Two-tone paint jobs are back with a distinct European flair. In the last few years about 20 models with the feature, largely with bodies and roofs in different colors, have hit showrooms across Europe with more to come. So far, the look is largely confined to compact hatchbacks and the surging SUV/crossover segment.
Automakers say they are simply trying to give customers more choices, though the options typically appear as part of higher-content, higher-priced trim levels. Designers say it lets them play with color as a styling element and break up visual mass as safety regulations mandate thicker pillars and higher beltlines.
Buyers of Citroen's new C3 Aircross SUV, for example, can mix and match three roof colors and eight body colors.
"It's incredible how people react to the bi-tone colors," said Alexandre Malval, head of design at Citroen, which offers two-tone options on four models. "If you give them two colors to assemble, immediately the car has different personalities. Red with a white roof is a little bit sporty; cream with a black roof is a little more solid and tough."