck, so I don’t know who he was trying to fool with that.

  • avatar

    When a BMW “M Sport” model has more ///M badges than an actual M car.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Here are two that I don’t think have been mentioned yet: Subarus in the past decade or so that have some combo of ‘SUBARU’ ” ” ‘Symmetrical AWD’ and ‘PZEV’, let alone those stupid activity badges owners slap on.
    Early 90s performance kei cars. For example, the Suzuki Alto Works RSR has so many that the ENTIRE TAILGATE is filled with badging.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The E85 Flexfuel badge on the back of many Chrysler, GM and Fords.
    Mopar for years put a small Pentastar on the lower rear corner of the front fenders on many models.
    GM got into the same thing in the mid 00’s by placing the classic GM badge in the same place on many models including the Sky/Solstice and the CTS/STS.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Mazda can’t be bothered to say 2.5t or turbo on the rear of my Mazda6. That’s a secret known only to me and my insurance company.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Subaru is a perennial offender here. My former Forester XT had a Subaru logo, “Subaru,” “Forester,” “Symmetrical AWD,” and “XT” badges on the back. I took off all but the Subaru logo and the XT badge. Those without turbos often have PZEV badges to add to the clutter.

    But I think the worst consistent offenders are pickup makers. Pickups always have giant badges that leave holes and/or indentations if you try to remove them. They also add a distressing quantity of stickers.

    My Highlander Hybrid has both “Hybrid Synergy Drive” and “i-AWD” badges on the front doors, and they don’t match stylistically. When I get around to it I may remove the “i-AWD” badges.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The Ford King Ranch with Powerstroke diesel just shouts “I’m gay”! Clearly a Man’s man pickup truck!!
    4×4 badges, Chrome banner across the tailgate, and even a sticker bragging about the bedliner.
    https://www.autoblog.com/2018/07/19/2018-ford-f-150-king-ranch-pickup-review/#slide-1320764

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Observed in Germany the number of cars with the badges deleted. Offered from the dealership either for the exec that doesn’t want to flaunt it or the middle manager reaching for a class above. I like the look.

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