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Car colour trends for 2016/17: Brown blooming, red hot, navy the new black

2016 has wrapped up and it's time to look back on the kaleidoscope of cars that have rolled through the CarAdvice garage. MY17 models have been flooding in already, offering up fun new colours and finishes. Let's take a look.

We've seen myriad hues, from bright and bold, through to more shades of brown and grey than we ever thought possible. White is rarely just white these days, with crystal, pearl and ivory effects taking centre stage - and navy is the new black... for now.

Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to car colours and, amongst the CarAdvice staff, some of the new colours were hot topics of discussion and polarised opinion.

We know that over the years the most popular new car colour choices have consistently been monochromatic, and that trend has continued in 2016.

According to our Best Price data, just over 75 per cent of respondents prefer white, grey, black and silver. That still means almost 25 per cent are willing to be a bit more adventurous, and there were a few surprises in the 2016 results.

Last year it was interesting to see 10 per cent of survey respondents would choose blue, with red not far behind at 9 per cent.

This trend flipped in 2016, with red officially the most popular colour and up 30 per cent on 2015. Blue is now trailing slightly behind, but still trending higher than the previous year.

Orange and yellow have gone from hot to not, both dropping significantly while green is so last year, down almost 60 per cent.

The colour brown is not always associated with a pleasant surprise, but in this case it is. Chocolate-inspired shades, though still only preferred by a small fraction of survey respondents, are up a massive 238 per cent.

While our own observations certainly match the data, we've noticed a few other trends as well. Satin finishes seem to have run their course, regardless of what Mercedes-Benz says. Given it's now available on a Hyundai, it's no longer haute couture and perhaps it's time for a new signature style.

Beautiful pearly whites have been abundant, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum. Here's a fun fact: both the cheapest and most expensive colours on the Audi SQ7 are white, the pricey option being a crystal effect that costs $5600.

Navy, so dark it's almost black, has been a welcome change, as has the re-birth of maroon.

And, despite the fact they're out of favour with buyers, there have been some stunning citrus shades and beautiful blues too. Not to mention shades of red that set our hearts on fire.

Here's our favourite car colour trends for 2016/17.

1. Endless shades of grey

Not to be mistaken for classic silver – the new way of going grey may have taken a while to warm up, but it seems the trend is here to stay. We're seeing more dark grey rather than the pale, cement-like shades we saw so much of last year. 2016/17 brought us some interesting interpretations.

The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is finished in Mountain Grey Metallic, which gives it an almost ethereal glow.


The 2017 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo in Steel Grey carries on the pale trend of recent years.


There were heated discussions over whether the Porsche 911 Carrera cabriolet pictured below was blue or grey. The colour may be called Graphite Blue Metallic but it's still a blue-inspired twist on grey.


2. Sky high

These intense, bright hues evoke thoughts of the Cookie Monster, Caribbean seas and blue skies. Though blue isn't quite as popular as red right now, we've still seen some amazing shades lately.

The Italian brand may be known for its iconic reds, but the 2016 Ferrari 488 Spider in Blue Corsa looks spectacular and is a $22,000 option. Ouch, but totally worth it.


The 2016 BMW M2 looks amazing in Long Beach Blue. The hero metallic colour is a $1485 option.


One of the coolest colour names of the year would have to be this one. The 2017 Ford Focus RS comes in this eye-catching blue called Nitrous.


3. Chocolate binge

Many manufacturers are exploring the not-so-colourful world of brown. While personally I'm not a fan, these shades are certainly more appealing than the colour of the old Holden Kingswood station wagon my family had when I was growing up.

With cool undertones and a bronze sheen, the 2017 Mazda CX-5 looks great in Titanium Flash Mica.


This 2017 Haval H6 is finished in Bronze. Not the most inventive name... but self-explanatory.


The all-new 2017 Holden Astra comes in some funky colours (with funky names), including this one called Coconut.


4. Citrus crush

Despite our data showing a decline in the number of people who would choose yellow or orange cars, we spotted some cracking colours this year. You can't miss these on the road!

The aptly named Attract Yellow certainly draws attention to the 2016 Honda Jazz.


The hero colour of the 2016 Range Rover Evoque convertible is a beautiful orange premium metallic shade called Phoenix Orange.


The 'Beast from the East' returns. The 2017 Nissan GT-R has been updated and is shown below in Blaze Metallic.


5. Maroon fever

The battle between the Blues and Maroons has bled into the car industry, with the dark red tones making a strong comeback in 2016/17.

From deep cherry red to more traditional brownish-maroons, we expect to see more of this trend in coming years.

The 2016 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport glows in this dark red finish called Terra Rossa.


Another colour that manages to throw a mix of red and maroon is the 2017 Infiniti QX30's Magnetic Red.


Available in either the brighter Italian Racing Red, or the deeper Odyssey Red, the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace manages to pull off good looks in a range of colours.


6. In the Navy

We've seen a lot of dark cars this year that look black until the light catches them, resulting in an explosion of colour thanks to pearlescent or mica particles. Navy is the new black, it seems. Here are a few that really stood out.

The hotly-anticipated 2017 Volvo XC90 Excellence arrived in Magic Blue Metallic.


We've seen a number of Toyota models in this dark blue guise. Below is the 2016 Toyota Kluger in Dynamic Blue.


The contours of the 2016 Hyundai Veloster pop in Blue Sprinter.


7. Stark contrast

Contrasting roof colours, mirror caps, racing lines, decals and even Airbumps on a Citroen Cactus; customisation options are still widely available.

MG Motor relaunched in Australia in 2016 and the MG3 is offered in a range of colours with contrasting roof options and decals galore. Below is the 2017 MG3 in Manchester Red with a white roof.


The 2016 Suzuki Vitara is available in a range of vibrant colours, including Atlantis Turquoise Pearl Metallic with a black roof.


The 2016 Mini John Cooper Works convertible is hard to miss in Chili Red with a black roof and mirror caps.


8. Red hot

We all know red cars go faster, and red will never go out of fashion. Brands including Ferrari, Mazda and Holden have iconic signature shades, but there are plenty of other manufacturers that also know how to rock the red.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza impresses in Pure Red.


BMW has its own signature scarlet called Melbourne Red, seen below on the 2017 BMW M140i.


Temptation Red is sure to be tempting for 2017 Kia Cerato buyers.


Our Favourites

Narrowing down our list for just three of each trend was almost impossible. There were so many interesting colours throughout 2016/17 and we just couldn't leave some of these out.

Here some of the CarAdvice team's favourites.

The 2016 Audi RS7 Sportback in Ascari Blue.


The show-stopping Aston Martin DB11 stunned onlookers when it was revealed in this deep orange dubbed Cinnabar Orange.


The one-off customised Ferrari SP275 RW Competizione shines in this gold/yellow paint, the look of which was inspired by the Ecurie Francorchamps team colour.

Is it Giallo Triplo Strato, the pearl yellow found on the 458 Speciale?


The 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was launched in this spectacular Lava Orange.


And finally, this list wouldn't be complete without the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 in Arancio Borealis.

What were your favourite car colours of 2016/17? Let us know in the comments section below.

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