Detroit Auto Show: Honda Pilot Sketch Versus RealityS

When we saw the 2009 Honda Pilot in person, we couldn't help but notice it looked conspicuously different from the Honda Pilot sketch released earlier by Honda. It's not news that sketches are often exaggerated versions of the production models (few production models end up with 40-inch rims, for instance). But the Honda Pilot sketch v. Honda Pilot reality is a particularly striking difference. Our analysis below the jump.

Detroit Auto Show: Honda Pilot Sketch Versus RealityS

Overall, the sketch was significantly more aggressive looking than anything we'd expected from Honda. Thus, we were not surprised when the final version showed up as a rather milquetoast version of what was hinted at.

1. Ginormous Wheels &ndash Though the wheels and fenders are larger than sketched, the real difference is the aggressive looking five spokes get swapped for very urban looking six spokes.

2. Ride Height &ndash The Pilot does carry some stature into the production model: it is disappointingly not two feet off the ground.

3. Bumper/Grille/Hood &ndash The sketch promised a refined Grand Cherokee from the front, with sharply raked headlights and grille. What we ended up with is less macho off-roader and more doughy eyed, bucktooth kid from the end of the block who isn't quite right.

4. Short Greenhouse &ndash We knew this was too good to be true. A short, sporty greenhouse on a Honda SUV? The high, slightly angling beltline that was so compelling in the sketch becomes too Duplo block on the production version.

5. Mirrors &ndash We were hoping that Honda would be bold enough to build a truck without mirrors. No luck.

6. Curves &ndash The rear is the most misleading portion. Taking into account that, yes, the car has taillights, there's basically nothing about the curvy rear quarter of the sketch that makes it into the actual production model.

7. Door handles &ndash Once again Honda gives into the pressure we've put on automakers to provide door handles. Wimps.

While we're mostly having a little fun at Honda's expense over a practice that all automakers engage in, this particular example is particularly hilarious given that they released the sketch in December and have been testing this version since at least August according to Honda Pilot spy photos from earlier in the year.