Best car colours

Car colours: the best, the most popular, and why you should care

BuyaCar team
Jun 4, 2020

Picking the colour for your car might just be the second most important decision in the car buying process. Of course, picking the right car for you is the most important, but as much as we hate to admit it, the colour comes a pretty close second.

After all, you’ve got to look at it every day. Your car is waiting for you when you wake up in the morning, when you finish work, and it's still sat there waiting for you in the carpark when you’re doing your weekly shop.

Firstly, you’ve got to pick a colour you like which suits the car. It’s worth going on the manufacturer websites and going through their online configurators. These let you select your car, and see it in all the different colour combinations instantly.

Of course, colour trends change sharply over the years, so you've got to pick something you'll still like in three or four years time.

Did you know that the most popular car colour of 1996 was actually green? It’s amazing to think that in 2017, green cars made up just 1.1 per cent of new cars registered here in the UK.

The 10 most popular UK car colours of 2017

And yes, we’re well aware that some people would insist that the top three aren’t colours, but shades.


Black is back as the most registered car colour after a five year hiatus from the top spot. 515,970 cars were registered in this colour (or shade) - that’s more than one fifth of all cars registered in 2017.


Grey is now the nation’s second favourite, as monochrome colours continue to dominate the market with almost 60% of the 2.54 million new cars registered in 2017 ordered in black, grey or white.


Which brings us nicely on to white. It was the most popular color between 2013 and 2016, and was especially popular among people who appreciate four-wheel-drives. It does show up dirt worse than any other colour though.


Another former best seller (1997-1999), it is now the only primary colour to feature in the top five, with red falling one place to sixth in favour of silver.


The default colour for most cars has actually lost 0.1 per cent market share in comparison with 2016 - however, it still holds 10 per cent of the market today.


Red has fallen out of the top five, as it now makes up less than one in 10 registrations. It’s the second biggest faller, right behind white.


1996’s most popular colour is lurking down in seventh these days. It’s showing no signs of returning to its former glory either, as red had nine times the amount of registrations in comparison.


More buyers than ever before are choosing orange. Don’t get us wrong - it’s still a niche choice - only 19,064 cars were registered in this colour. But still, demand was up 9.4 per cent year on year.


Welcome back Bronze! This hue has re-entered the top 10 for the first time since 2011, replacing Brown, demand falling by 33.2 per cent. Remember when Mercedes-Benz and Renault  had great browns?


Predictably, yellow has never featured in the top five. But it has managed to cling on to 10th place, despite demand for the colour decreasing by 17.1 per cent on the previous year.


Best car colour for resale value
In general, plain colours, like the ones in the top five of the above list, hold their value better because more people are likely to buy them. This means that they have a broader appeal when you’re trying to sell your car on.

You might think that resale value is irrelevant if you’re using financing rather than buying a car outright. But you might well be wrong. PCP may guarantee the new buyer a future price for their car at the end of the term.

But it might not be as simple as that for customers who, at the end of the contract, try to part-exchange their extravagantly coloured motor for a new one.

Philip Nothard, retail and consumer specialist at Cap HPI, a vehicle research company, said: ‘Car makers have got better at creating attractive car and colour combinations but there are still some poor ones that dealers need to take account of when valuing PCP part-exchanges.

'Dealers need to start taking account of the effect a poor colour has on the car’s future appeal and saleability, and factor that in when considering how much money over and above the car’s contracted value they are prepared to offer customers.’

This means that while you are guaranteed a price for your old car under the terms of a PCP deal, the additional allowance a dealer may offer to win your business on its replacement may be reduced if the dealer thinks its colour will affect their chances of selling it on.

Best car colours for small cars
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And some small cars, as with all cars, suit some colours better than others. White is losing sales, and on some small cars, it can make them look a bit like electrical appliances. Whereas black is a muscular colour that can add some oomph to an otherwise miniscule car.

Bright colours are making a comeback on small cars too. The Toyota Aygo really suits Orange Twist, and the new Renault Zoe looks sublime in Purple Blackberry.

Best car colour for big cars
Once again, there’s no definitive answer for this. However there are two main streams of thought with this one. Buy a colour that is easy to clean. Big cars take longer to clean. Therefore, if you like to wash your own car, it might be advantageous to buy a colour that’s easy to clean. White and Silver are generally easy to clean.

On the other hand, white car sales are down. And white big cars, like Range Rovers, are now considered, somewhat last year. Plus, some would argue that big cars deserve to be dirty and look better for it. If you’re one of these people, we recommend a navy blue.

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