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Behold the world’s worst car names of all time

By Chris Thompson and Alex Inwood, 22 Apr 2020 Features

Worst Car Names Ever feature

Our compilation of the least thought-out badges in automotive history

Over the years, staff at MOTOR, Wheels, and WhichCar have compiled various lists, both for publication and amusement, of some of the world’s worst car names.

We’ve popped them all into one place for you to browse in bewilderment, enjoy!

Honda Vamos Hobio Travel Dog

Honda’s 2003, three-cylinder micro-van was trumpeted as the world’s first dog-friendly small utility vehicle. In hindsight, it’s probably no surprise it was also the world’s last.

Audi e-Tron

Sounds brassy and tough and futuristic... is what Audi confidently decreed when it named its 2009 electric concept supercar. But while they were high fiving over a celebratory bratwurst, the name was really hitting the fan in France. “e-Tron” is French for excrement.

Mitsubishi Mum 500 Shall We Join Us

When Lamborghini runs out of heroic bulls after which to knight its new supercars, it could learn a thing or two from this three-cylinder Mitsubishi micro-car. Rolls right off the tongue.

Honda Life Dunk

In 2000, Honda launched its oddly named Life Dunk. Sold in Japan, though it was zippy thanks to an itty-bitty turbo, its name suggests it would drain you of joy and make you miserable. A bit like Melbourne’s weather...

Related: Kei Cars - Japan's coolest pocket monsters

Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

The only thing mysterious about this ’90s soft-roader was the unidentified substances being consumed by Isuzu’s marketing people. Thank Holden it was called the Frontera here.

Geely Beauty Leopard

In 2003 Chinese car giant Geely launched the Beauty Leopard: a car neither beautiful, nor a leopard. It had a 1.3-litre Toyota engine and, catering to the suicidal, would do 180km/h. Outside of China, it’s famed for being the first car with a built-in karaoke machine. Seriously.

Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal

Succinctness has clearly never been a strength of Mitsubishi’s product naming department – the Active Urban Sandal does also sound like its’ coming soon to a Lululemon store near you. Though it never got past the concept car stage (that’s a shame), the electric, no-frills MAUS was 1995’s answer to the Smart ForTwo.

Mazda Titan Dump

Sure, it’s not a car, but even a Commodore Sportwagon with the rear seats folded down wouldn’t have the space to carry, well, a titan dump, whatever that is. So Mazda created its Titan Dump light truck with a generously-appointed tray, for Metamucil enthusiasts.

Mazda Bongo Brawny Van

Apart from its name, there’s nothing even remotely ‘brawny’ about this Mazda tradie van. The Brawny Van was a long wheelbase version of the weirdly named Bongo, which thankfully was renamed ‘Econovan’ by Ford when it was sold in Australia.

Related: The best cars to take a nap in

Ford Probe

Who ever thought this was a good idea?

Subaru Brat

It's the Brumby, which is a cool name for a car that has aged well and gained a little cult following. But the overseas version, albeit still cool, is named after a petulant child. It also had two rear-facing plastic seats in the tub. Hideously unsafe.

 Related: The best and worst tiny utes

Dodge Dart Swinger

The Dart is a good thing – our mates at Street Machine and Unique Cars even gave one away a few years ago, but this variant’s name is, uh. Look, you might want to sanitise its keys – who knows how many bowls they’ve been in.

Mitsubishi Pajero

A fine off-roader and a fine name for English-speakers, but plenty of people are blissfully unaware that, in Spanish, this car is essentially called the Mistubishi Wanker or Jerk. Don’t go asking to rent a Pajero if you visit Mexico.

Related: Pajero Safari Rally review

Mazda LaPuta

Again, one not to ask to hire in a Spanish-speaking nation. LaPuta means 'the whore' or 'the prostitute'.

Ford Escort

This one works in English.

Studebaker Dictator

Back in 1927 being a dictator was a good thing, apparently. A few people have since made it clear (and some continue to) that we shouldn’t be particularly fond of dictators.

Related: The cars of history's infamous dicators

Renault LeCar

‘Can you go move The Car into the driveway?’ ‘Which car?’ ‘The Car!’ ‘But which one?!’

Ferrari LaFerrari

‘Can you go move The Ferrari into the driveway?’ ‘Which Ferrari?’ ‘The Ferrari The Ferrari!’ ‘But which one?!’

MOTOR review: LaFerrari

Ford Ka

‘Can you go move the Ka…’ Oh bugger off.

Worthy Watch: Barra-powered Ka

Gaylord Gladiator

Built by the Gaylord brothers as a concept for the 1955 Salon de Paris show, the V8-powered Gladiator was an ultra-luxurious coupe with an ultra-terrifying price tag. It was never mass produced.

Mitsubishi Pistachio

Not only is the name a bit nuts, the colour it’s drawn from perhaps wasn’t the best hue of choice either.

Daihatsu Naked

This would make more sense had the car been designed with more of its internals visible, like a naked motorbike. We’re concerned Daihatsu might’ve had something else in mind.

Mitsubishi Minica Winky

Proudly displayed on Mitsubishi's stand at the 1985 Tokyo Motor Show was a microcar called the Minica Winky. Nudgy-nudgy.

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo 10 Years Edition

Sorry, just let me catch my breath.

 MOTOR review: Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

Mitsubishi Minica Lettuce

We have to wonder what other leaves the executives had on hand when they decided this version of the Minica should be named after a salad base.

Buick LaCrosse

Not only was it weird to name the car after a sport and change the capitalisations, but ‘lacrosse’ means to 'pleasure yourself' in Canadian French slang.

Ford Pinto

While ‘Pinto’ isn’t technically so bad in Portugese, as it means ‘baby chicken’ or ‘chick’, it is used as slang for 'small male genitalia' in Brazil. Much the same way roosters are called cocks in English…

Isuzu Bighorn Plaisir

In Europe, Isuzu called this car the Trooper. Boring! Japanese buyers had the pleasure of calling it, much more temptingly, the Bighorn Plaisir. If the idea of a Bighorn Plaisir Long gets you breaking into a sweat, Izusu also made a Plaisir Short as well.

Toyota Chaser Avante Lordly

Reminiscent of something out of Benny Hill, the Chaser Avante Lordly was included in Toyota's 1998 catalogue of models in its homeland. It wasn't sold in the UK. I wonder why?

Mitsubishi Toppo Big Joy Guppy

Brilliant. Mitsubishi invents a car with a high roof and calls it Toppo. By adding the word Guppy after it, Mitsubishi then cornered the market in cars for fish who wear top hats. The car is also referred to as the Toppo BJ, the letters for ‘Big Joy’. Indeed.

Toyota Town Ace Windy

In 1983, years before Renault inflicted its Wind (phnarr phnarr) on an unsuspecting world, Toyota actually created something worse: the Windy - an open-topped version of the Town Ace van. Strangely, it never made production.

Honda Integra Hi-Glad Style

No one would question that 'Integra' is quite a cool name. It was even quite a cool car. Then Honda went and spoiled it all by creating a version that sounded like some 1990s nightclub drug.

 MOTOR feature: Meet the four-door Integra Type-R you didn't know exists

Changan Benni Love

China has its own Benny Hill-referencing car. Perhaps Changan's car naming department ate some contaminated fish: they were also responsible for the wonderfully named River Sturgeon.

Peugeot Bipper Tepee Outdoor

Easily one of the most preposterous car names comes from the Peugeot stable. Bipper? Tepee? Outdoor? Each one of those names is terrible on its own. But all three together? Someone got paid to come up with that.

Mercedes-Benz Vaneo

Vaneo is a pretty terrible name for a car trying to hide its van origins. The clue's in the name! Even worse, if you ordered your Vaneo in Ambiente trim with the optional Dog pack, you would then become the proud owner of a Vaneo Ambiente Dog. Woof!

Kia Pro_cee'd

Not only a sub-editor’s nightmare, but also really quite annoying to write out or type. Later, it was just changed to Proceed.

MOTOR review: ProCeed GT