Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. says it is exploring the potential of super-small cars with its Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept unveiled today at the Los Angeles auto show.

Called the P-NUT for short, the car is a 3-seat, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive “city coupe” suitable for urban living.

Honda says urban populations are expected to grow in coming years, and cramped cities are unsuitable for larger vehicles.

“The Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle,” Dave Marek, director-advanced design for Honda R&D Americas Inc. says in a statement.

“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 P-NUT is designed around a center driving position, with room behind for two passengers. Honda says legroom is equivalent to that of a midsize sedan.

The rear seats fold up to make for more cargo space, and the windshield doubles as a display, with a heads-up system projecting the navigation and back-up camera functions in the sparse but stylized interior.

The car’s engine bay, noted on the exterior by blue composite material, can hold an internal combustion engine, gas-electric hybrid system or a battery-electric motor.

Styling of the 134-in. (340-cm) long, 57-in. (144-cm) tall and 69-in. (175 cm) wide P-NUT is dubbed “sleek and aggressive” by Honda, with “crisp angles (and) dynamic flowing lines that originate from the front of the vehicle and span outward toward the rear.”

The P-NUT is about 30 ins. (76 cm) shorter in length and 3 ins. (8 cm) shorter in height than Honda’s current smallest model in the U.S., the Fit subcompact.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com