Honda’s vision of a “futuristic concept for an ultra-compact and stylish city coupe”
3 December 2009

This is the Honda P-NUT 1+2 concept car, which the company has just launched at the LA motor show.

The P-NUT (Personal-Neo Urban Transport), demonstrates Honda’s vision of a “futuristic concept for an ultra-compact and stylish city coupe”. It is, the company says, designed to explore what an urban-only car could look like in 10 to 15 years' time.

The Honda P-NUT follows the trend for small tandem city cars seen at recent motor shows with the Nissan Land Glider and VW L1. The P-NUT, however, features an extra seat that the other two do not.

See the Honda P-NUT pics

It is the work of Brit and Coventry design graduate Andy Foster, who is based at Honda’s LA studio. Honda says the P-NUT has been designed to maximise interior space and visibility, while also being an aerodynamic shape to improve efficiency as much as possible.

The futuristic P-NUT’s rear engine bay has been designed with flexibility in mind and can accommodate a range of powertrains. A small internal combustion engine can be fitted, as well as a hybrid system and an all-electric one too. It is this engine bay, as well as its McLaren F1-style 1+2 seating layout, which has influenced the styling as much as anything.

Its central driving position is flanked by two rear seats to try to maximise leg room. Honda says rear leg room is equivalent to that of a mid-size saloon car, but in a car with the footprint of a microcar.

The three-seat design emanates from internal research that shows that 90 per cent of urban journeys are made either solo or with one passenger, said Foster, while only five per cent of journeys are taken with three people.

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Cabin practicality was top of the agenda too. The rear seats flip up and fold away to increase stowage capacity. Leg room for all passengers is also said to match a normal family hatch and it also features a head-up display for the sat-nav system.

The P-NUT, which has been penned at Honda's US design studio, is 3400mm long, 1750mm wide and 1439mm high.

Its windscreen serves as a head-up display for its navigation system and also doubles as a reversing camera screen.

Honda’s US design director, Dave Marek, said the P-NUT is the firm’s attempts to show how urban transport of the future may look.

“The P-NUT concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle,” he said. “The objective of the exterior and interior designers was to explore the potential for a new type of small vehicle that overcomes many of the obstacles for existing microcar designs.

“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 radical, mini hot rod-style concept took only six months to get from sketches to finished item. Marek added that the 3.4-metre concept is conceived around what young urbanites will want in the future and that includes a "sense of freedom and agility" assisted by the huge glass area and excellent visibility it is designed to afford.

Honda has confirmed it has no plans to put the P-NUT into production.

Chas Hallett/Mark Tisshaw

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2 December 2009

Goes to show that British ingenuity married with Japanese engineering, makes world beating design concepts...But who came up with the name? Bit whacky....

The future is looking an interesting place to drive... That future is here soon!

Roll on CR-Z roll on NSX.

3 December 2009

"Honda said it has no plans to put the P-NUT into production".

To be fair these statements should be at the introduction of an article not at the end...

As for the design these things are cool, and i hope there are plans somewhere for something similar to be made.

3 December 2009

So? There are already cars, which are 3.4m long and 1.75m wide or less....and they can seat 4!

3 December 2009

The P-NUT appears to use Gordon Murray's patented "Compact Seating Arrangement", including the cut-away drivers seat, albeit in a larger car than the T25 or T27.

I hope Honda are paying the licence fee!

3 December 2009

Shame they arent brave enough to put it into production. Its a much more attractive 'city car' proposition than either the Smart or iQ.

Lets hope they develope the idea into something they can make, and dont take too long about it.

4 December 2009

Cannot but agree more. Cannot believe that this is the best they could think of. Honda used to be pioneers, now unfortunately they are not. My old (now sold) A-class (launched 1997, so design/concept wise launched a good 15 years ago) could seat 5, plus their luggage in practically the same foot print (3.6m*1.72m), and on top of that with a sandwich floor designed to take on fual cells and/or batteries for future electric drive!

7 December 2009

Lucky Honda didnt call it a Personal-Neo Urban Shuttle... Now that would be awkard!!

Looks like Honda are looking for a model to put in below the Fit/Jazz ranges in the not too distant future... dont think they would have shown this otherwise!!

Think Hondas current range reflects what buyers want at the moment... I expect Honda will react as buyers come back for the next generation of automotive vehicles... Ones that dont 100% rely upon fossil fuel power! Thats the future, and Honda is a forward thinking company...

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