Before You Buy Another Black or White Car, Take a Look at These Vibrant Paint Options

Hakone Green, Hellraisin, and Sunset Drift are more fun, anyway.

byKristin V. Shaw|
Culture photo


Car search engine iSeeCars analyzed 9.4 million vehicles sold in 2019 (model years 2014-2018) as part of a study to determine which paint colors were the most popular. As you might expect from your own observations at the grocery store parking lot, white and black are the most popular, splitting about 47 percent of the total number between them. Gray is next, followed by silver. So far, that’s a grayscale palette that doesn’t offer much—if any variation.

Maybe Henry Ford’s infamous statement about the Model T: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it’s black,” stuck with us.

Kristin Shaw

With manufacturers like Nissan specializing in orange hues like Sunset Drift ChromaFlair, Monarch Orange, Blaze Metallic, and others in shades of red, yellow, blue, and green, I’m firmly in the camp of those who prefer colorful cars.

Currently, nine Nissan vehicles are available in variations of orange, which is more than any other auto brand in America. Senior Design Manager Nicole Fonseca says to make orange look good on a car, the color has to be super saturated. The brand uses ChromaFlair, which morphs the paint appearance depending on the light source and view angle. In a different hue, Chrysler's 2021 Pacifica is offered in a new Fathom Blue, which may remind you of a vintage mood ring with shimmers of teal and violet underneath. 


Mazda’s Soul Red Crystal Metallic is my favorite in the crimson family. I can spot a Soul Red Mazda from a fair distance; it seems to have a glow on the road that gives it almost fuzzy edges. The color's designer and master painter worked together during the development process to achieve a result that looks like it was hand-painted. Basically, robots were programmed to duplicate the brushstrokes and techniques of a master painter.

That said, the idea that red cars seem to be a beacon for speeding tickets is in my head, even though that notion has been disproved to some extent.

Ferrari’s Blu Scozia is a stunning deep, dark azure. Toyota had a Cavalry Blue on its TRD line that was particularly fetching, and Dodge’s 2021 Charger SRT comes in Frostbite and a striking IndoGo Blue. Dodge has a knack for dubbing its colors cheeky monikers like the deep-purpleish Hellraisin, TorRed, and Go Mango.

Kristin Shaw

Aston Martin unveiled a giant selection of colors for the DBX SUV, including 30 from its AM Palette, and 24 colors in the separate Q Palette. Do you have a yen for a Kermit Green DBX? It can be yours, even with brake calipers in Vivid Orange, if you like. If you’re keen for green but not in the $200K range, I recently drove a Hyundai Kona in Lime Twist that was attractive and eye-catching. Even more so was the Toyota 86 in Hakone Green paired with bronze 17-inch wheels.

From the iSeeCars survey, I thought this was a little ironic: Hawaii, the state of rainbow license plates, is the “least colorful” according to the survey. Only 17 percent purchased non-grayscale cars in various colors compared to Vermont, which stands at more than 30 percent. Maybe Vermonters want to make sure they can find their vehicle in the snow.

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