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LA show: Honda’s micro-car design in a nutshell

Nut case: Honda's P-NUT concept fits three passengers and, potentially, a choice of petrol, hybrid or electric powertrains.

Honda unveils radical P-NUT ultra-compact urban car concept at LA motor show

Honda logo3 Dec 2009

IT IS impossible not to look at Honda’s all-new P-NUT as, well, a car designed to look like a peanut, but the Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show overnight has a more serious purpose in pointing to a future “ultra-compact and sophisticated city coupe”.

Following similar urban concepts from Nissan (LandGlider), Renault (Twizy) and Volkswagen (L1), to name a few, the P-NUT is three-seater rear-engine rear-drive vehicle claimed to be able to accommodate a number of potential powertrains, including a conventional internal combustion engine, petrol-electric hybrid or full battery-electric.

15 center imageHonda has provided no specific details on the powertrain used in the P-NUT, if there is one.

Created at the advanced design studio of Honda R&D Americas in LA, the P-NUT has a 1+2 seating configuration with a central driving position and two rear positions at either side – an arrangement designed to maximise legroom for all occupants and which, according to Honda, is equivalent to a medium-sized sedan in a vehicle that has an exterior footprint similar to a micro-car.

The rear seats also can be folded to increase storage room, while at the front end the windscreen serves as a head-up display for the navigation system and reversing camera.

The Japanese manufacturer describes the exterior as “sleek and aggressive”, with the outward-spanning design allowing for a “spacious and open interior with excellent visibility”.

The P-NUT is intended to capture “a future direction for premium sophistication while balancing the need for maximum interior space and an aerodynamic appearance”.

It is 3400mm long, 1750mm wide and 1439mm high.

“A new generation is discovering the benefits of living in urban centres that provide convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities,” said Honda R&D Americas director of advanced design, Dave Marek.

“The Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle.”

While the P-NUT is a long distance from a production line, Mr Marek said it demonstrated that ultra-compact cars in the future would be far removed from current models.

“The objective of the exterior and interior designers was to explore the potential for a new type of small-segment category vehicle that overcomes many of the objections for existing micro-car designs,” he said.

“While the Honda P-NUT concept introduces function-oriented concepts, it also shows that small cars don’t have to compromise on style or amenities.”

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