Do you prefer to blend in or stand out? Are you seeing red, feeling blue, or simply, er, all-white? Your choice of car colour says a lot about your personality – and some shades are vastly more popular than others. Join us as we count down the UK’s most popular paint hues, as revealed by RAC Cars.
- Revealed: Britain’s favourite used cars and colours in 2016
- More car news on Motoring Research
Surprised to see brown in the top 10? You may associate this sludgy shade with the 1970s, when it adorned a million Cortinas and Cavaliers, but it has recently made a comeback. The DVLA has 169,656 brown cars on its records, making up 0.6% of all cars on UK roads. That’s a huge 84% increase since 2013. Some modern browns err towards gold or bronze, so full marks to this Volkswagen Caddy for its magnificently muddy hue.
Many of us have played ‘spot the yellow car’ on a long journey. But this bright, vibrant colour is more common than you might think. A total of 172,297 yellow cars are road-registered – about 0.6% of the overall mix. Unlike brown, however, yellow has declined in popularity: it’s down 0.3% since 2013. We love yellow on superminis, such as this Fiat 500, but think twice before ordering your company 3 Series to match. Yellow is not popular with upmarket car buyers (supercars being the notable exception), and could significantly reduce resale value.
Beige is another colour you might think belongs in the 1970s. However, you’d be wrong. This subtle shade adorns 0.8% of cars in the UK, or 235,683 to be precise. Interestingly, lighter ‘buff’ varieties of beige seem to be increasingly common on luxury cars, such as Bentleys and this Maserati Quattroporte. The overall number of beige cars has stayed static since 2013, but you’d expect beige buyers to be a consistent bunch, right?
We hear a lot about the increasing popularity of ‘green’ cars, although the term usually refers to fuel-efficiency and eco-friendliness, rather than paint colour. According to RAC Cars, the DVLA has more than a million green cars on its books – 1,066,496, fact fans – making up 3.5% of the total. That’s down 3% since 2013, putting green in seventh place. Don’t blame McLaren, though: its fluorescent Mantis Green is among the most popular colours for its 650S and 570S supercars.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is credited with popularising white again, and this plain but effective colour hasn’t looked back since. The 2,833,084 white cars on UK roads account for 9.3% of the total, up a whopping 91% since 2013. The GTI Clubsport S pictured here is on its way to breaking the Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel-drive cars, which gives lie to the notion of red cars being fastest. And on that note…
Red cars are definitely the fastest, right? Disappointingly, only 10% of all cars (3,237,326) in the UK are finished in rouge, although it has seen a slight increase in popularity since 2013. In our opinion, many hot hatches, including the aforementioned Golf GTI and the Ford Fiesta ST look best in bright red. And you can’t beat a rosso corsa Ferrari, of course. We might start a campaign to boost its popularity.
Ah, grey: the only colour choice available for some upmarket German brands. Or so it seems. More than one in 10 cars on our roads are grey – 3,710,965 in total. What a depressing thought, even if we rather like the stealthy look on this Mercedes-AMG GT. The RAC says grey has increased in popularity by 21% over the past three years.
Blue covers a myriad of shades, from deep navy to flamboyant sky-blue. Despite remaining fairly popular in the UK and holding onto its third place position, the number of new blue cars registered is on the decrease. They accounted for 21% of all cars on the roads in 2013, a figure down to 18.6% (5,689,516 cars) today.
One of our favourite car colours is black… aren’t we an imaginative bunch? It’s boomed in popularity over the last three years, with nearly seven million black cars currently registered in the UK: 19.4% of all cars registered. A harder colour to keep clean than most, black is showing no signs of going out of fashion. In fact, numbers are up 13% since 2013.
Yes – perhaps no surprise – silver is the most popular car colour for British drivers. Nearly seven million silver cars are registered, accounting for nearly a quarter (22.5%) of all cars on UK roads. Despite decreasing by 2% since 2013, there are still 925,000 more silver cars on the roads than black ones. Even the police have followed suit, choosing silver cars because of their strong resale values.