Blue is the most popular car colour with drivers, an AA/Populus survey shows.
However a number of motorists end up with their second-choice colour, the poll revealed.
Given a choice of colour, drivers opted first for blue, followed by silver, black and red.
The most popular colour already owned, as opposed to wished for, was silver followed by blue, black and red.
Black was particularly popular with 18 to 34-year-olds but only around half that number actually had a black vehicle.
Just 13pc of drivers in that age group would pick a silver car, yet 22pc had one.
Silver was the favourite of older drivers, being the number one choice among those aged 55 or more.
Silver was seen as the most dirt-resistant colour, while gold, yellow, green and white were voted the least easy car colours to keep clean.
Silver vehicles were also rated as the easiest to sell, followed by black.
AA president in the UK, Edmund King, said: "Brighter-coloured cars, which have been popular in the past when the economy was more buoyant, seem to have slipped way down the league.
"The results show a discrepancy between desired colour of choice and actual colour of car as often the owner may not have a choice."
Meanwhile, motorists living in Scotland were the most likely to own a personalised number plate, according to research by car insurance company elephant.co.uk.
See Motoring, P52