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Laura Henley

Laura Henley

Laura is a Digital Copywriter in our (award-winning) marketing team, tasked with keeping you up to date with all the latest industry news and gossip. With a wealth of experience under her belt, there's no one better to keep you entertained and informed.

Read time of 6 minutes.

10 cool car names and where they came from.

A car's name can either make it or break it.

Nothing sticks in your mind more than a car’s name.

And you probably don’t realise but it can leave a lasting impression.

A car’s name is often heavily influenced by its looks, its personality, the manufacturer’s history and the market it will be sold in.

We’ve taken a look at 10 of the coolest car names and the interesting stories behind them.

If you like the sound of any of the following cars for your next car lease, get in contact with one of our leasing consultants for more information.

ORA Funky Cat

ORA Funky Cat? Why not!

The quirky-looking Funky Cat is probably the most bizarre (but cool) car name on this list and is definitely a brave choice for a debut car in the UK market.

With a Lightning Cat and a Punk Cat already on sale in China, someone obviously loves cats.

ORA wants the Funky Cat to not only be your next car, but your future friend. Designed to be warm and characterful, ORA hopes the Funky Cat will be the perfect “car-panion”.

And the Funky Cat is certainly that.

Many are fans of the animal-like looks of the Funky Cat. Its round, puppy-eye lights create an adorable front-end. While the stylish cabin has a bold look, is crammed with technology and is incredibly cosy.

Bringing something a little different to the electric car industry, the name perfectly complements and provides a sense of fun and personality to this extraordinary electric hatchback.

Unfortunately, for fans of cars with 'out there' names, as of January 2024 the ORA Funky Cat has become the considerably more low-key 03. Same great model, new and FAR less exciting name.

But we're keeping it on this list in honour of its origins!

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Flying Spur

The Bentley car badge itself screams class and illustrious history.

The crafters of the Bentley, H.J. Mulliner’s Managing Director, Arthur Talbot Johnstone named the luxury four-door himself. The phrase “flying spur” is directly related to the British heraldic symbol of the Johnstone Clan in Scotland.

First produced in 1958, the original Flying Spur was christened as the S1 Continental Flying Spur and was designed to be elegant, extraordinary and to outpace the rivals of its time. Eventually, it evolved to just the Flying Spur to differentiate it from the Continental GT.

Transformed over years by Bentley’s constant development and application of cutting-edge technology and exquisite craftsmanship, the Flying Spur has become one of the finest super-luxury cars of all time.

With an exhilarating performance and British craftsmanship, the Flying Spur embodies the true spirit of the name.

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai is famous for its unique name too.

Many believed the Nissan Qashqai wouldn’t sell because of its name being difficult to pronounce, but now known for being a best-seller in Europe, they couldn’t have been more wrong.

The name Qashqai is derived from the tribe of Turkish nomads, who today live a traditional life. In fact, they are known for their beautiful carpets and wool weaving skills.

However, the Qashqai once were fierce warriors which suggests Nissan wanted to personify the Qashqai’s strong and brave looks. According to Nissan, they wanted to pick up on the nomadic nature of the Qashqai people. Their adventurous spirit is something that Nissan believed that drivers would similarly embrace too.

Despite being a popular car in Europe and Asia, the Qashqai name is apparently too exotic for the US automotive market, where it’s sold as the Nissan Rogue Sport.

Cupra Formentor

CUPRA Formentor

In SUV coupe form, the CUPRA Formentor brings together the all-terrain attributes of an SUV and the sporty essences of a hatchback.

But where does Formentor come from you ask?

If you think it’s something to do with the process of brewing your own beer, then you’d be very wrong.

The Formentor was the very first model that was designed exclusively for CUPRA.

‘Cape Formentor’ is a northern peninsula on the island of Majorca and is recognition to CUPRA’s Spanish heritage.

The landscape is considered to be one of the most beautiful and wild areas in the Balearics and its these attributes that lend themselves to the CUPRA Formentor’s character.

So remember all this when someone asks you what CUPRA car you have, because Formentor isn’t actually displayed anywhere on or inside the car. Weird.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan

You’ve probably been pronouncing it as it’s spelt: tay-can, but it’s actually pronounced as tie-khan.

The Taycan was Porsche’s first all-electric car.

A blend of two Turkish terms, Taycan roughly translates to ‘soul of a spirited young horse’ and the Porsche Taycan is exactly that – lively, powerful and free-spirited.

It’s also a nod to the prancing horse on the Porsche emblem. As well as a reflection of the future of the car brand: the horse is on its way to a new era for the sports car.

Porsche said that the Japanese translation of ‘taikan’ is ‘physical experience’ which correlates with the wild nature of the car, its power, and stamina. This also helped them solidify the naming process.

Soul of a spirited young horse? We can see Porsche’s logic.

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender

James Bond has driven one, Queen Elizabeth II had one and Sir David Attenborough uses one. It’s the ultimate iconic British car.

I think we can all see why Land Rover called this SUV the Defender with its tough, capable, and unstoppable personality.

Designed to ‘rove the land, regardless of conditions’, the ever-popular Land Rover Defender has survived decades thanks to its timeless design. Famed for its off-roading capabilities, towing capacity and wading ability, a Land Rover lease is a neat bit of kit.

Formerly just a Land Rover, the new name came into use in 1991 to distinguish it from the Land Rover Discovery. The trade name ‘Defender’ was originally owned by another vehicle manufacturer, but Land Rover eventually acquired rights after paying an undisclosed price.

And the rest is history.

Hyundai Ioniq

The name Ioniq is a combination of the two words: ion and unique.

The ion is to do with generating energy with electric power and unique represents Hyundai’s originality and brilliance.

The Hyundai Ioniq was Hyundai’s first attempt at a pure electric car. Reborn to be an EV-dedicated sub-brand, Ioniq hopes to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle and is full of innovation.

Aiming to incorporate new technologies to captivate every journey, the Ioniq brand hopes to transform vehicles into living spaces beyond the means of transportation.

The Hyundai Ioniq generally looks like a normal car but both the exterior and interior design of the newer Ioniq models, like the Ioniq 5, have a future-oriented design, creating an original and contemporary look, highlighting Hyundai’s unique design element for the Ioniq brand.

If you like the sound of the Ioniq brand, take a look at some of our best Hyundai lease deals now.

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

Is it a horse, a plane or a car?

Everyone knows the look of a Ford Mustang so well that some of the latest models don’t even have the Ford logo on them.

So how did the famous Ford Mustang get its name?

Despite being the perfect emblem, a running horse may have nothing to do with the inspiration behind the Mustang brand. But there have been a dozen theories around a horse influence.

Ford has never confirmed where the name came from, but it is most likely that it gets its name from the WWII aircraft: the P-51 Mustang. John Najjar, one of the designer’s involved in the Mustang project, was a huge fan of the famed WWII fighter plane and pitched the name to Ford.

The higher committee were not keen at first and underwent many heated discussions before coming to a decision.

So there you have it. Difficult to imagine it being called anything else, the Ford Mustang’s name is a real icon.

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati has an established tradition of naming their cars after famous winds.

Ghibli is the Libyan Arabic name for the Sirocco, which is a Mediterranean wind that can move huge quantities of red sand and even reach hurricane speeds in North Africa.

The Ghibli wind can completely change and renew an entire landscape.

The Maserati Ghibli was unveiled in 1966 at a motor show to display a new supercar that had extreme and dramatic styling by Giorgietto Giugiaro, an Italian automotive designer.

Its striking appearance is considered one of Giugiaro’s most beautiful designs and its name goes perfectly with Maserati’s decision to change their less ostentatious design and style.

The Maserati Ghibli could be thought of as a perfect storm of design, handling, and horsepower.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Rome Giulia

Alfa Romeo have never revealed where the name Giulia originates from but there are a few theories.

It’s a girl’s name in Italian and Alfa Romeo are a proud Italian brand so it’s possible that they named it after a famous individual. One main tale is that the model is named after the Italian director, Federico Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina. 

Giulia also translates to youthful which suggests it’s a stylish and more appealing model. Definitely a head turner, the Alfa Romeo Giulia delivers the ultimate driving experience, bringing together a hot-blooded performance and passionate design.

Another rumour is that it was named after the romantic story of Romeo and Juliet. The Romeo comes with Alfa Romeo and so the Giulia coming from Juliet makes some sense.

Regardless of the inspiration behind the name, the beautiful Giulia is a real heart breaker.