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by Tim Beissmann

Honda has unveiled a concept car at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show with the face of Darth Vader, the seating configuration of a McLaren F1 and the name of a legume.

Introducing the P-NUT, or Personal-Neo Urban Transport for those of you not on acronym basis with the latest ultra-compact city coupe from the Japanese manufacturer.

With dimensions similar to a Fiat 500, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas, Inc., Dave Marek, said the P-NUT has a sleek and aggressive exterior without compromising interior space or visibility.

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“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 micro-car 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,” he said.

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The seating layout was designed to give all passengers the legroom of a mid-size sedan and to fold flat to provide extra storage space, while the swooping glass windscreen/roof acts as a heads-up display for the navigation system and reversing camera.

The modular engine bay at the rear is capable of housing a conventional internal combustion engine, a hybrid petrol-electric powertrain or a fully electric plug-in system.

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Marek said the versatile rear-wheel drive coupe was aimed at all consumers in the city environment.

“A new generation is discovering the benefits of living in urban centres that provide convenient access to business, entertainment and social opportunities.

“The Personal-Neo Urban Transport concept explores the packaging and design potential for a vehicle conceived exclusively around the city lifestyle.”




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