Chicago—December 22, 2009—Cars.com's editors spend a lot of time talking about the merits and pitfalls of how a vehicle performs, what it looks like and if they would ultimately want to drive home in the vehicle. While looking back at the end of another year, our editors realized that there were a lot of terribly named cars in their collective history as reviewers.
"There's a lot of talk about the importance of first impressions," says Patrick Olsen, Cars.com editor in chief. "Sometimes, as vehicle reviewers, our first impressions are formed when we hear the name of a vehicle. This list shows that those impressions aren't always good."
Below are 10 vehicles from the past 30 years with names Cars.com editors find so awful and awkward that they are surprised consumers gave them a shot. This list is based solely on the car's name and has nothing to do with the car's actual merits.
Top 10 Worst Car Names
10. The Entire Lincoln Lineup
Lincoln is a brand with a considerable history, and we know they know how to give cars strong iconic names such as Continental or Navigator. Somewhere around 2007, many of those easy-to-remember names went out the window, leaving consumers with a hodgepodge of names starting with "MK." That's a shame because Lincoln has a strong lineup right now. What's the difference between the MKZ, MKX and MKS? Gimme a second to look it up because I honestly can't remember which is which.
9. Hyundai Equus
The inclusion of the Equus might be premature considering it's not even on sale yet, but this could be the push Hyundai needs to give the car a proper name before it's released. Companies occasionally give Latin names to products to make them sound sophisticated or fancy, but Equus just makes us think of the Broadway play of the same name -- most recently starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame -- where a young man loves horses a little too much.
8. Toyota Yaris
There was a girl in my dorm freshman year who organized her shoes alphabetically by mood. She majored in dead languages and responded to every single question with "no worries." She once set the dorm microwave on fire by overcooking a ham-and-cheese Hot Pocket. Yes, that story is ridiculous and nonsensical ... sort of like naming a car Yaris.
7. Kia Forte Koup
As writers, we're particularly offended when companies take liberties with the English language in an effort to be cutesy -- and this is no exception. We actually like this car! But Kia is asking us to overlook years of schooling and experience to accept their quirky spelling of coupe. It might require a few sessions with a therapist before we can get to that happy place.
6. Subaru B9 Tribeca
Here we've got a family crossover named after a fashionable neighborhood in lower Manhattan and ... a World War II bomber? Consumers didn't understand the B9 moniker either; that part of the name got the ax when Subaru redesigned the SUV for the 2008 model year.
5. Volkswagen Touareg
A few Volkswagens could've made this list, but the Touareg was easily the name that tripped up our American mouths the most. Early Touareg commercials in the U.S. even depicted people struggling to say the name. When an automaker has to spend precious time and ad dollars helping consumers learn to pronounce the car's name -- something is wrong.
4. Ford Probe
There are many borderline inappropriate jokes you could make about a 1990s sport compact named Probe, but we're far too classy for that. Even if you don't take into account the tasteless jokes, this is just a bad car name. There is nothing cool about a probe (the word, not the car). What thesaurus was Ford using where probe was synonymous with sleek and sporty?
3. Subaru Brat
Although Brat is technically an acronym -- it stands for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter -- it's a particularly unfortunate one. "Brat" is almost never used to describe something positively. A brat is not a calm, confident driver who knows what he wants and how to get it. A brat is busy throwing a hissy fit in the corner because his mom won't let him borrow the car to go buy the new Styx album.
2. Isuzu VehiCROSS
Isuzu deserves a little credit for creating an attention-grabbing crossover before it was even a recognized vehicle segment, but the name practically beats consumers over the head with the idea (think SUV plus a cross-training sneaker). Add to that the unnecessary capitalization and the fact that VehiCROSS is a mouthful, and you have one bad name.
1. Ford Aspire
It's pretty safe to say that many drivers' dream cars fall under the category of sports car or luxury auto; few children hope to one day spend their commuting hours behind the wheel of a 63-horsepower subcompact hatchback. When Ford slapped the Aspire name on the back of this car, they were basically saying: "Yeah, even our car knows you wish you were driving something cooler."
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