Article by Car and Driver-
Hiding under its silk shroud prior to Honda's L.A. auto show press conference, the Personal Neo Urban Transport concept's shape certainly recalled its P-NUT acronym, and that impression didn't fade once the sheet was pulled off: The thing looks like a peanut. It also looks like The Predator-you know, the relentless killing machine that chased the Governator through the jungle a couple of decades back-when viewed from straight on. We think that's pretty awesome. (The name is alright by us, too. Cynicism is so five years ago.)
Honda says the P-NUT is a design study intended to peer 10 to 15 years into the future of urban transportation. The company says it studied what city-dwellers want in their vehicles, and the results guided this car's styling and packaging. The concept is a three-passenger affair, with a center driving position flanked by two rear seats. The layout was guided, Honda says, by the fact that most urbanites drive alone or with a single passenger and the designers' desire to create "mid-size seating room" in a so-called "ultra-compact" vehicle.
The rear seats fold out of the way to create more storage room and the cabin is airy-the layout helps with that-with lots of glass, including in front of the driver's feet. The pilot of the P-NUT grips a yoke-style steering wheel and looks through a windshield that also displays the navigation and rearview-camera screens. Honda says that propulsion could theoretically come courtesy of conventional gasoline, gas/electric hybrid, or all-electric powertrains fitted via the modular engine bay at the rear of the vehicle-it's the blue section. The wheels are 18 inchers, wrapped in 205/40 Yokohama S.Drive performance tires. The rubber carries a Y rating, which means it's good for 186 mph-not likely to be reached in the P-NUT's urban playgrounds, even with a jet engine-but it's at least a small nod toward sportiness.
The P-NUT concept's existence shows Honda's intention to explore the burgeoning urban runabout segment that includes vehicles such as the Smart Fortwo and the European Toyota iQ, the latter of which is probably coming to the U.S. as a Scion. The P-NUT is 133.9 inches long, 68.9 inches wide, and 56.7 inches tall; a Fortwo is nearly 28 inches shorter in length, 7.5 inches narrower, and 4.0 inches taller. The UK-market iQ is 116.4 inches long, 65.5 inches wide, and 58.5 inches tall.
Yes, the tiny P-NUT is a bit weird and a bit fanciful. But it's also pretty cool, and it shows where the typically prescient people at Honda see a portion of the automotive world moving. So city folk, get ready: things look like they're about to get tiny.
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