What colour 4WD is best, and why?

When it comes time to buy a 4WD, you’ve got to find one that you like. For many people, colour is something that will make or break a deal. There are some colour 4WD’s I wouldn’t buy, and there are quite a few I would have.

That said, there’s a few things you probably should think about when picking the colour of your 4WD.

4WD's at Mundaring
What colour 4WD is best?

How safe is it?

The first, and probably the most important factor to think about when choosing the colour of your 4WD is how safe it is. Now, you might completely disagree with me here, but some colour vehicles are not conducive to safety, and the reason is simple; they blend in and aren’t seen easily.

Think about it; I’m sure there are times you’ve missed a vehicle coming towards you on the road. Do you remember what colour they were? If their headlights are on, you have a much better chance of seeing them (which is why I always drive with mine on), but without the lights on, anything that blends in to the surrounds is much harder to see, and thus less safe.

Bright colours are fantastic for safety. Bright blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, whatever it is, if it stands out, you have the most chance of being seen. White is not bad, but not the best either.

The worst colour 4WD you can buy in terms of safety is silver, grey, or black. These blend in with the sky on an overcast day, the road and are easily the most missed vehicles on the road. Any dark colour is not ideal either – dark blue is easily missed.

What colour 4WD is best?
Grey or silver 4WD’s are usually the last to be seen

How hot will it get?

Those of you who own black 4WD’s will agree with me here. If you’ve hopped into even a white 4WD when its been in the sun in some of the warmer parts of Australia, you’ll know its sometimes impossible to touch the seat belt buckles, or the steering wheel.

Black cars, and dark coloured vehicles are substantially worse. They absorb the most amount of heat, and if you leave your car out in the sun for any period of time it’s not pleasant at all to hop into.

Black 4WD colour choice
There’s nothing quite like getting into a black car that’s been out in the sun

Will it show the scratches easily?

Again, a win for the lighter coloured vehicles. Dark coloured 4WD’s are shocking for showing scratches, and it requires a lot of time and effort to polish a dark car compared to a lighter one. I know a few people with black 4WD’s, and they’d never buy one again purely for this reason.

Our old hilux with pin stripes
Pin stripes are much more obvious on some colour 4WD’s, like my original Hilux

How easy is it to get replacement panels?

Sometimes, accidents happen. Of course, you can spray any panel any colour you want, but if you have a common colour chance are getting another panel that matches off the bat isn’t so hard.

I damaged my quarter panel up north, and managed to find an A1 condition replacement from the 4WD wreckers for $220. Much better than having to pay an insurance excess!

Dmax damaged panel
The damaged quarter panel on our Dmax. $220 for a perfect condition one from the wreckers!

How long will the paint last?

If you look at older 4WD’s, what colour lasts the longest? White, without a doubt is the best option in terms of paint longevity. Often the clear coat is mixed in with the paint, and you won’t end up with the clear coat peeling off and bubbling, like it did on a lot of 80 Series Land Cruisers.

The worst colour paint for longevity is red, dark green or blue and black. I had a red/maroon coloured Hilux, and I loved the colour, but it was a perfect example of a bad colour choice in terms of paint longevity. The roof was peeling badly, and the bonnet did too.

Ironically, sometimes there is just a bad batch of paint. 80 Series Land Cruisers fell into this category; pretty much every single colour 80 Series Land Cruiser had clear coat peeling issues, except for one. Any guesses? White. White was all good, and I’m told this is because they mixed the clear coat into the paint.

100 series paint rust
A freshly painted 100 series made to look like its rusting!

What colour do you like?

Of course, its your 4WD, and you have to live with it. For me, I probably wouldn’t buy a 4WD in a colour I hated, unless it was an amazing deal. You can buy what ever colour you want, but sometimes its nice to know a bit more about what its going to cost you!

What’s the best colour then?

There’s a reason most fleet and company vehicles are white. It is by far the best colour for longevity, scratches, replacement panels and its quite safe. Yep, its boring as, but I’ll take practicality over looks any day of the week. It’s best colour for off road vehicles that are getting hammered all the time too.

At the end of the day, the deal you get when buying a 4WD is more important than colour, but I wouldn’t pass up a bit of thinking about it before you lay your hard earned down!

White 4WD's are very practical
Yep, we are original in car colour choice!

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  1. Hey Wayne,

    No worries. Boring, but practical! I wouldn’t get anything else

    All the best

  2. Wayne Brown says:

    Well you helped me make up my mind. White for me. I am buying a 4WD for the first time.

  3. Hi Grande,

    That is true, although I don’t really have any reason to blend in. Why would you need to?

    All the best

  4. Grande Fromage says:

    One reason to pick a dark colour is to blend in when you’ve camped for the night. White will stick out like a sore thumb unless it’s just snowed 🙂