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Which colour and paint effect?

Lots of choices and innovation but which works best for your lifestyle?

Solid paints,

Solid paints

Timeless, classic appearance

Solid paint colours have no additives and usually comprise 3 coats: primer, colour, lacquer. Often the standard no-cost option from manufacturers, for example VW's Moonstone Grey on the ID.3 and ID.4, although this has a high gloss lacquer to keep it bright and appealing alongside metallics. Solid paints are easier and cheaper to repair.

Metallic paints,

Metallic paints

Sparkle and depth

In the 1930s fish scales were used to give colours a richer look. Now manufacturers add metallic flakes or powders which reflect light to create an effect varying from a subtle shimmer to high-impact shine. Dents and scratches get lost leaving cars looking premium but they are a more costly option and repairs can be trickier. BMW are king of metallic blues.

Pearlescent paints,

Pearlescent paints

Reflect and refract light

Ceramic crystal additives in pearlescent paints give a changing appearance in different levels of light: beautiful, premium and difficult to touch in! Fiat 500e pearls are fabulous: celestial blue and ocean green are favourites. A white pearlescent is great for hiding imperfections – aim for this if buying an older Nissan Leaf or Kia Soul.

Matte effects,

Matte effects

On-trend but high maintenance

Flattening agents and layering give the car a non-reflective appearance and unusual texture. These paints look intriguing but need careful cleaning with bespoke products to stop them from becoming shiny. Also prone to stone chips and are expensive and difficult to repair. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 were launched in matte finishes.



Says luxury, professional and power

Research shows a higher accident rate for black cars, but on resale (and if well maintained) strong residual values are achieved. Black cars do get hotter in direct sun but hide dirt really well. Chips, scuffs, pollen and swirl marks are more visible. A model in black will look sleeker and sometimes larger too.



Broadly appealing, spectrum of shades

Lighter shades are good for safety being visible day through dusk and blue is a good choice for hiding scuffs and dust. Darker hues hide dirt but perform less well with thermal comfort. Depending on depth and intensity a blue car can be classic, striking or beautiful – and all three!



Contemporary and traditional!

In rural areas green can blend into the background making the car less easy to spot which affects its safety perception. Depending on shade, green cars perform like those in grey/silver or yellow when closer to lime. Popular with younger drivers, although also a classic in British Racing Green.



The colour of reliability and sophistication

For safety, grey cars can blend into the background but that's why lots of people find them aesthetically pleasing! The most popular colour in the UK and great for resale value. Easy to maintain, striking a good balance between hiding dirt, scratches and stone chips. Thermal comfort will depend on tone.



Uplifting and confident

Higher maintenance for cleaning and repair but good for safety. Bright colours represent more risk in resale value but work for models synonymous with strength and exhilaration. Not known for thermal comfort but easy to spot in the car park and can look classy in darker hues.



Ticks all the boxes and sparkles

Good for safety as easily visible night and day and straightforward to maintain or repair. Silver reflects light too for thermal comfort. Metallic silver is popular, hiding imperfections and dirt well whilst shining in the sun. Some have a funky green hue: check out Skoda's arctic silver and Nissan's spring cloud.



Tasteful, elegant and strong

Good for safety as the most visible day and night. Scratches and chips are hard to spot but dirt and dust are more visible. The easiest colour to maintain although not always straightforward to colour-match. Residual values hold well and best for thermal comfort. Available in solid, metallic and pearl effects.



Popular with younger drivers

The brightest colour that the human eye can see, performing well in safety tests. Strong colours can be higher maintenance and more risk for resale value. Whether in a solid paint or a metallic, a statement colour often chosen by confident drivers.