Honda’s latest concept car offering made its cracking debut at the 2009 LA Auto Show and from the looks of things; it’s everything we thought it would be, for better or for worse. Called the Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport – P-NUT for short – the new concept is Honda’s entry to the micro coupe market. Although concept cars generally are a hit-or-miss upon first glance, the P-NUT’s aesthetic appearance falls on the latter. We’re quite not sure how to explain it, except that it looks like some sort of gigantic flat iron, which, if you’re keeping track, isn’t a good thing.
We’ve seen some pretty crazy concept vehicles over the years and the P-NUT surely ranks among one of the weirdest we’ve seen in a while. For starters, the car has no side mirrors, which isn’t all too surprising given that this is a concept. In place of the missing mirrors – at least we think so – is a back-up camera. We’re also still waiting for an explanation as to where the headlights are – of course, it’s in the front but we find it hard to believe that those two slits are the actual headlights.
Continued with press release after the jump.
On the other hand, the P-NUT does have some things going for it. The interior set-up (the driver is seated on the front center with the two rear passengers seated on both sides of the driver) allows for spacious cabin. According to Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, "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...the Honda P-NUT concept introduces function-oriented concepts, it also shows that small cars don’t have to compromise on style or amenities."
Another thing worth mentioning is that the P-NUT has a number of different powertrains that can be fitted to the car. Among these include a standard small displacement internal combustion engine, a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, or a battery-electric powertrain.
The Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study model demonstrates a futuristic concept for an ultra-compact and sophisticated city coupe, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Conceived around a small "footprint" for maximum convenience in tight urban settings, the packaging concept integrates a center driving position configuration and a rear powertrain layout. The exterior styling leverages crisp angles with dynamic flowing lines that originate from the front of the vehicle and span outward toward the rear. The end result is a sleek and aggressive exterior that also allows for a spacious and open interior with excellent visibility.
"A new generation is discovering the benefits of living in urban centers that provide convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities," said Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "The Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle."
The exterior styling is intended to capture a future direction for premium sophistication while balancing the need for maximum interior space and an aerodynamic appearance. The interior layout, in conjunction with the rear powertrain design, contributes prominently to the exterior’s overall shape.
The layout of the interior space, with its center driving position flanked by two rear seats, provides generous legroom for all occupants, roughly the equivalent of a mid-sized sedan in a vehicle that has an exterior footprint similar to a micro car. Interior functionality is increased by rear seating areas that fold up and out of the way to increase storage capacity. The windshield serves as a heads-up display for the navigation system and the back-up camera.
The modular rear engine bay, depicted on the exterior by blue composite material, is designed to accommodate a wide variety of potential propulsion technologies including a conventional small displacement internal combustion engine, a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, or a battery-electric powertrain.
"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," said Marek. "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."
The Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Los Angeles developed the P-NUT design study model. Honda R&D Americas began its operations in California in 1975 with local market research activities and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 33 years to include all aspects of new vehicle research, design and development. Recent Honda-brand efforts include trend-setting products such as the Pilot, Ridgeline, Element, Civic Coupe and Civic Si Coupe.
Size class: Ultra-compact
Layout: Rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Length: 3,400 mm
Width: 1,750 mm
Height: 1,439 mm
Powertrain: Internal-combustion engine, hybrid-electric or battery-electric