I'm struggling to work my model with this amount of edge-loops/handles. Can anyone suggest a less cumbersome approach?
If you wish to keep the overall topology of the hood, you cannot. However if you do want less vertices, there are two ways to go about doing this. The first being to lower the subdivison surface modifier. Of course this only works if you used a sud surf modifier in the first place and haven't applied it. The second way is to delete loop cuts. To begin go into edit mode and select the loop(s) you wish to remove by pressing ALT + RightClick. Press SHIFT + ALT + RightClick to select more than one. Once selected press x to open the remove tab, finally press G to remove the loop cut.
Ben, although I can imagine a situation in which the number of vertices in the hood of the car are "too many", without any other information, I don't know why you think you have too many--certainly not on the order of tens of vertices too many. I can't imagine how to get the shapes of your hood with fewer. The mesh is really rather simple as it stands, and there's not much I can think of to do to optimize it.