The 10 weirdest and unique car names

Craig Duff

Posted December 03, 2021



10 curious car names

Audi e-tron 

The German marque applies the e-tron tag to all its battery-electric vehicles. Shortly after the name was unveiled, the French-speaking world piled-in online, pointing out that 'etron' is French for 'excrement'. Being accused of buying a lemon all of a sudden doesn’t seem so bad by comparrison. 

Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

Mysterious Utility Wizard sounds like a multitool or cartoon character, but it is in fact Isuzu’s take on an SUV built in collaboration with GM from 1997 to 2003. No mystery that GM rebadged its version as the Holden Frontera.

Ford Kuga

The Kuga is a half-decent SUV and has enjoyed sales success in Australia and Europe, though probably not in the eastern areas of Europe. As it turns out someone didn’t do the translation check for Slavic languages, with Kuga translated to ‘plague'.

 

The Ford Kuga

The Ford Kuga has made some Europeans feel uneasy.


 

Mazda Bongo Brawny Van 

Bongo was never the greatest vehicle name, but Mazda added insult to injury when it launched the long-wheelbase Bongo Brawny variant in 1999. There was also a Bongo Friendee eight-seat people-mover (presumably for friendly types). Funnily enough, Ford chose to call its version the Econovan.

Ferrari LaFerrari 

Yes, we know it is a Ferrari, but this one was so special it had to be repeated. It wasn’t just a Ferrari, it was the Ferrari. To be fair, the car was special when it launched in 2013, being the first vehicle with the Prancing Horse emblem to adopt the F1-derived hybrid powertrain and only 499 examples were built. 

Ford Probe

The lights must have been out in the common-sense department when someone decided to stick this label on the boot when the sports car fired into showrooms in 1989. No one wanted a Probe parked in their back yard and buyers were reluctant to announce their excitement of picking up an Escort. Thankfully, sales of the front-wheel-drive Probe didn’t match those of the rear-wheel-drive Ford Mustang and the nameplate was retired.

Haval Big Dog

At least 'Big Dog’ is better than 'top dog,' which could have been perceived as pretentious, but the fact is, Haval’s squared-off off roader is merely a mid-sized SUV comparable to a Toyota RAV4. As quickly as Haval is improving, the Big Dog will struggle to win the sales battle in this segment when it arrives in Australia next year. 

 

Haval Big Dog

Haval's Big Dog is playing in the wrong league as a mid-sized model.


 

Ford Ka and Renault LeCar 

“Where’s my car? No, not that car, my Ka.” 

Why any marketing department or decision-maker thought it ingenious to make the common and proper noun for what it was describing synonymous, irrespective of how your spell it, boggles the mind. How such a phonetic faux pas was ever approved, we’ll never know. 

Lamborghini Reventon

It’s a good thing the Reventon was such a limited edition, because it is a safe bet not many Spaniards would have bought one, even if they could afford the $1.2 million price tag. The car was named after a bull, as is the tradition for the Italian supercar maker. Reventon’s traditional meaning in Spain is 'burst,' and you don’t want anything bursting on a car capable of going from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Alfa Romeo Tonale 

The Tonale won’t land in Australia until late next year, but critics are already sinking the boot in, pointing out that it is likely to be pronounced “toenail” in English-speaking locales. The small SUV’s name is actually taken from a pass in northern Italy.

 

The Alfa Romeo Tonale.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale, not toe-nail.


 

Honourable mentions

The Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce didn’t just have a limp name, it also pioneered the asymmetrical door approach, with two openings on the passenger side and one for the driver.

Hyundai adopted the door concept for its Veloster coupe, but fortunately didn’t follow through on the salad motif. Suzuki did, sadly, and Australians were briefly exposed to the Suzuki Celerio.

Suzuki also sold the Mighty Boy, a tiny two-door ute powered by a 540cc three-cylinder engine, ensuring there was nothing mighty about its size or performance. 

Nisssan was desperate for its concept car to be accepted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013, so it called the vehicle Friend-Me. Funnily enough, the Facebook response wasn’t as accommodating. 

Finally, the AMC Gremlin is wrong no matter which generation you are from. The original derision stemmed from naming a car after a mythical creature that causes mechanical and electrical problems, while younger owners would know not to expose this car to water or feed it after midnight.

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