Popular Car Colors and What They Say About You

What’s written in the stars (or at least the owner’s manual) about your personality?

popular car colors

Our cars, in many ways, are reflections of ourselves. A hybrid model, for example, tends to signal an owner who cares about the environment, while a heavy-duty truck often implies an outdoorsy type or do-it-yourselfer. And a minivan that reads “Baby on Board” almost always indicates a driver who hasn’t had the time to shop for bumper stickers lately.

But one lesser-known way we can project our personalities is through the color we choose for our cars. While most of us only consider our ride’s tint a minor aesthetic detail, studies from CNW Marketing and Churchill Motor Insurance suggest that car color is more than just Plexiglass-deep.

So if car color and personality do go hand in hand, what does your vehicle’s paint job say about you?

Least popular car color: green

Popularity: Used by 3 percent of population.

Driver indications: Extremely confident, prone to dramatic mood swings

Our take: As this happens to be the car color of this humble scribe’s ride, I can say with complete confidence that green … was the only option left at the dealership.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a green car … the alignment of the stars suggests you’re destined to find true love — or at least an embarrassing individual who looks remarkably like me waving ecstatically at you, his car-color twin (please wave back, please?).

Sixth most popular car color: blue

Popularity: Used by 8 percent of population.

Driver indications: Cautious, quiet, loyal, confident (if dark blue), insecure (if light blue), fairly even-keeled  

Our take: If these guys are any indication, there’s no limit to what donning this shade can do for a person.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a blue car … you’ll find yourself making cautious decisions on the road — like obeying the speed limit or choosing a cup instead of cone when you get ice cream.

Fourth most popular car color: red

Popularity: Used by 10 percent of population.

Driver indications: Anxious, fiery and impetuous, energetic, quick-thinking

Our take: Not even the “Sean Connery” GPS voice setting can best a fresh coat of red paint when it comes to making a car seem like it’s way more handsome, polished, and charming than whatever you’re stuck driving.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a red car … you will not (repeat NOT) automatically pay more for car insurance.

That’s right. We at Esurance are happy to put that false, chromatic-based cliché to bed in our insight exposing the myth that red cars cost more to insure.

Third most popular car color: silver

Popularity: Used by 16 percent of population.

Driver indications: Self-assured, unfailing, calm, almost aloof

Our take: The silver lining to sitting through all this psychology? Your car still looks so cool

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a silver car … an amazing opportunity will soon arise, er, maybe already has (depending on how much you’re valuing the opportunity to read this right now).

Second most popular car color: black

Popularity: Used by 19 percent of population.

Driver indications: Emotionally steady, elegant

Our take: As is standing policy at Esurance, if it’s good enough for Batman, it’s aces in our book.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a black car with vanity plates and you parked in the back lot … your lights are on.

Most popular car color: white

Popularity: Used by 21 percent of population.

Driver indications: Fairly confident, slightly moody, resilient/bordering-on-unbreakable (the sheer number of car washings alone!)

Our take: Classic and simple, hard to beat.

Horoscope outlook: If you drive a white car … someone will soon contact you (I’m sensing it will be with “wash me” on your back windshield).

Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments section!

169 Responses to “Popular Car Colors and What They Say About You”

  1. Robert
    May 3, 2013 #

    Amusing, but Right? I'm ot sure. At one time or another I have owned a car in most of these colors (just not silver, eww.)

    For my latest car I chose a mid/dark metallic blue. Mostly because of WHERE I live. Here in the blistering heat and beating sun of Florida both Black and Red are slightly insane choices as the just soak up the heat and you can bake in the passenger cabin while your in the mall grabbing a cone. Green is a pretty color but much like the previous can get a bit warm in the sun if it's not in the lighter shades. White is of course practical but a pain to keep neat. Silver might be practical as well but has always seemed pretentious to me.

    Blue on the other hand does seems to deal well with the heat and looks nice to boot.

    So there you are Alex, my $.02.

    • Timijanel Odom
      June 26, 2013 #

      I'm not sure if my "grey" car would be included as silver but if so, spot on! :-)
      For sure the dark blue and black are perfectly true!

    • Tom
      August 14, 2013 #

      You're, the contraction of you and are.
      Your, the personal possession of a follow on item.

  2. Sara
    May 3, 2013 #

    Pretty spot on, actually. Although I'd say light blue car drivers are hesitant and cautious because nobody sees us. If you want proof, you should try test driving one.

    • Sera
      May 7, 2013 #

      Hi Sara:
      A friend of mine has a light blue car – the interrior is white! Ughh….I told her to get a darker color–black, dark blue, etc. she said too dark!! Anyway, I love her no matter what and I am sure your friends do the same. She is gentle, loving, and funny! So enjoy your light blue car..it is yours to keep and paying for it..so have it the way you want!

  3. Billy Venable II
    May 3, 2013 #

    YOU ARE WRONG, in almost every aspect. I own a white truck because it was the only think that I could afford at the time and it was a 1969 Ford F250 for $500. I would rather of had the green, more specifically LIME GREEN. But that does not mean that it was the last color available, nor does it mean that I am going to find some sorry sap of a person to be my mate. It simply means that I am bold, energetic, out going and like to be the center of stares and attention. I love standing out. And as for the other colors, white and black show dirt too much, silver is too classy, red is too over done, and blue is not my color. Do more homework on this subject before spewing out lies and misinformation.

    • Billy
      July 1, 2013 #

      The article is specifically about the colors of vehicles you "choose", not what you got "stuck" with because you cant afford anything else. You should listen to your own advise and "Read" first.

      • SIG
        July 13, 2013 #

        I saw nothing in the article specifying that it was "chose" vs "stuck with". The author simply used the ambiguous term, "drive".

      • Mike
        July 15, 2013 #

        How are you going to get "stuck with" one particular color or another? Spray paint is cheap, I've done it before!

  4. Cass
    May 3, 2013 #

    IMHO : Green is the best color EVER. :)

    • Billy Joe Jones
      August 16, 2013 #

      Billy Joe
      I have owned a green Chevy Z71 one for 18 years would not sell for any price.

  5. Laurie Brainerd
    May 3, 2013 #

    Uh-hum….what about orange!

  6. Joe Lafives
    May 3, 2013 #

    The reason people buy white is because it's cooler (actually cooler as in less warm) especially in the sun belt. So if you don't have "practical" as a trait for white then you're wrong.

    • Whitney
      May 7, 2013 #

      Agreed, Joe. I have a black car and I wish I had a white one just for that reason. Summer is almost here and I am not looking forward to the sweltering heat inside my car. I want a blue car, but I don't think it fits with my fiery personality ;)

    • Nadine Kohl
      May 18, 2013 #

      Amen. white is practical

      • Lalee
        August 17, 2013 #

        White is Boring! I've always thought that if a person chooses white they have no personality,imagination or adventure in life,just boring like the color they chose.I have a Lime green Beetle VW,shiney like a Xmas bulb,I put yellow daisies in the dashboard vase.It's so cute I just want to kiss it..

  7. Jennifer
    May 3, 2013 #

    I want a purple car!!

    • Elaine
      June 27, 2013 #

      I have a purple car! When I was looking for a used sport car for myself, I was not looking for a puspel car, but when I found this one I thought "How distinctive that is. Everyone will know whose car that is!" And they do!

  8. John Moore
    May 3, 2013 #

    Years ago I bough a yellow colored car, and was told that the yellow color denoted my immaturity. I bought that color after reading an article about car colors. YELLOW is the most visible.any fire department have changed to yellow.

    • Mark Stewart
      May 6, 2013 #

      You're on the right track. Actually a color that is a pukey light green, with a little yellow, (can't remember the color name) was determined to be the most visible color. A lot of Fire Departments changed to that color, but most changed back to "Fire Engine Red" due to Public opinion. Retired Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic.

  9. Jessica
    May 3, 2013 #

    I love the sarcasm…. Can't wait to see more of your articles.

  10. Mark Stewart
    May 6, 2013 #

    Actually, white vehicles (at least pure or brilliant white) need to be washed far less times than darker colors. I've owned two white vehicles, and unless you've been off-road through the mud, ( or dirty snow and slush if you live in the North) the white vehicles "appear" cleaner for a longer period of time. Sounds illogical, I know, but true. The darker the car, the faster it looks dirty. A black car is absolutely beautiful when washed, but one trip in the rain and it looks horrible.

    • Glen
      June 5, 2013 #

      Mark, thanks for making that point. It is so true. That white, or light colored cars appear cleaner for longer amounts of time compared to darker colors of cars. Road dust – the light colored easily airborn dirt that is most common And most frequent in making cars dirty, is actually light in color. I see way more finger imprints and swipes on dark colored cars and never on a white colored car. I don't see the appeal of driving a dark – or even medium toned /colored car when it looks dusty all the time. That greatly diminishes the 'prettiness ' or 'coolness' of the car you intended it would be when you bought it at the car dealership.

    • Penelope
      July 21, 2013 #

      I live in the Pacific NW, I prefer white vehicles. I live down a dirt road, the state and county sand roads 8 months out of the year when it's icy and I don't have a garage. Mine looks cleaner than most of the "city" cars and I only wash it a couple of times a year.

    • Lacy
      August 4, 2013 #

      I agree!! I've owned at least 7 white vehicles, amd have also owned 2 dark blue. The white is soooooo much better about showing dirt. It looks nice longer between washings

    • Kerry kukuva
      August 10, 2013 #

      My thoughts exactly regarding white cars looking clean!!
      But I don't really agree with these opinions on the colors either.

    • Tammy
      August 12, 2013 #

      I have two white cars, one is just plain white and the other I had painted pearl white. I see no difference in washing needs compared to other color cars and trucks we have.

  11. Sera
    May 6, 2013 #

    YES! I love my "dark" blue TC. You are correct in almost every aspect (well..who obeys the speed limit now-a-days..) Traffic is so bad, we can't obey the speed limit!!

  12. Gregory Todd
    May 7, 2013 #

    You got the big truck part right. I use both of my 4x4s for scouting events; especially camping. The only reason they are both white, though, is because I bought both of them used. My preferred colors are bright yellow (in hopes of being seen better) and dark metallic blue.

  13. Jesus Jones
    May 10, 2013 #

    I suppose there are people who think the color of their car actually means something

  14. JaxDad
    May 10, 2013 #

    You are right on man! Amazing. :)

    Blue car owner here. Well actually I own a black SUV, white sedan and blue sedan but take most car of and most often drive the blue one… :)

  15. Curt A.
    May 13, 2013 #

    You do realize white shows the lest dirt thats why people buy it. Also most company vehicles are white. This saves them money on washing. Go do a test and rethink how you write. The darker the color the more washing because black will show every speck of dirt. White will not.

    • Kerry
      August 18, 2013 #

      Exactly!

  16. Michelle
    May 20, 2013 #

    My first car was a red '86 CRX. It got hit 3 times ('87, '88, '92). I was told that was common for red cars. My Granddad used to ask me to tell someone after the first two hits what year my car was…I'd say "an '86, '87, and '88 CRX. He would just laugh :-D

    My next car was a light blue Accord. Whatever was for sale…to replace the finally totaled CRX. Then a '97 silver Saturn SL2. Great car. Hated, hated the silver. It was what they had and the Accord was dying. Silver is a hard color to see because it blends in with the road.
    Finally after 15 years, the Saturn was done and I have my dream car–a beetle–in a HAPPY color of yellow. I was gonna get herbie white and decal it up but I need high visibility in the tourist town where I live. Tourists tend to pull right out in front of you so it's good to let them know you're there. ;-)

    • Minesse
      July 20, 2013 #

      I bought my first car a few months ago and it's red and two Weeks after I got it some lady backed into me, my front driver side. I was so mad and sad door my Candy she looked horrible.

  17. Ruth
    May 27, 2013 #

    Ya didn't even list the color I have, which is a fushia pickup, s-10 to be precise. I don't even like any of the colors listed here. Todays colors are ugly, what ever happened to emerald green? I'd buy that if the car was made of metal and actually had a crome bumper. Copper is nice. Maroon metal flake that's snazzy. How about a teal that has metal flake? Or even some of the candy colors, or color shift colors? The price of cars they can afford the better paint jobs to be in there. Some of us don't like the car styles, colors and whats on any car lot is of no interst. Anyone have a Buick Wildcat for sale in mint condition with the 455? I'll take that, color don't care.

  18. MOMZ
    June 3, 2013 #

    All "scientific facts" aside, your writing style is very entertaining. I've owned (in order)yellow, brown, off-white, silver, maroon, black, two green, and two blue cars. So far. How does that explain my personality? The last four were AWD Subarus, an indicator that I like awesome cars.;-)

  19. Sue
    June 9, 2013 #

    Many years ago when I was shopping for a new car, I was having trouble deciding on the color. The temperature that day was in the 90's. The salesman told me to put my hand on a black car, I did and removed it immediately, i felt the pain of a burn. Then he took me to a white car, I put my hand on it and I was amazed that I didn't have to pull my hand away. I bought the white car.

  20. Harleygurl
    June 10, 2013 #

    I own a white honda rideline truck, love it, best colour in the world. I had a dark blue/ green mercedes suv, a light blue honda accord (loved the car hated the colour, traded a month later for the ridgeline. I own a red miata, and a dark blue harley. Guess I'm all over the plc. Love my white because u can't see the dirt compared to darker colours!

  21. Tina
    June 12, 2013 #

    My favorite part of the article is how it goes from 'least' to 'sixth' to 'fourth'. Where the fifth one?

  22. Noelle Clark Waters
    June 16, 2013 #

    While I didn't expect a scientifically sound article with appropriate controls and such I also didn't expect the humor! Thanks for a happy Sunday read.

  23. Yakima
    June 18, 2013 #

    I currently own a reddish brown 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Before that I had a Saturn coupe that was a silvery lavender-gray color that I hated; before that I had a reddish brown Mazda pickup, and before that I had a reddish brown Mazda GLC sedan(the sporty one before it was turned into a gutless econobox), before that a silver VW Rabbit, and in between I drove assorted vehicles that were white, Toyota mustard yellow, and a beige-tan color. My first car was a 1966 Chevelle Malibu wagon with the 283 small block, and it was reddish brown.

    I like the reddish brown because it is reasonably good at hiding dirt while not being plain white. I wish I could buy a car in Pullman Brown, a color very much like the UPS truck brown; both of those colors were specifically blended in order to hide dirt.

    My husband has a white F-150 that also is very good at hiding dirt.

    It's probably pretty obvious that we spend some time on dirt and gravel roads. B^)

  24. Plexiform
    June 21, 2013 #

    Basically this was an ad for esurance. Insurance companies are the devil! Worse than any drug….they've got us hooked.

    • eric berg
      July 27, 2013 #

      I thought insurance companies were useless to until someone sideswiped my car and drove off. 3 years of premiums paid off instantly.

  25. Mauro
    June 22, 2013 #

    I live in South Florida where the dust from the mainly limestone subsoil is white. White dust on any dark coloured car shows up immediately. I own two white cars and only have to wash them every 4 to 6 weeks (except if they have been near the salty air on the beach). Our tropical downpours do enough to keep them presentable. Pure practicality.

  26. Mike
    June 22, 2013 #

    Ugh, white/silver/gray are such "blah" colors, there's a reason almost every rental is these colors: they're neutral, boring, unexciting, just like the drivers of these vehicles are often boring and unexciting. Also double-fail for the way these colored vehicles tend to "disappear" in fog or inclement weather, and their drivers almost never think to turn on the darn headlights!

    Then again, this is coming from an owner of a dark blue metallic pickup truck covered with brush guards and toolboxes. What does that say about me, besides that I may be a little bit redneck, or at least ready for the zombie apocalypse!

    Bonus: I have painting several friend's cars 1970 Chrysler "Plum Crazy Purple". Best color ever! ;-)

  27. jim
    June 24, 2013 #

    given the very limited choice of colors nowadays, no wonder these colors are listed as 1,2,3. I would much prefer a dark green, but almost no manufacturer offers it. As a young boy, I remember the 1950s when any color and combination was available.

  28. Misslabeled
    June 25, 2013 #

    That's so funny because I want a green car and cannot ever find one. I drive Hondas and they don't make the models I want in green! And I don't mean kelly green, I mean a nice olive green or light metallic wash of green. Such a pity. You'll not see me waving from my silver car.

  29. Sarah
    June 25, 2013 #

    Great article! Actually, the blue fits me to a T! Just last week I finally realized my dream of finding a blue van with a gray (silver) interior. It is my Dallas Cowboys van and I couldn't be happier!

  30. dennybob
    July 1, 2013 #

    Color is incidental to me, frequently its based on availability, like the options I want are only available on this blue car unless you want to order one. Nothing at all to do with personality. You're reachin here . . .

  31. D F Weldon
    July 4, 2013 #

    A plan to customize the paint scheme to your mood. The paint is made up of led pixiles which enables you to select the color you desire. The color has to be slow to change so as not to distract other drivers. The only draw back is this type of system would be popular for those who want a get away car for whatever puroses they might have in mind. I'm sure that law enforcement folks would not be impressed.

    • Skittles
      July 9, 2013 #

      The first problem is easy–color can only change when car is parked. Of course, this creates the other problem of trying to remember what color car you're looking for in a parking lot.

  32. Bob Daniels
    July 7, 2013 #

    I agree with Laurie… ORANGE is the best color! Not appearing in a list provided by insurance people PROVES IT! I need an ORANGE JEEP!!

    • Brandy A
      July 8, 2013 #

      Getting an orange car only gets you mistaken for a Longhorns fan. Who in their right mind would want that?

  33. Adrian
    July 8, 2013 #

    A detail missed more colors. Not mentioned dark gray, brown.
    I think we should all buy vehicles,according to the climate where we live.
    The reason for the excitement.
    Also I find the cause of the why people reject the Silver, if it is an exclusive luxury color, unique, sophisticated, dynamic, modern, reflecting the sun's rays, is perfect to avoid the heat.
    For me personally, I say that with age, changing tastes you can not say that I always liked the same.
    I can tell you all, as color expert that I am, who I was very fond of child red cars
    and now I am man of 31 years, and I do not like would not think of buying one.

  34. Donley
    July 10, 2013 #

    I do not agree with you! First your isolating color and most people purchase based on type of car and then color but the shade of color offered is also important. For example with a VW Bug most popular in 60-70's was red. Today I believe the Yellow has been most popular. Usually smaller cars are designed with brighter shades. An SUV In the '80 or 90's the popular color was a hunter green with tan accents. Today crossover Vehicles are promoted in cream colors or something like a orange burst. Now Lincoln promotes classics Black and so does Cadillac. the body style, color shades offered, and promoted colors all work into personality traits.

  35. Etoria
    July 18, 2013 #

    While it makes for a fun read I don't think anyone should draw large generalizations about people driving a certain car with a certain color. But overall, very amusing piece.

  36. Adrian
    July 20, 2013 #

    Mr. Donley , let me explain.! We live now in the year 2013, we are not live in the years 60, 80s. Currently the neutral tones happen to have a image of power, luxury, balance, innovation. Respect everyone's opinion on a matter of selecting the color for your car.
    You should know that is a lot of money studies on this subject, too often companies request.
    I can tell you that the issue of color is important, just to give an image a model for attention.
    What you say is not consistent. Who would buy a VW Jetta or a BMW 5 Series yellow? Ask him insurance to their acquaintances and will tell you Black, White, Grey, Blue, red maybe, but hardly anyone will tell yellow, that's the reality. I have recommended major brands, I have recognized them to me.
    In United States have always had black colored cars . I will tell one more reason car neutral tones, depreciate less after sale dealer, that green.
    Check Kelly Blue Book and you will realize the truth.
    I send a greeting and buy the car color of your liking!

  37. Great White Northerner
    July 23, 2013 #

    Living up in snow country, the LAST color we buy is WHITE. That is because the plow trucks mistake you for a snow drift and push your car into ditches!! White is actually the cheapest car you can buy up HERE, usually given away in raffles and carnivals….

  38. cris renee
    July 27, 2013 #

    I would like a clear… no color…transparent car…yah….

  39. Jeeper
    July 29, 2013 #

    What about orange?

  40. DrBizarre
    July 31, 2013 #

    On the whole, I like the article, but… where is #5?

  41. 911 Guy
    August 2, 2013 #

    Pretty good. My wife drives a dark red, not fire engine red, car. My current ride is an off-white color. Always liked white cars. I am slightly moody (grouchy is more accurate) and I am confident almost to the point of arrogance.

  42. Leonard
    August 3, 2013 #

    Our car color is "stone something?' The color changes with lighting, dark days vs sunny days.
    I can look (and has been listed) as gold, silver, tan and grey.

    I'm going to have written on my obituary "He never bought a foreign car" God bless America!!

  43. anonymous
    August 5, 2013 #

    Your Company uses dark blue for its color and suggests you are insecure…..is this why you need a hollywood celebrity as a spokesperson for your Company?

  44. Me
    August 5, 2013 #

    You can easily find a bright red car in a parking lot. That is what drew me to a red car after years of an indistinguishable grey car.

  45. mimiMH
    August 9, 2013 #

    What is most interesting to me is the description of all the cars people have or have had as if anyone but them really cares about that. I have never bought a car based on color, just on the best bargain I could make & I'm sure no one cares about that either.

  46. cezar
    August 11, 2013 #

    "ONLY GENIUS PICK GREEN…."- Meet the Parents.

  47. Anne Horn
    August 17, 2013 #

    I have an F350, silver (wanted a 4wheel drive w/back seat, and a long bed) only because it was that color and the only one on the lot fitting our requirements. Silver is a very weak color compared to other colors. Will never own red on purpose, too expensive to repaint due to the gold in the paint.
    My car is charcoal gray, once again due to the fact that it had the features I wanted when I bought the car. I have never really bought a vehicle due to color choice. So what does that say about me?? LOL

  48. Marcus
    August 17, 2013 #

    I work at a large auto dealership. Drive thru our lot at any time, and the only cars that look clean….. the white ones, then silver, etc. the darker the color the more they show dirt. I'm not talking mud, I'm talking it hasn't rained in 30 days and my car still looks clean dirt.

  49. Kerry
    August 18, 2013 #

    White is hard to keep clean? No, that would be black. Most dust and road dirt is light enough to be well hidden on white but, shows no mercy on a black background (car).

  50. John
    August 18, 2013 #

    So. I'm color blind…. Hmmmm
    Just not much to be said about me.

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