February 24, 2024

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Best Car Colors for 2023-24

7 min read
Best Car ColorsBest Car Colors

Quick Facts About Car Colors

In the world of best car colors, you can count on the old standbys that never go out of style.

White, Black, Gray, and Silver continue to top the list of best colors for cars. Based on consumer choice, these car colors jockey for position like a herd of thoroughbreds. But does color matter?

Kelley Blue Book takes a look. We ask the experts about the best car colors and look deeper at resale value. We also look at what futurists say about car colors for the next few years.

Car Colors and Resale Value

So, you might ask, “Does color matter?” Like many vehicle features, color plays a role in determining the residual value of your car.

Today’s popular car color will probably make your vehicle more popular to buyers in five years. But as color trends change, there is a chance the color you select today might not remain at the top of the charts.

Blame that on changing trends, the current economy, and other factors. But playing it safe regarding color choice could help your bottom line when it comes time to sell your car.

Sometimes, choosing the “wrong” color could cause your vehicle’s depreciation. How much depreciation will your car see? That depends on several factors ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

RELATED: Matte Car Paint: Is The Look Worth The Hassle?

For instance, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C8 was introduced in 2020 in a bright orange metallic color known as “Sebring Orange Tintcoat.” It will likely retain value as a color denoting the debut of a new Corvette generation.

On the other hand, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata featured “Glowing Yellow” as one of its colors. Brighter than bright, it may not find favor on the new and even the pre-owned market if you are not a “look-at-me” type of driver.

Sticking to neutral colors like white, black, gray, and silver is the safest bet. But if you feel inclined to expand your palette, remember that bright blue, yellow, orange, or purple vehicles could put you at a disadvantage when selling or trading in your car. 

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Top Car Colors

In BASF’s 2023-2024 Automotive Color Trends report, experts predict trends for the top car colors for the next several model years. In North America, the experts decided the nation needed a color overhaul focusing on lighter shades. The report states, “The classic automobile color wheel has had its day.” As a result, BASF experts came up with:

Zenomenon

Car-Color-Trends-2023-2024Car-Color-Trends-2023-2024

“In this year’s collection, red-leaning pastels and mid-tones are replaced by restorative yellow and green effects, suggesting renewal,” said Liz Hoffman, BASF’s head of automotive design for the Americas. “The connection complements both grounded color spaces and otherworldly escapes. It shows evolving mindsets in automotive design.”

Industry, fashion, consumer products, nature, and more inspire experts.

In PPG’s most recent car color trend report, experts noted that gray had grown in popularity. It also said 2-tone paint treatments began coming into style. New finish techniques make them easier to mass-produce than in years past, lending a certain sophistication to vehicle design.

In addition to the rising popularity of grays, other colors from blues, greens, and violets seem to hit a high note with car shoppers. PPG experts at the time said the vibrant new colors were more likely to debut on sporty models than SUVs and pickups.

In the car color future, you may see more unusual treatments. For example, at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, BMW unveiled a car-color-changing concept vehicle dubbed the i Vision Dee. The body panels and wheels change color, though it’s anyone’s guess if those will make it to any upcoming models.

2022 Subaru Crosstrek near barn in white2022 Subaru Crosstrek near barn in white

In the latest PPG study, gray overtook white (which includes pearl and metallic) as the most popular color for SUVs. White is still the first choice of most shoppers buying a minivan or light truck, as has been the case for over 10 years. But gray is surging in all three categories.

SUVs

  1. Gray (25%)
  2. White (24%)
  3. Black (18.5%)
  4. Silver (11%)
  5. Blue (10%)
  6. Red (7.5%)
  7. Green (2.5%)
  8. Gold/Beige, Orange, and Brown (tied at 0.5%)

Minivans

  1. White (34%)
  2. Gray (23.5%)
  3. Silver (14.5%)
  4. Black (11%)
  5. Red (7.5%)
  6. Blue (7%)
  7. Green (2%)
  8. Brown (0.5%)

Pickup Trucks

  1. White (27%)
  2. Gray (21.5%)
  3. Black (17%)
  4. Silver (12.5%)
  5. Red (9.5%)
  6. Blue (6%)
  7. Brown (1%)
  8. Orange (tied at 0.5%)

White pearl and metallic overtook black as the color of choice for luxury vehicles two years ago, and that hasn’t changed this year. According to PPG’s report, it’s so popular that white is seen on nearly one-third (or 31.5%) of the new luxury cars on the road today. Brown and orange are now rare enough that they don’t even make the chart.

  1. White (31.5%)
  2. Black (25%)
  3. Gray (14%)
  4. Blue (11%)
  5. Silver (10.5%)
  6. Red (5%)
  7. Gold/Beige, Green (tied at 1%)

The same colors dominate in midsize passenger vehicles, including sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. In this category, white, in both solid and metallic, accounts for the most buyers at 21.5% in the report.

  1. White (21.5%)
  2. Gray (20.5%)
  3. Black, Blue (17%)
  4. Silver (16.5%)
  5. Red (5%)
  6. Beige/Gold (2%)
  7. Orange (0.5%)

Buyers tend to get more playful with the least-expensive cars on the market. White still wins this category, but candy-colored blues and reds are more common among small cars than any other segment.

  1. White (25%)
  2. Blue (21.5%)
  3. Gray (18.5%)
  4. Black (13%)
  5. Red, Silver (tied at 10%)
  6. Brown, Orange (tied at 1%)

Popular Colors for Convertibles and Coupes

Ford Mustang Coastal Edition ConvertibleFord Mustang Coastal Edition Convertible

Convertibles, coupes, and sports cars encompass everything from the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger to European luxury models and beyond. According to PPG statistics, black takes the lead in this category. White, dominant in other categories, slips among sportier cars. And while an orange sports car may sound strange, the Dodge Charger King Daytona hue has won over some buyers in the last call edition.

  1. Black (21%)
  2. Gray (tied at 19.5%)
  3. Blue (16%)
  4. White (14.5%)
  5. Red (12%)
  6. Silver (7%)
  7. Orange (4.5%)
  8. Green (3%)
  9. Brown (2%)
  10. Beige/Gold (0.5%)

As in fashion, some colors work better on certain vehicles than others. A small yellow convertible is much more desirable than a bright yellow or orange minivan.

Car Colors That are Hard and Easy to Maintain

Mini Cooper JCWMini Cooper JCW

Some cars look amazing in specific colors. However, this is the list to pay attention to and why some colors stay cleaner longer than others.

  • Black: Sleek black looks fantastic on almost any car. But the color is a double-edged sword. It looks best when fresh from the car wash. Give it a few minutes; it will likely be covered with pollen, dirt, and dust.
  • Gray: This color is easiest to clean, according to various studies. Dirt and dust can hide nicely on these surfaces and look cleaner for longer.
  • Silver: Like gray, silver hides dust and dirt longer. They also tend to hide mud buildup near the rocker panels of cars.
  • White: Also in the easy-to-care-for group is white. But this color shows mud and splashes easier than gray and silver. White, however, does hide swirl marks that result from automatic car washes, and this car color tends to look newer for longer.
  • Green: Who knew that green is easy to keep so clean? But the color shows imperfections more readily than gray, silver, and white.
  • Orange: This bright color commands attention and is easy to clean.
  • Yellow: This car color stands out on highways and other roads but not dust and pollen. Yellows easily hide those elements. However, yellows emphasize mud splashes when you drive in the rain.
  • Red: This flashy car color hides mud easier than other colors but becomes dull if dirty.
  • Blue: This color may be rising in popularity. It’s just harder to keep clean. Blues tend to show water spots easily. Scratches and swirl marks also appear quickly with this color.

Safest Car Colors

Some colors may be safer than others. Australia’s Monash University Research Centre once studied the relationship between color and crash risk. Its data come from Australian crashes, so they may not translate perfectly to the conditions of American roads. But their conclusions make sense. Their most recent report says white is the safest color.

Consider these safe car colors when buying your next car.

1. White: In a white vehicle, you would have a 12% lesser chance of accident involvement than a black vehicle in all types of weather and lighting.

2. Yellow: Drive in a yellow vehicle, and the car makes it easier for other drivers to spot them quickly. Yellow, though, doesn’t look good on all vehicles.

3. Orange: Driving in an orange vehicle reduces your accident risk. Since the color is not used on many cars, it stands out for its rarity as much as its high visibility.

4. Gold: Go for the gold because these vehicles also keep you safer. They tend to stand out for the same reason as orange.

Top 8 Colors for 2023-2024

Each year, Pantone puts out a list of popular colors. For 2023, Pantone’s Color of the Year is Viva Magenta, a rich red shade, though you may never see it on a car. Pantone calls it a “pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration.” There’s no trend report for 2024 just yet. However, check out PPG’s latest list of the top car colors in North America:

  1. Silver/Gray (34% – up 3%)
  2. White (24% – down 2%)
  3. Black (18% – down 1%)
  4. Blue (12% – up 2%)
  5. Red (7.5% – down 1.5%)
  6. Red (9%)
  7. Green (2%)
  8. Natural (1.5% – down 1%)
  9. Other, Two-Tone (1% – up 0.5%)

TIP: Use our Best Cars and Top 10 Lists to Find What You Want.

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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its publication.

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