Are These the Worst Car Names in History?

Much thought is put into the design, safety, aesthetics, and appeal of vehicles before they’re mass produced. Many automakers spend a lot of time and effort deciding on a name for a vehicle model. Companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz use letters and numbers to denote class, model, and trim packages. Then there are those manufacturers who use a less clinical approach and steer toward names designed to capture the essence of what the vehicle represents to a buyer. That’s where things can go wrong; and that’s where our blog list picks up. Let’s explore some of the more questionable vehicle names that have graced the roads over the years.

Suzuki Esteem – This 4 door sedan was produced in North America from 1990 until 2002. How unfortunate that the car was so ill-received that those who did purchase and drive them actually ended up with somewhat damaged self-esteems. 

Ford Probe – The Ford Probe had an eleven year run of production in North America from 1988 through 1997. While it was a decent seller, owners were left wondering,  “What in the world was Ford thinking when they named this car?”  Frankly, we think of alien abductions when we hear “probe”. Or uncomfortable medical examinations.

Hummer – Gutter-minded folks see this name in a completely different way than you and I. This massive SUV was produced in North America from 1998-2009.

GM Impact – Thank goodness General Motors never produced this car as anything other than a concept. Who in their right mind would want to purchase a car that sounds like it's destined for a collision?

Dodge Dart Swinger – this late 1960’s muscle-car-era vehicle was named something that, like the Hummer, means something entirely different to the gutter-minded.


Subaru BRAT – this little vehicle was quite unique…it was the size of a car with a truck bed and was available in North America from 1978-1993. The unfortunate name conjures up images of misbehaving children throwing temper tantrums in the grocery store.


Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard – What? This vehicle name just sounds like a villain in a superhero movie.

Tata Xenon – It’s a good thing that this vehicle isn’t available in the US. Let’s face it…while Ta-Ta is a British saying for “goodbye”, here in the US, a “ta-ta” is slang for something entirely different.

Peugeot Bipper Tepee Outdoor – This is another non-American vehicle and honestly, we’re glad. It’s difficult for us to take this vehicle seriously with that name. What in the world is a Bipper?

Ford Flex – Are we the only ones envisioning gym rats posing in front of a mirror?

Toyota Prius – We know. The Prius is a well-loved vehicle model. What’s irritating about the name is that it’s impossible to pluralize. Priuses? Prii?


Chevy Nova – We love General Motors but it seems they didn’t do quite enough research on this name. In Spanish, “Nova” translates to “no go”.

AMC Gremlin – Television on the fritz? Must have a Gremlin. Who doesn’t equate the word “gremlin” with an electronic glitch or a monster from a 1980’s film? The vehicle bearing the name Gremlin was ironically (or not ironically) plagued with reliability issues.

Studebaker Dictator – This pre-WWII era vehicle had a name that was rather intimidating. And not in a good way. 

Yugo – From 1985 to 1992, the Yugo was sold in the US and was a supermini hatchback. The Yugo suffered from alleged issues with build quality and reliability and made it into many “50 Worst Vehicles of All Time” lists. We know that “Yugo” was short for Yugoslavia, but with the problems this vehicle suffered, it would have been more aptly named “NoGo”.

So what do you think? Are there cars you think should be added to the list? If so, let us know!

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