American Honda Motor is presenting at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show its new Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) design study model. P-NUT is essentially a concept for a futuristic ultra-compact and sophisticated city coupe. Featuring a small "footprint," a center driving position configuration and a rear powertrain layout, P-NUT is perfect for navigating urban areas.
P-NUT features an exterior marked by dynamic lines that smoothly flow from the front and spanning outward towards the rear. This gives P-NUT an exterior that is not only sleek and dynamic but also provides for a roomy open interior with superb visibility.
Intriguingly, this exterior styling for P-NUT does not only explore a future path for premium sophistication, it also demonstrates how Honda could create a balance between the need for an aerodynamic appearance and the need for optimal interior space.
Interestingly, the interior layout and the rear powertrain design of P-NUT are a major factor to the overall shape of its exterior. The interior features a layout in which the center driving position is flanked by two rear seats, thereby allowing for generous legroom for all occupants.
To compare, P-NUT – with an exterior footprint akin to a micro car -- offers legroom that is as generous as that on a mid-sized sedan. Moreover, the rear seats can be folded up and out of the way to give way for more storage room. To allow for an optimal interior room, the windshield functions as a heads-up display for the navigation system and the back-up camera.
On the other hand, P-NUT features a modular rear engine bay that is marked on the exterior by blue composite material and designed to house different propulsion systems like a small displacement combustion engine, a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, or a battery-electric powertrain.
P-NUT was developed in Los Angeles by the Advanced Design Studio of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Since 1975, Honda R&D Americas has been growing its capabilities, which now include all aspects of new vehicle research, design and development.
In fact, it played a role in a number of recent Honda-brand products like the Civic Coupe, Civic Si Coupe, Element, Pilot and Ridgeline. Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, remarked that P-NUT explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle that is conceived to focus on urban lifestyle, noting that a new generation of individuals is beginning to see the advantages in urban centers that offer convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities.
Marek remarked that P-NUT exterior and interior designers aimed to explore the possibility of a new type of small-segment-category vehicle that counters the objections for current micro-car designs. He added that while P-NUT introduces function-oriented concepts, it also demonstrates that small cars need not compromise on style or amenities.