- #10 Volkswagen Tiguan
- Perhaps the most well known gibberish car name on the market today, the Volkswagen Tiguan got its meaningless name from a marketing promotion. German publication giant Auto Bild allowed readers of its various magazines and websites to vote on the CUV's new name, and Tiguan, which is a combination of the German words Tiger ("tiger") and Leguan ("iguana"), won. Other names in the running were Namib, Rockton, Samun and Nanuk, which all sound equally gibberish to us.
- #9 Nissan Xterra
- It's easy pick on the name of Nissan's small SUV because it combines "terra" from the well known Latin phrase "Terra Firma" (solid earth) with a single letter that is supposed to signify the generation of people born between 1965 and 1981. Combining Generation X with Terra Firma gets you the image of a hip SUV that can go anywhere on Earth. The Xterra can go a lot of places, but in a dictionary is not one of them.
- #7 Hyundai Azera
- Hyundai uses a lot of gibberish names, but the Azera large sedan is the most perplexing. Did this Korean automaker really want its flagship front-wheel-drive sedan to sound like prescription strength allergy relief medicine? If you look closely at print ads for the Azera, you might notice the fine print reads, "The best non-drowsy relief for your most severe allergy symptoms. Use only as directed. May cause cramps, sudden loss of blood pressure, internal bleeding, dyslexia, and, in extreme conditions, an enjoyable driving experience.
- #5 Saturn Vue
- We know why Saturn chose Vue as the name of its soft-roading SUV - it sounds like "view" but is spelled in a more snazzy, non-conformist sort of way. It's a meaningless homophone designed to trick you into thinking that this Saturn will afford you views of the world to which otherwise you would not be privy. [Hint: It doesn't.] In fact, many companies around the world use the gibberish word VUE in their name, and we could find only one thing in reality that might actually be associated with this word: a clan name of the Hmong people, an Asian ethnic group in the mountainous regions of Southern China. Now when you think of the Saturn Vue, you'll think of indigenous Chinese clans instead of spectacular vistas.
- #3 Toyota Camry
- The Camry's name sounds like it could be a real word, but that's likely because it's so ubiquitous in our culture that nobody really thinks about. We're told Toyota came up with it by using an English phonetic spelling of the word 'kanmuri', which means "crown" in Japanese. The Toyota Crown is a full-size luxury sedan and anchor of the automaker's lineup in Japan where it's been on sale since 1955. Also, the Corolla and Corona trace their names back to Latin words for "crown". Still, the word 'camry' didn't mean anything until Toyota slapped it on a vanilla mid-size sedan with impeccable build quality.
- #1 Toyota Venza
- Our final gibberish car name is a doozy and will soon arrive in the U.S. affixed to Toyota's latest CUV/Wagon/MPV thingamabobber. While attending the first media drive for the Venza, Toyota reps recently told us that the vehicle's name is a combination of 'venture', which is indicative of the forward-thinking folks who will buy it, and 'Monza', the track in Italy, which represents driving excitement. Seriously, Toyota? We could give you the association with 'venture', though Chevy still owns the copyright on that word having used it on a now defunct minivan. But Monza? The Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit that hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix? We would sooner associate the drop off curb at a multiplex with this vehicle than an internationally renowned motorsports course.