Why do we spend so much time talking about cars? After all, a car is, in its simplest form, a tool that we use to get ourselves from one place to the other. Yet we have made them so much more than that. We have brand upon brand, each working to excel in the areas of performance, design, and technology to offer something that no other brand can. For example, a topical competition in the automotive world right now is the rivalry between the 2022 Honda Accord and the 2022 Nissan Altima.
Both compact cars come from leading brands and provide a similar (though not identical) experience; yet, we spend time critiquing the two, debating between them, trying to arrive at a conclusion of which one is objectively better. So, why do we do this? Whether we are always consciously aware of it or not, we are attracted to finely executed detail.
It’s All About the Art
There is an argument to be made that all car buffs are artists at heart. Some of you self-proclaimed car buffs who are reading this may not consider yourself to be artistically inclined, but keep reading and you may have a different perspective on the matter. We are attracted to beauty; we don’t have to think about it, our eyes are simply drawn to that which is pleasing. If a gorgeous sunset catches your eye or a proud deer appears from the woods as you travel down the road, your eyes simply begin to follow beauty—without needing to make a conscious decision about it.
So it is with art; even those who may not think of themselves as particularly artistic know a fine masterpiece when they see one. But why? Because there is order, symmetry, and close attention to detail in, say, Michaelangelo’s work and that of his Renaissance companions. You don’t need to be a wine-sipping art critic to have your breath taken away by such works of art; something just clicks when you see it. When comparing the 2022 Accord and the 2022 Altima, one does demonstrate more successful attention to detail, resulting in a more appealing vehicle overall.
A Tale of Two Vehicles
The more we look inwardly at ourselves, the more we recognize the quest for beauty and satisfaction. This also applies to what we drive. Think about two different cars you may see on the road on a given day:
First, there is the vehicle with half its bumper torn off, dented in every major section, ten years overdue for a paint job, emitting engine coughs that signify disaster. You may not be driving a Ferrari yourself, but you know that your car is at least in better condition than that.
You continue driving, almost forgetting the encounter with this unfortunate vehicle. Then, a few minutes later, you see a glimmering sports car in bright ruby red, with sharp, angular features; symmetrical architecture; a well-polished coat of paint; and the exciting rev of a healthy engine. You may not be driving the first car you saw, but you know your car isn’t at the level of this one. What’s the difference between these two reactions? One has lost its beauty and is devoid of artistic value; the sports car, meanwhile, presents itself beautifully—as a piece of art.
Take the Order
I previously mentioned the presence of order in classical art, and I want to come back to this point because, even if it is not the word we would use, “order” is one of the things we most avidly seek when comparing vehicles. Competitive performance specs are great, aesthetically pleasing and functional design features are great, and premium technology is highly sought-after; but, if the car emphasizes one of these things at the expense of the other two, then the car seems to be off-balance and seems less appealing as a whole, even if it excels in one area. It is the integration of these three components which attracts us and helps us to decide whether or not to buy a given vehicle. When these things are all integrated effectively, that is when we deem a vehicle to be excellent. When form is function, there is something beautiful and artistic about this collaborative effort between design and performance.
Accord vs. Altima
Coming back to the comparison we laid out in the beginning, the 2022 Honda Accord and the 2022 Nissan Altima are both vehicles that put beauty and order at the forefront. The 2022 Accord offers an exterior that is sharply angled and boldly colored (with eight color options) to set the mood of speed without even needing to enter the vehicle. What makes the color schemes of the 2022 Accord so appealing is their subtlety. While Honda offers a variety of colors, including two different shades of reds, a shade of blue, black, white, and several shades of gray/silver, none of them are flashy or overpowering; the Accord color schemes solidify the fact that sometimes less really is more.
We spend most of our time inside the vehicle, not looking at the exterior, but a nice-looking exterior provides a warm welcome to passengers; after all, if the exterior is beautiful, people will be drawn into the interior. The symmetry of the outside, combined with its healthy combination of boldness and subtlety appeals to the eyes, making us want to explore the interior, which provides different color schemes and design cues across its trims.
Notable is the Touring 2.0T, which has seating options in black leather with creative and symmetrical, yet non-repetitive stitching patterns, adding a deeper level of intrigue to the interior design. The interior is where the artistic value of the vehicle really matters, as that is where you as the driver will be spending your time. Additionally, that is where your guest passengers will be spending their time, and well-crafted aesthetics can significantly increase the driver and passenger experience. The Accord provides an interior in which you want to stay for a while, not one that you want to get out of as soon as possible. Drivers will come to appreciate this more and more over time, and passengers may verbalize their appreciation of its sleek, contemporary appeal.
Nissan is another brand that excels in beauty, aesthetics, and design. The 2022 Altima certainly follows suit, with a dark complexion and sleek design cues. However, as good as Nissan is with luxury features, the Altima is just not as sweepingly attractive as the Accord. One of the biggest artistic benefits of the Accord is its use of contrasting colors and wooden accents in the interior. These small details may not seem necessary, but it is these kinds of details that make the vehicle more artful (a.k.a. nice to look at).
Both the Accord and the Altima are excellent vehicles that understand and capture the artistic value that I have delved into today, and I don’t think you’d be disappointed in either one. But the Accord Hybrid simply stands out thanks to its precise, appealing attention to detail.
Arts and Crafts
As I said, we could have just one standard car that serves as a bland but functional tool to get us from one place to another. But we don’t, because we crave something more than mere functionality. Will a car ever fully satisfy your craving for beauty? No. That craving has been a mystery that has baffled philosophers, artists, and people of all kinds throughout all of human history.
However, it is good to experience beauty and artistic excellence wherever possible, and even if you don’t consider yourself an art buff, there is no denying that a well-designed and well-integrated car is a work of art. Want to see what I mean? Next time you see a 2022 Accord, pay attention to its refined, balanced, and artful details—both inside and out. Tuning your eye to appreciate a beautiful vehicle is rewarding all on its own.