The Honda Skydeck is a design study for a replacement to the FR-V and showcases the company's future design language.
Like the FR-V, it's a six-seater, but with three rows of two seats rather than two rows of three. They are all hung from the Skydeck's tall central tunnel - a design feature that the car's exterior designer, Shinya Uchiyama, says could make production, despite the problems that would pose in crash tests.
Apart from providing exceptional footroom, the seats require usefully fewer parts and allow the centre row of seats to neatly slide beneath the front pair, easing access to the rear row, an arrangement facilitated by the Skydeck's exceptionally low floor. The rearmost row folds flat conventionally.
Honda is keen to expand its hybrid range into a number of different segments, and that is likely to include people carriers.
“Honda wants to introduce a range of hybrid vehicles that appeal to different markets,” a source told Autocar. “There are currently no plans to put the Skydeck into production, but you can see the way we are going with this.”
One significant feature of the Skydeck is that it relocates the Insight’s hybrid system battery, which normally lies beneath the rear floor to save on passenger space.
The battery is now mounted within the centre console that runs along the cabin floor. It may be a key feature of a next-generation Honda IMA hybrid system designed to power bigger vehicles.
This system is not impossible for a production car, says Skydeck interior designer Yukio Enui, and saves weight and cost as there are fewer parts needed. The tunnel could also house an electricity-generating stack for a fuel cell version of the car.
There’s no word on engines; this concept - unveiled at the Tokyo motor show - is designed to gauge reaction to the styling and three-row seating layout.
For the show MPV, Honda has installed slim, lightweight sports seats with mesh backrests. The second row slides forward and under the front seats to maximise space.
The front doors hinge up and forward, while the rears slide backwards to allow access to the airy cabin. However, these are theatrical and won't make production.