I figured it would be interesting to have a thread to compile and discus some current (or past) examples of details on motor vehicles that we find nice, interesting, or plain bad. Designs are getting more and more wacky for better or worse and the results are often hit or miss.
I'll start with my love for the current Mazda grille:
It's such a beautiful way to negotiate two surface planes on the face. The trim piece is deeper than it is tall with a nice gap/reveal around the outer edge. The mesh itself is gorgeous. Also really nice how it's moderately concave and is recessed below the hood line.
This MAzda is also a 2-for-1 because of those fog lamps. I've never seen a smaller pair of these on a car, and it's beautifully minimal. I have no clue if they're under-sized or if they work well, but the whole bumper and integration of the fog lamps are so well executed and clean. I sincerly hope other automakers are taking note of how to do clean/minimal/tasteful design work with their bumpers...
For me, the front end of the Accord is a combination of some of the best and ... least complete(?) detailing going on now at Honda. I 100% think these are the best headlights in the pedestrian car class right now. They've done a stellar job keeping them clean and modern but interesting with the LED array repeating in a simple line/pattern. There isn't 10 different doodads and spiraling bulbs inside them (no headlight "fishbowl" as the designers at Hyundai would call them). There's just that single array with a thin indicator bar above and the yellow reflector hidden on the side face.
I am ambivalent to the chrome uni-brow on the rest of the car's face and actually prefer the grille from the Civic more. The shapes and very well integrated overall though... up until the bare grille. I honestly wonder if Honda ran out of time and forgot about what surface to fill it with. There are a total of 4 different surfaces in there, thankfully hidden partially by all the black. Looking at the new Insight makes me think further than there was a face in mind that just slipped through the cracks. They better fix it for the MMC.
Running off Mazda's successful job with the CX-5, I think The new A8 is on the opposite side of the spectrum in regards to detailing. The thick, flat chrome border around the grille is just awful. Such a lazy and slapdash effort. The result is cheap-looking and dull. This is made worse by the obnoxiously large and complicated headlamps and equally flamboyant fog lamp housing/intakes.
One thing I can comend Audi on doing is aligning the horizontal slats of their grill with individual elements bordering it to the sides. The LED bar, bottom edge of headlight, etc. all indirectly run into the grille nicely.
The RR Velar is wonderfully detailed all around, but my favorite part is the alignment and symmetry of the headlights, side vents, and tail lights. I also love how that strip along the bottom starts from the front intakes (also wonderfully detailed with integrated DRLS) and runs up parallel to the body panels.