Black vs White Cars: Which Are Best?

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Henry Ford famously said, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black”. That was over 100 years ago, but with more choice now than ever before, is black still the best colour? In this article, we’ll find out.

Table Of Contents

Which is Most Popular, Black or White Cars?

Black cars are more popular than white cars, in fact they are the most popular colour car in the UK and have been for some time. White trails in at fifth place with around 4.5m cars, this is far behind more than 7m black cars on UK roads.

The top 5 car colours according to thisismoney are:

  1. Black
  2. Silver
  3. Blue
  4. Grey
  5. White

This is based on total cars on the road. However, when you look at new cars being registered, white is more popular than ever, so over time it’s expected that white will move up the list.

There is a stark difference between the UK and the rest of the world where white is the global leading car colour with a 39% share of the market (source). However, there are some similarities with greyscale colours (black, grey, silver and white) outranking other colours like red and blue.

We wanted to put this to the test for ourselves to find out why it’s so popular. In our readers survey we also found that black cars were the most popular, but when breaking the responses down by gender, we found that men favoured black cars more than women did.


Are Black Cars or White Cars More Expensive?

When you buy a brand new car, there is little difference between the price of a black or white car if you are comparing the same make and model (unless you have special requests such as metallic paint). In fact, white cars are more expensive to produce due to the extra coats that are required, however manufacturers do not tend to pass this cost on to buyers.

More and more consumers are having bespoke colour cars when they buy brand new. Pearl toned white paint is becoming more popular over the standard free of charge ‘brilliant finished’ white that Vauxhall offers and most dealerships will change a higher premium.

The second hand market is a different story because trends take a long time to catch up resulting in a supply and demand price market. For this reason, a second hand white car will sell for more than a second hand black car of the same make and model and in equal condition.

White used to be much less popular than black, so in the past manufacturers would produce fewer white vehicles. As the trends have changed, there is more demand now than before so the value has gone up. As black cars are better at hiding scuffs than white cars, sometimes this may skew the value of the vehicle.

What about insurance?

In the terms of the price of insuring a black car, there is an urban myth that suggests that black and red cars are more expensive to insure. According to First Response Finance, this is not true and insurance companies do not boost their premiums depending on the colour of a car.


Pros and Cons of Black Cars

Black cars are loved by many car enthusiasts because they are sophisticated and seductive, but they also have a reputation for being high maintenance. Here are some pros and cons for owning a black vehicle:

Pros:

Black cars often look sleeker than other colours. Shadow is what gives a car depth, but black cars have less shadow than other colours, this makes them appear smaller and gives them a sleek look.
The colour black can enhance the perceived curvature of the vehicle as your eye is drawn towards the shape.
Black cars tend to look classy and are associated with wealth and power.
Black is perceived to be more feminine than white cars, so either gender stereotypes may feel comfortable with owning a black car.

Cons:

Black is one of the hardest colours to keep clean. Detailing and constant washing is required to keep the black paintwork looking clean and shiny.
Black cars are harder to see at night and are more likely to be involved in an accident.
Black cars are hotter than other colours of cars, this is because black absorbs more sunlight. So black cars are more popular in colder countries and white cars are more popular in hotter countries.

Black Car FAQs

Are black cars more dangerous?

Black cars have a reputation for being more likely to be involved in crashes. This is a true fact that’s backed up by Monash University in Australia who did an in-depth analysis. The reason for black cars being more dangerous is because they are less visible in the dark, so it is a particular danger for those who are driving in the dark hours.

However, the report also noted that it isn’t just black cars that are hard to see in the dark. Grey, silver, red and blue also fail to stand out in the dark. The easiest colours to see in the dark are: white, gold and yellow.

Are black cars hotter?

Yes, black cars absorb more sunlight, so it causes the whole car to become hotter in temperature, as a result of this. However, most modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated air conditioning systems, so if the car feels hot in the summer, it can easily be cooled down.

Are black cars harder to keep clean?

Black cars are the hardest colour of car to keep clean, because they show dust and dirt really easily and even after they have been washed, swirls and watermarks from the wash still may appear. However, once you have properly cleaned your vehicle and dried it, the results can look far better than any other colour.


Pros and Cons of White Cars

White cars present a completely different set of advantages and disadvantages. They are easier to maintain, but often not as visually appealing. Here’s a run down of the key pros and cons of owning a white car:

Pros:

Some car dealerships offer white as a free colour, meaning you will not have to pay extra to purchase a white car.
White keeps a car cool, as it doesn’t absorb sunlight as well as black cars.
White cars have a good resale value in recent years (although this can change as trends evolve)
White cars are easily seen in the dark, so it is a safer option from this point of view.

Cons:

Mud and dirt shows on white and it can look unsightly.
White is known to make things look bigger as it is more reflective of light. This is great when you’re decorating your home, but unfortunately most people want their cars to look sleeker so white is a disadvantage.
White is in fashion, but it may not be as fashionable in the future. Red is an example of a car colour that was once very fashionable but not as popular today.

White Car FAQs

Are white cars harder to keep clean?

Believe it or not, it’s easier to wash a white car than a black car. This is because black cars can still show swirl marks and pick up dust as soon as they have been cleaned, whereas a white car is easy to wash.

That being said, a white car will show mud and dirt more obviously than any other vehicle. If you are looking for a car colour that looks good even when dirty, grey and silver are the best options.

Are white cars more feminine?

There’s a common perception that white cars are more feminine and black cars are more masculine. This is because of stereotyping over time that black is a symbol of power and therefore more masculine. Think about it, politicians, business-people and the wealthy often wear black suits and drive black cars.

Keen to gain some more insights, we asked our readers if they thought white cars were more feminine and an astounding 87% said no they weren’t. Perhaps the days of stereotyping are on their way out.

Are white cars cheaper?

When brand new, neither black or white cars are more expensive as long as you take the standard paint option. However, white cars are becoming more expensive in the second hand market as there have historically been less of them and demand is now rising.


So Are Black Cars or White Cars Better?

As you’d expect, it’s down to personal preference whether you’d prefer black or white! The way light emits from black cars mean they look smaller and sleeker than white counterparts, however they are also more difficult to keep clean and pose more of a risk in the dark.

But, if we are going to make the decision based on popularity, black cars did score the highest in the popular vote. It’s not wrong to purchase a white or black car, as long as you are happy with the colour and you are aware of the care and upkeep that is required for either colour of car.