Ranked

Worst car names in America

Come to think of it, Thing wasn't a great name for a car, was it?!

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

A vehicle's name is arguably one of its most important aspects. Of course design, features and performance are what ultimately sell a car, but a majority of marketing focuses on a car's name. Often expected to illustrate or suggest an auto's essence, names such as Jeep Renegade or Lamborghini Diablo conjure a visceral image of the vehicle.

This leaves us wondering what went wrong with the following car names. Petty power struggles? Poor translations? Three-martini lunches? We're not saying all these are bad cars (although some are not great), but they certainly could have benefitted from better names. Here are just a few of the worst car names we've experienced in America.

GM Impact

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Before General Motors introduced its groundbreaking EV1 electric car in the mid-1990s, the company showed a prototype electric vehicle called the Impact. Although we can see what they were thinking — this car would make a huge impact on the industry and America — riding in a car named after the first thing you don't want to have happen while in a car seems wrong. Although the name was marginally better than Crash, Smash or Slam.

Ford Probe

1993 Ford Probe GT

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Probe was a fine sport coupe — it didn't have great performance but the styling wasn't bad. The name, however, could have been better. When we think of the word probe, what comes to mind is what space aliens reportedly do with captives. According to Webster's Dictionary, a probe is "a thin, long instrument that is used especially for examining parts of the body" — along the lines of that space examination. A hot shower might be in order after driving a Probe.

Kia K900

2020 Kia K900

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The flagship sedan of the Kia model lineup, the K900 is a large luxury sedan. Although the rest of the Kia lineup has what we would consider reasonable names, we're not sure what the Korean automaker was thinking with the name K900. The big Kia's name is simply too close to K9, and while we know that dogs can help sell cars — just look at Subaru — no one wants a dog of a car.

Volkswagen Thing

Volkswagen Thing

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1973 Volkswagen imported an odd-looking vehicle originally designed for the German military. Sold as the Safari in Mexico, Trekker in the UK and the Kurierwagon in Germany, apparently VW had run out of creativity by the time they got around to naming the American version, so it was simply called the Thing. Sold in America for only two years, the Thing's doors and windows could be removed, the windshield could be folded down and — with drains in the floor — it could be hosed out when dirty. With a 55-horsepower engine the Thing boasted a top speed of 71 mph. Perhaps Thing is more appropriate than we first thought.

Chevrolet Citation

Chevrolet Citation

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevrolet sold the Citation in the early 1980s — it was the brand's first front-wheel-drive car, but with quality and reliability issues the compact model was not terribly successful. Perhaps naming the car after the second thing you don't want to occur while driving wasn't the best idea either. Maybe Chevrolet marketing mavens glossed over the type of citation given by a traffic cop. According to Webster's, citation also can mean a statement praising a person's bravery. Back in the days of mullets and New Wave, you had to be pretty brave to buy a Citation.

AMC Gremlin

1970 AMC Gremlin

Photo by Getty Images

There are plenty of cars named after living things that conjure positive images. Ford Mustang, Mercury Cougar, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Ram — even Volkswagen Rabbit. So why would AMC name their car after something that nobody would want to associate with? According to Webster's, a gremlin is a small imaginary creature that gets blamed when something doesn't work properly — something you certainly don't want in your car. But AMC fully embraced the name, even featuring a little Gremlin on the gas cap.

Ford Aspire

Ford Aspire

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Sold in America for just a few years in the mid-1990s, the Ford Aspire was a small 2- or 4-door hatchback built by Kia. The very basic car had few amenities and with its anemic 4-cylinder engine took more than 16 seconds to reach 60 mph. Perhaps the name was appropriate — anyone driving the Aspire would shortly be striving to drive something else.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Is it really there or did you just think you saw it? Another naming fail is this small Mitsubishi, since a mirage is something with no substance that appears to be real but isn't. The car is something like that — with just 74 horsepower, less-than-appealing styling, tiny wheels and lackluster performance it might be better to reach the horizon and find the Mirage wasn't really there.

Maserati Quattroporte

Maserati Quattroporte

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The name of this high-performance Maserati sedan is not exactly bad — it really isn't much of a name at all. The Italian word "Quattroporte" literally translates to "four doors," and while the Quattroporte is a 4-door sedan, this name simply lacks imagination — it merely states the obvious in another language. At least the 2-door GranTurismo wasn't named the Dueporte.

Daihatsu Charade

Daihatsu Charade

Photo courtesy of Daihatsu

This small Japanese car company only sold vehicles in the U.S. from 1988 to 1992, and billed the Charade as a premium subcompact car. But with basic equipment and a weak 3-cylinder engine, premium was a bit of a stretch. Perhaps the small car was just living up to its name — charade is an empty or deceptive act and, based on the description, so was this car.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari LaFerrari

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Ferrari took the wraps off its this supercar a few years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, and while the crowd of attending auto journalists were excited and impressed with the high-tech hybrid system and claimed 950 total horsepower, they were left scratching their heads when the name was announced. LaFerrari translates into English as "the Ferrari." Sure, we get the elemental nature of the name, but Ferrari's flagship sports car should have been given a more deserving moniker.

Renault LeCar

Renault LeCar

Photo courtesy of Renault

Along the same lines as LaFerrari, Renault was a bit short on creativity when it came to naming this little French car. At first blush it appears that the translation to English would be "the car," which is rather unimaginative. However "car" in French means coach or bus — so this tiny econobox is actually named "the bus." At least the name is big.

Subaru Brat

Subaru Brat

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Nobody likes a brat. Typically an annoying child belonging to someone else (our own children are never brats), this is not someone you want to spend any time with. So why would you name a car after an ill-mannered, annoying child? As it turns out, BRAT is an acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter. So while the little 4WD Subaru with the rear-facing open-air seats was great fun in its day, the name is definitely annoying.

Hummer

Hummer H2

Photo by Getty Images

The Hummer was a civilian version of the military Humvee (a nickname for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle). Arnold Schwarzenegger pressured AM General to make the big SUV available to the public, so AM General put the Hummer on public roads in 1992. However, you might hear some snickering whenever this big vehicle's name gets uttered, given that it's slang for a certain oral act. Not exactly what you want associated with your new vehicle, but hey — sex sells, right?

Infiniti Q?

2019 Infiniti Q50

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Nissan's luxury brand always had a naming convention of letters and numbers — the letters indicated the vehicle series, the number was determined by the engine. But recently Infiniti rebadged all vehicles, and it's no longer possible to determine the vehicle based on its name. Every vehicle name starts with a Q. Why? Good question. There doesn't seem to be much logic behind the names — the car named Q60 is a 2-door version of the Q50, but the QX60 SUV is bigger than the QX50. (The numbers no longer indicate the engine, simply the order in the vehicle lineup.) Very confusing, even for those in the industry.

Suzuki Esteem

Suzuki Esteem

Photo courtesy of Suzuki

If you're not feeling great about yourself, buying a good-looking, quality car could certainly raise your self-esteem. Strangely enough, the car named Esteem would no doubt fail in that endeavor. The Esteem was a basic economy car sold in the late 1990s through 2002, and while it would get you around, very few people would hold this car in high esteem.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will maintain its price point for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette retains its pricing for the 2021 model year but the company has added a number of available features and equipment, as well as new paint job options. The Stingray coupe will start at $59,999 and the convertible version is $67,495.

"Our mission was to develop a new sports car, combining the successful attributes of Corvette with the performance and driving experience of mid-engine supercars," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette executive chief engineer. "We are thrilled with the enthusiasm the mid-engine Corvette brought following its launch and are keeping it fresh with new content for the 2021 model."

The 'Vette will be available in Red Mist Metallic Tintcoat and Silver Flare Metallic paint jobs in addition to the 2020 paint color roster. A Sky Cool Gray/Yellow Strike interior option is now available. Buyers can opt for Stinger Stripes in three colors: Carbon Flash/Edge Red, Carbon Flash/Edge Yellow and Carbon Flash/Midnight Silver.

A new, available full length dual racing stripe package comes in blue, orange, red, and yellow.

Buyers will be able to get the 2021 Chevy with Magnetic Selective Ride Control without having to get the Z51 package.

There is driver mode on-screen visualization and new track digital tachometer.

Buck To Drive, a safety technology that Chevrolet says, "can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of Park if the driver's seat belt is not buckled for up to 20 seconds; this feature is designed to help remind all drivers to buckle up before driving."

Chevrolet will continue to power the Corvette Stingray with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that is mated with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with manual and automatic modes. The car's drive mode selector allows the driver to switch into Tour, Sport, Track, Weather, MyMode, or Z Mode.

Visit your local dealership to place an order for a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette.

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Ford has revealed the silhouettes of the three models in the Bronco family.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has made it official. Not only will we see the Ford Bronco for the first time next Monday night, we'll see three Ford Broncos. That's right, the automaker is making two- and four-door versions of the heralded 4x4 SUV as well as the more lifestyle-focused Bronco Sport.

From the images Ford released, it's apparent that the two-door Bronco delivers a different flavor than the four-door, rather than just being a shortened model. The two-door 2021 Ford Bronco is shown without its two front doors and what appears to be a soft top style roof. Its blunt front end and silhouette are reminiscent of the original Bronco.

2021 Ford Bronco family Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The four-door model shown is what most Americans likely think of as the traditional Bronco. It is squared off and upright with flared fenders, a spare wheel out back, hard top, and a blunt front smiler to the two-door version.

We've already seen the headlights and sides of the Bronco as part of Instagram teasers the company released last week.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport sits on the same platform as the 2020 Ford Escape. Its interior is designed with a rugged yet comfortable lifestyle in mind. Because of its production mate, the Bronco Sport is likely to not be as capable as the two- or four-door Bronco.

With these images, Ford makes it clear that Bronco has the Jeep Wrangler firmly in its sights. While the two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Sahara match up size-wise with the Bronco, the Bronco Sport is more the size of the Jeep Cherokee. Whether or not there is enough room in America's hearts for all the models remains to be seen.

The debut of the Bronco is slated for July 13 at 8 p.m. Click here to see all the ways to watch it alongside AutomotiveMap. Then, plan on coming back to AutomotiveMap for full model coverage, just like we did with redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 two weeks ago.

Bronco fans can reserve their Bronco model for $100 each, starting Monday, July 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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