The Worst Car Names: 2017 Tournament Finals

91_Hyundai_Scoupe_01_OEM.jpg 1991 Hyundai Scoupe | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — Lots of cars have bad names. They may be great cars to drive, have luxurious interiors, or be rolling works of art, but they’ve still been burdened by horrendous monikers.

Related: March Madness: Top Cars for Tall People

For the sake of this contest, we’ve cut out the bad-but-boring names given to the likes of Infinitis, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes. Their (constantly changing) alphanumeric names aren’t good — and are getting more and more confusing — but they’re also safe and familiar. We’ve narrowed the worst names given to cars sold in America to four and had them duke it out in a single-elimination, bracket-based contest, because that’s how arguments are always settled in March.


Edsel Regional

Ford Probe

97_Ford_Probe_OEM_01.jpg 1997 Ford Probe | Manufacturer image

Dodge Nitro

10_Dodge_Nitro_IM.jpg 2010 Dodge Nitro | photo by Ian Merritt

The Ford Probe was a coupe sold from 1989 to 1997, amazing longevity given the sheer creepiness of the name. Is that the fault of our own minds? Or “South Park“? Either way, it’s awful.

The Dodge Nitro, on the other hand, is a name that evokes peak ’90s nostalgia. Look at this trading card (and check out other highlights from the set here). It’s belle epoque-’90s combined with a pun designed to make its audience angry. Trim levels included names like Heat, Shock and Detonator.

In this matchup, though, creepiness trumps nostalgia and the Probe advances.

Lynx Regional

Hyundai Scoupe

91_Hyundai_Scoupe_01_OEM.jpg 1991 Hyundai Scoupe | Manufacturer image

Volkswagen Tiguan

17Volkswagen_Tiguan_AC_01.jpg 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan; | photo by Angela Conners

Volkswagen says Tiguan was the winner of a German publication’s naming contest and is a portmanteau of “Tiger” and “Iguana.” I’m convinced this is the earliest example of Boaty McBoatface-style automotive trolling. A tiger-iguana hybrid is horrifying to look at (Volkswagen was kind enough to make a commercial displaying one) and would upset even Dr. Moreau.

The Scoupe was sold all over the world and known everywhere but the U.S. as the S Coupé. That name is fine but boring. Combining them? Very bad and dumb. It’s mind-boggling that a manufacturer would let a vehicle share a name with … a hood scoop? An ice cream scoop?

The Scoupe takes it.


Ford Probe
Hyundai Scoupe

Ultimately, “Probe” is just too terrible a name. It’s the “moist” of exploration terms. Hearing someone say it makes your hairs stand on end and sends a little shiver down your spine. Probe. Ugh.

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