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.
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.
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.