New Car Shopping…Where Are the Colors?

We’re shopping for a new vehicle. The wondervan, Inferno Red, btw…is dying. It’s slow, but inevitable. We’ve had it for 10 years and it has over 125,000 miles on it, a few inches of dog hair in the back and it hates cold mornings. (California coastal cold mornings, which are nothing compared to the rest of the county, so you can see how fragile she’s become.)

Been a good minivan! The smallest of the Caravans, crank windows, only one bench seat…I hate to see her go. But it’s time.

Bonnie, the dog, will miss her. It’s her kennel away from home.

So, we started looking. Now, if money weren’t an issue, I’d probably go for a lime green Kia Soul. I mean, that is a car company that knows colors! But, we need more cargo space so we’re looking a compact truck.

Probably a Ford Ranger with a camping shell so we have a place for Bonnie’s bed, blankets, toys, water bowl, treats, leashes… (I like her comfy when I’m in Starbucks working on the latest literary masterpiece.) (Writing, not reading.) We want one of this year models, before the normal sized cabs become extinct.

What are our color selections? White. Black. Silver/Grey. Two shades of red. Blue.


I seriously wonder about the American car buying public. (Pardon me, it was brought to my attention that the rest of the country does good with fascinating colors…maybe this is just a California rant…)

Drive any Californian freeway. Sit at any Californian intersection. And pay attention. White. White. White. White. Black. Grey. Silver. Black. White. Black. Black. Black. White. Grey…into infinity and beyond! Rare…a red car! About as rare…a blue car! And shocker…a green one!

Then there are the Kia’s…burnt orange. Lime green… Ah, I love them!

To me, the most important aspect of a car color involves how visible it makes to me other drivers. I have no desire to drive an asphalt colored car. Or a fog colored car. Or a car that blends into twilight. Nine times out of ten, if I nearly come to blows with another car it’s because I didn’t see them. Sure, sometimes they were stupid and threw themselves in front of me…but more often, I simply didn’t see them. Because they looked just like the background!

Even worse with motorcycles.

My husband drives a Yamaha. He recently wanted to buy a new zip-on jumpsuit to wear when riding it. Now, motorcyclists deal a lot with people not seeing them. They know it’s just the nature of the ride. But why, oh why, would somebody already hard to see want to put on a black jumpsuit? Or grey?

“Hey, whooo! Look at me! I’m the color of the ROAD!”

I looked over his shoulder at the websites with jumpsuits and asked, “Yellow? Orange? RED?”

Nope. Black. Grey. Silver.

I want to paint his bike bright yellow, with lime green polka dots or something.

Same thing with my cars. If I had my way, there would be big designs all over my hood, my doors, my trunk… SEE ME!


I don’t get it. Why are we so boring with our car colors? Safety aside, we choose white? Black? Grey/Silver? Gods, we are so BORING!

Really, next time you park in any parking lot, take a moment to look around…a sea of blah. Why can’t we be more entertaining with our car colors? Are we so scared of being noticed?


  1. The Dodge Challenger comes in a color called TORRED. It is AWESOME!

  2. Hey, our Caravan is Inferno Red…it’s a great color! But how many do actually see on the road? And with a Challenger? Should be sparkly and bright… But in this state? More likely to be black or white.

    My sis had a lime green Plymouth Duster…bro had a bright yellow super bug… Where are those colors now? Other than Kia!

  3. There’s three colors I’ve been fond of three particulars colors for awhile now and really wish I could afford a car painted with any of them. Cobra Gold Metallic, Kandy Copper or Envy Green.

  4. Oh, those are beautiful! I like your choices! I also wouldn’t mind Warrior Pink or Indy Yellow Pearl!

  5. You actually are on to something about cars and colors. The harder hit economy states and more conservative states will have fewer flashy cars! Southern states Like Florida have dazzle dazzle colors. Dealerships floor plan according to what they feel will sell beat in their climate, area, culture ect. A whole science goes into the research of this!

    Yes the sad news is the Ford Ranger will not be made after this year. They only make them here in St Paul and that plant is being closed as of Jan 1st. Another sign of the times. They will still make the Ford Sport Trac like mine.

    Happy hunting!

  6. LOL I agree! When my brother got his first car, he had a bunch of artist-friends to paint it all over, with amazing designs and images. We need more ‘art cars’ on our roads.

  7. Naomi, that would be cool! If buying a blank canvas would get me individually done art, I’d do it!

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