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The Best and Worst Car Colors For Resale Value Include Some Surprises

A new study breaks down which colors enhance the value of your vehicle and which detract from it.


A study released today by iSeeCars found that color can affect your car’s resale value. “A vehicle’s color is among the primary considerations after shoppers have decided on a make and model,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “With resale value being the single biggest factor in how much a new vehicle ‘costs’ over the course of ownership, consumers should carefully consider their color choice.”

The group analyzed over 5.6 million sales of new model year 2017 cars between January and July of 2017, and over 700 thousand sales of used cars from the same model year between January and July of 2020 to determine which car colors add value and which detract from a vehicle’s resale value. The answers surprised us.

Worst Color For Resale Value
If you cringed when you looked at the three “gold” Toyotas at the top of our page, you are not alone. Gold is the single worst color for value retention. However, “gold” is not usually the name of a vehicle color. Manufacturers use other names like “champagne.” Following gold is brown and purple for the colors that will hurt your resale value the most.

Image of yellow Acura NSX by John GorehamBest Colors for Resale Value
Yellow is the color that will provide you with the best return on your used vehicle when you trade or sell it on. “Yellow may not be a widely desired car color, but there are enough people who want yellow, versus the number of yellow new cars being ordered, to make yellow cars more desirable than others on the used market,” said Brauer. “In fact, yellow is among the colors with the lowest vehicle share, and is most commonly a color for sports cars and other low-volume vehicles that hold their value relatively well.”

Image of beige Toyota Supra by John GorehamColor Is In the Eye of the Beholder
Interestingly, beige is number two behind yellow as the color most likely to boost your resale value. Who knew? The thing we find most interesting about this is that beige and gold meet at some point on the spectrum of car colors. It must be a fine line that buyers draw.

Style Matters
Although beige was number two overall for the best color for resale value among all vehicle types, it is the worst color for depreciation in the SUV segment. Shoppers of SUVs are looking for out-of-the-ordinary colors. “The low depreciation of yellow, green, and orange SUVs reflects the imbalance between how many people are picking these colors compared to how many buyers want them,” said Brauer. “These colors are more often associated with fast cars like sports and muscle cars and help make SUVs a less boring vehicle choice.”

You can view the full study at this link to see how your car’s color will impact your trade-in value. Before you go please take a moment to tell us in the comments below how you feel about beige cars.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

All images by the author. Re-use with permission only.