50 Terrible Car Names
Some cars have names that fit like a glove. Take the Dodge Viper. A car that even aesthetically resembles a crotaline snake (pit viper). If you don’t respect the Vipers’ horsepower then it will bite you (by means of spinning out and wrapping it around your neighbor’s tree). Other times cars are named poorly. Now a great car can stand on its own, above the fray of a terrible car name. The current MX-5 for example, has a pointless alphanumeric name, but sells well because the car is excellent. That’s not always the case, and today we’re going to point out some of the more disastrous choices. Here’s our picks for the worst car names of all time.
Ford makes a few solid SUVs, and this minivan-like thing is one of the better ones. The Flex looks unique, like a stretched Scion xB, and appears to cost more than it does. Too bad about the name though, as “flex” brings to mind self-absorbed gym rats in front of a mirror, while car guys will think of torsional rigidity, where flex is a very bad thing.
After the PR and sales disaster that was the Aztek, Pontiac needed a people mover that was a hit. Unfortunately, GM decided the Torrent was the answer. A Chevy Equinox with different badging, the Torrent launched with the 185 horsepower 3.5L V6. I don’t use “torrent” a lot in a sentence, but 185 hp sounds more appropriate on the Pontiac Wheezer.
Subaru B9 Tribeca
It’s meant to sound hip, being TRIangle BElow CAnal street, a trendy part of Lower Manhattan. This doesn’t quite translate to the vehicle, as B9 makes no sense by itself, and not too many people even live in Tribeca. Plus, hipsters there don’t even drive to the local bulk organic grocer, so it’s a rare misstep by Subaru.
“I drive an SS.” “Oh, sweet. Like a Camaro?” “No, dude. An SS.” “What? Like a TrailBlazer?? A Cobalt? HHR?” It’s a pretty sweet ride, but the name is self-inflicted brand confusion. Call it Chevelle SS and sales will double.
BMW X5 xDrive35d
BMW makes some solid driving cars and SUVs, but their names are usually lacking. There’s way too much stuff going on in this name. They might as well write a long sentence describing it on the rear. It’s just as clunky to say.
Meant to sound high tech, like a NASA space probe. We didn’t make the best choices in the ‘80s, and words have already changed common meanings. Probe doesn’t sound at all high tech or desirable, more like inappropriate alien experiments or an invasive medical procedure.
Auto makers create nonsense words for their vehicles all the time, so “Prius” isn’t all that much different from “Camaro.” Except Prius sounds dumb. It’s has earned a stigma of crazy eco-nerd sipping chai while driving 50 mph in the far left lane. It’s also impossible to pluralize. Priuses? Prii? Dumb.
No one likes this game. Golf is slow, boring, and for the retirement age crowd. Kinda like this car? Well, no, the Golf is actually fun to drive and aimed at the youth market. Its terrible advertising, as “Golf” should have been the name of the Cadillac DTS.
Kia’s range topper is a surprisingly decent car. It packs a lot of features into a decent price. The name is dreadful though, and doesn’t even mean anything. There’s no K-class that it competes in, and it doesn’t have a 900cc engine. It’s nonsense that sounds bad. K900 sounds like RoboCop’s dog.
A French car should have an appropriately French name. I’m not sure why this is so hard, but someone came up with the genius idea to go with LeCar. It’s French for “the car.” The LeCar means the the car. Terrible.
The Quattroporte is a great car. A stunning design, with a Ferrari sourced drivetrain and excellent exhaust note, the car deserves a great name. “Quattro porte” is Italian for “four doors.” They literally aren’t even trying.
The Aztek was a misshapen SUV-ish thing with a fittingly malformed name. It’s an ugly misspelling for an ugly car.
Pontiac Le Mans
Possibly the world’s greatest race, attached to an utter crapmobile with zero sportiness. It’s like using the name “Hot Rod” on a basic minivan.
It’s okay that you don’t remember this one. It’s better that way. This malaise-era clunker was named after a city in Japan that you’ve never heard of. Pointless and meaningless to most buyers.
BMW 1 Series M Coupe
Stupid gibberish that follows zero BMW naming conventions, due to the Germans not wanting to cause confusion with the M1, a halo car from decades ago.
Tesla Model S P85D
One of the most groundbreaking car architectures has a world-beating zero to sixty time, in a sedan priced to undercut the supercars it spanks. It also has a jumble of letters that delivers none of that excitement.
Chevy didn’t do all their research on this one, and the Spanish speaking population had a laugh at their expense. It reads “no go” in Spanish.
A cool idea with a stupid name. No one likes brats, so this name is about as bad as the “Subaru Taxes,” or “Subaru Salesman.”
Dodge Dart Swinger
Yeah, it’s not the ‘70s anymore, so a lot of those groovy names sound terrible today. “Swinger” doesn’t exactly bring to mind a swingset….
An original idea for car design, seemingly hampered by their inability to describe it. Plus, being associated with the “Fantastic Four” movies is never a good idea.
Not bad at first glance, “Escort” has lately taken on quite a different meaning than the old small ships of the fleet, especially when you’re in Vegas.
Typically automakers aim for made-up words that are pronounceable. Not Hyundai! Shoulda just called it the Hyundai Ugh. This impressive lux-mobile deserves better.
A made up word that is hard to pronounce, sounds ugly, and offers zero descriptive reference. Yet another example of VW’s missteps in the US. See Touareg for more.
Gremlins are known as those little monsters from the ‘80s movies, or as electronic glitches that take some sorting out. Either way, terrible choice for a car.
Ferrari LaFerrari (The Ferrari)
The Italians took a page from the French. The Ferrari LaFerrari sounds horrible and is literally The TheFerrari. Dumb, and undeserving of the price tag.
While the Hummer nickname was based on the military HMMWV, the Hummer brand name sounds like something else. See the Ford Escort above to get your Hummer.
Have no self-esteem? Sa-weet! Buy this Esteem. Actually, that won’t help, just like its name didn’t help sales.
I get it after thinking about it for a second. Cargo Max. Makes sense when looking at it. But Cargo Max would be a better name, unlike the current one that sounds like a generic tampon brand.
The Dictator came with De Fuhrer V8, a Kim Jong Un transmission, and Genghis Khan suspension. The slightest accident was always fatal.
In addition to these terrible car names, there’s been a recent trend for bad, unimaginative alphanumeric car names, especially in luxury makes. What used to make sense – like “Legend” – has now become a meaningless, soul-less jumble of letters; RL. What does that even mean? Really Lame?
More bad alphanumeric car names:
Alphanumeric can make sense, like CTS: C-class Touring Sedan. CT6? Sounds like a Chrysler minivan, or just an RPO code on the option sheet.
Yeah, not a fan. Off-roader with a 5-cylinder? Nope, it’s a grocery-getter crossover.
What the hell is this? Does anyone know?
Sounds like a shipping company.
CSI? Sounds like this car is (pulls out sunglasses) headed to Miami (puts them on as intro rolls) YEEEAAAHHH!
Actually, just list the entire current Infiniti lineup here.
Yeah, I obviously don’t like Caddy’s missteps here, but seriously, “XLR” sounds like “extra large” on a sports car. More like Cadillac WTF.
Ask any non-car person, non-Volvo person to describe this. Did they get awesome and safe SUV? Nope.
Looks like “Lexuses,” and is utterly meaningless. It’s not a giant E-class car, and the S certainly isn’t for sport.
Meaningless M and K, with a lame S for sedan. Should have gone with the “Lincoln IDK.”
Some of the worst foreign car names:
Kia Pro_cee’d GT
Peugeot Bipper Tepee Outdoor
Honda Life Dunk
Suzuki Every Joypop Turbo
Mazda Carol Me Lady
Daihatsu Naked Summary
Mazda LaPuta (Spanish for “The Whore”)
Subaru Touring Bruce
That’s it. My eyes are bleeding. That’s all the terrible car names I can take today. With all the incompetence on display in upper management, I’m sure we’ve missed a few. Add some more in the comments below, just don’t make me read them.