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Honda Personal Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) Concept: 2009 LA Auto Show


The idea of a tiny HONDA CITY car for US customers is has been met with a degree of skepticism over the years, but with Smart Cars paving the way for cars like the upcoming Scion iQ more automakers are pushing forward with HONDA CITY cars of their own. Honda's Personal Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) Concept debuting here at the LA Auto Show, like the iQ, uses a three passenger layout. But instead of the powertrain riding upfront, under the hood, the Honda packages it all in the rear and uses rear-drive—just like the Smart. Honda says the P-NUT's engine bay could use an internal combustion engine, a hybrid drivetrain or a fuly electric propulsion system.

The P-NUT, which was designed at Honda's Advanced Design Studio in Los Angeles, is133.8-inches long, 68.8-inches wide and 56.7 inches tall. That makes it slightly wider, longer and shorter than an iQ. But unlike that car, Honda places the the driver in the center position, with two seats behind. And they claim the P-NUT provides the occupant roominess of a midsize sedan. "The objective of the exterior and interior designers was to explore the potential for a new type of small segment category vehicle that overcomes many of the objections for existing ultra-compact designs," says Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas.

Could a version of the P-Nut make it to production? Perhaps. Honda's crosstown rival is preparing to launch the iQ here. And Mitsubishi will bring the electric iMiev microcar here and possibly the gasoline powered i too. So it seems likely that Honda will follow suit. We think the P-NUT could be the best-looking of the bunch—but then, concept cars always have the edge on design.



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