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Choosing the colour of your car

All you need to know about car colour

Compared with engine spec and extras, colour is hardly a crucial decision when you're buying a car. But your choices can affect the price when you come to sell it on.

A mere 1% of men and 3% of women drivers say colour's important when choosing a new car, according to AA research.

Colour Matters

You may think the colour of your car's neither here nor there. But if you choose the wrong colour, you might not get the best price when you come to sell it on.

Metallic Metallic paint has been the most popular optional extra on new cars for the last 10 years. Not only does it look good, it can benefit your pocket in the long run, too.

If it costs you £500 for a metallic finish, your car may well be worth £2,000 more than a model with a flat finish, one year down the line, according to Glass's Information Services.

With sports cars and convertibles, the return on investment is even greater. A metallic version may be worth up to £4,000 more than models with a flat finish, one year on.

Finish aside, there are some colours that you need to steer away from, while others really last the distance.

Silver Machine

Henry Ford famously offered the Model T in 'any colour so long as it's black'.
Quotes graphic With sports cars, a metallic version may be worth up to £4,000 more than models with a flat finish, one year on. Quotes graphic

Today, you can get virtually any colour, but look around a car park and you'll realise we're still rather conservative in our tastes.

Blue, red and silver AA research shows that six out of ten new cars are blue, red or silver. Only one in ten of us choose green or white, while only one in a hundred choose yellow, turquoise and pink.

And because we're conservative about colour, the manufacturers are, too. Blue, red and silver are a safe bet for them. In fact, many car manufacturers now offer up to four shades of silver on each model, to ensure the colour's continued popularity.

You can get other colours of course, but you'll probably have to wait. If you can have the silver car in a week or the yellow in three months, which would you take?

We just can't break the routine of choosing blue, red and silver.

Top 10 Colours for Cars

  1. Blue
  2. Red
  3. Silver
  4. Green
  5. White
  6. Black
  7. Grey
  8. Gold
  9. Mauve
  10. Yellow
Source: the AA

Colour and Design

Certain makes of car look best in a certain colour, and picking the wrong one could make the car harder to sell. A Ferrari in any colour other than red may be less desirable.

Think about these colours: white is ok for delivery vans and police cars, but does it look right on a sports car? Bright colours suit sports cars and hot hatches, but do they look as good on executive cars, where silver or black is usually the colour of choice?

A new model will look smarter in certain colours than others in the range. When designing the car, the manufacturer may have had a particular colour in mind. Try it for yourself. Pick a common model and keep an eye out for different coloured examples in car parks or on motorways. You'll soon see what we mean.

Trim colour Another aspect to look at is the colour of the trim. On a car with a dark body colour, a light-coloured trim may look smart, but it might not be so practical if your car's at the mercy of family wear and tear.
Quotes graphic White is ok for delivery vans and police cars, but does it look right on a sports car? Quotes graphic

It's a Steal

Want to know if some colour cars are more likely to get stolen? There's no strong link between car colour and theft.

A 1998 AA survey found that red and blue cars were the most popular target for thieves. Blue and red also happen to be the most popular colours on the road though.

Used cars If you're buying a used car, check the colour matches the description on the registration document. Any changes in shade from panel to panel may indicate accident damage. See our tips on buying a used car in 'Tips for buying used'.

Which Colour is Safest?

We can't say that one colour's safer on the road than any other.

Studies have looked for links between colour and accident rate, to see if it's possible to prove that certain colours are more visible – and therefore safer – than others.

A study in New Zealand looked at the effect of car colour and the risk of injury in a crash, and suggested that silver is the safest colour. The study was published in the British Medical Journal in 2003.

But there are so many factors involved in an accident that it's impossible to be certain. The result could be influenced by the type of driver that typically buys a silver car, the driving conditions or the safety equipment fitted.


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