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Most drivers aren’t looking for anything wild or flashy when buying a new car. You, and probably most people you know, likely own a car that is either white, gray, or black—which may not exactly fall into the category of “cool car colors.”
In fact, last year’s Color Popularity Report, put out by paint supplier PPG Industries, determined that a whopping 64% of new cars are one of those three colors.
While many car-buyers are looking for a timeless elegance—usually associated with muted hues—others opt for “hero colors,” which in the automaking world, means colors that are vibrant and attention-grabbing.
Another report by PPG concluded that most car-buyers aren’t big on “hero colors,” preferring more conservative alternatives. Only 8% of car-buyers opted for blue or red vehicles, while a negligible 1% chose green.
According to Kelley Blue Book, which borrowed information from PPG’s 2020 report, the top eight car colors are white, black and gray (tied), silver, blue, red, natural, green, and others, in that order.
Cool car colors and value
Kelley Blue Book also points out that the color of your car will likely affect its resale value, making car color a significant choice.
While neutral colored cars are the most likely to maintain their value, some brightly colored models—such as the Chevy Corvette Stingray C8, offered in “Sebring Orange Tintcoat”— appreciate in value due to their uniqueness. That being said, cars with unusual colors, especially those painted yellow, purple, or orange, may depreciate in value.
Despite consumer hesitation to purchase so-called hero colors, every now and then a bold paint job can prove a hit. Here are some of the top colors for 2021, according to Autolist and MotorBiscuit.
Acura’s “Thermal Orange Metallic”
This year the Acura Performance Manufacturing Center is revitalizing its NSX and RDX models with a new optional paint job. This two-row SUV comes with the option of a “thermal orange metallic” color, a bright, burnished orange. The eye-catching shade costs an extra $1,000, but it’s certain to turn heads wherever you drive.
BMW’s “Isle of Man Green Metallic”
BMW’s 2021 lineup of M3 and M4 models is studded with bright yellows and reds, but the automaker’s “isle of man green metallic” is the boldest of the lot. This green paint is jewel-toned and shimmery, a hue that’s somehow both vibrant and understated. With hints of blue, turquoise, and silver, this green car gives off cool ocean vibes.
Hyundai’s “Glowing Yellow”
This year’s Hyundai Sonata is available in “glowing yellow,” a sunny, bright shade. The model was already unusual-looking, and its bold paint job only makes it even more of a standout.
Porsche’s “Frozen Berry Metallic”
This year, Porsche is offering a car color rarely seen outside of chick flicks: pink. This “frozen berry metallic” shade is much tamer than the hot pink you might be picturing, however. The 2021 Porsche Taycan is offered in a gray-pink color that’s certainly a bold choice, but also a highly stylish one.
Dodge’s “Hellraisin Metallic”
Much like Porsche, Dodge is taking a risk with this new shade, available on its Challenger and Charger models. These muscle cars are no stranger to unusual paint jobs, but the “hellraisin metallic” might be the most out-there of the bunch. Car-buyers who opt for this deep, shiny purple paint color are unlikely to come across any other drives with a car quite like theirs.
Mazda’s “Soul Red Crystal Metallic”
All of Mazda’s 2021 models are available in this “soul red” shade, a deep, vivid shade of red that emphasizes the car’s metallic finish. Though Mazda is in the process of elevating its brand image with a more conservative and classier color lineup, this rich metallic red color manages to be both eye-catching and elegant.
Jaguar’s “Velocity Blue”
The 2021 Jaguar F-Pace’s electric blue color represents a nice break from the automaker’s muted sedan lineup. This premium color is available for the automaker’s sports convertible and coupe, as well as for the F-Pace SVR SUV. The high-energy color proves a great match for the F-Pace’s powerful 550-horsepower engine.
Will these cool car colors be popular?
Though these car colors are eye-popping, they may not catch on with car-buyers. MotorBiscuit predicts that the new shades most likely to catch on this year will be more conservative, including “Pundits Solution,” a golden-toned beige color, “Dark Seltzer,” a dark gray color, and “Social Camouflage,” a muted gray-green color.
Only time will tell if these wild 2021 colors will be successes—or flops.