2009 L.A. Auto Show: Honda P-NUT Concept

By William Sprecher
Honda’s Personal-Neo Urban Transport Concept was one of seven world debuts unveiled at this year’s L.A. Auto Show. Like a number of other interesting concepts, the P-NUT showcases Honda’s move to an urban focused design theme. The aim, according to Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, Inc., is to “[explore] the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle."

The exterior attempts to provide a sleek, aggressive look while retaining driver visibility and functionality. The P-NUT features a short wheelbase to increase maneuverability and a unique wedge design with large triangular windscreen stretching from the front bumper to the rear deck. While providing optimal visibility of the urban landscape around it, the windshield doubles as a heads up display system for rear back up cameras as well as the navigation screen.

The ultra compact city car features a spacious three-seater cabin with a centered driver seat and two flanking rear passenger seats providing legroom of a larger sedan in the body of a nimble sub-compact. The rear seats fold neatly away to reveal a large storage space, increasing the car’s functionality. The airy cockpit is of a similar, futuristic design to that of other concept cars and is marked specifically with an aircraft-like steering column.

While there is no word on how the micro-car would be powered, Honda hinted at a variety of different power sources including gasoline-electric hybrid, internal combustion engine or battery-electric as possible solutions. Whatever the choice ends up being, it will reside in the rear of the car providing power to the rear wheels.

There is no talk of what form the P-NUT will take past the drawing board, as Honda has no plans of putting it into production. The concept aims to prove that, given a bit of inspiration, small, efficient cars need sacrifice nothing in pursuing their objective.

"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," explains Marek.

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