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Auto Moto's all-weather three-wheeler packs a wallop

Upcoming vehicle appears zippy enough to convert the scooter covey to the three-wheelies crowd.

Auto Moto three-wheeler
Auto Moto

Three-wheel rides aren't big surprises here in Asia. Thailand has its Tuk-tuk, Southeast Asia its rickshaws or trishaws, the Philippines has its tricycles.

However, we're more familiar with these chariots as taxis for commuters. For personal transportation, the West, in the throes of economic recession, is turning increasingly toward affordable and more economical vehicles, particularly the three-wheel variant. While similar outings like Peugeot's HYmotion3 compressor concept vehicle look a lot yummier in the design department, the upcoming Auto Moto appears less intimidating and zippy enough to convert the scooter covey to the three-wheelies crowd.

Auto Moto
The "rocker system" lets riders carve corners and take turns just like a two-wheeler, while keeping the rear wheels flat on the ground for stability. Auto Moto

The vehicle has two major ticks in its checkbox: a bang-for-the-buck fuel system that coughs up 83mpg on the 150cc Honda-designed GY6 engine, and a full windshield and sunroof we've seen only in the two-wheeled Honda Gyro Canopy on Singapore roads, to keep out the elements.

This economical mule packs a surprising wallop in features for its size. For one, it unselfishly sits two in a tandem seat design that provides comfortable armrests for the rear passenger. There's also a lockable trunk for storage, four speakers with MP3 connection, and a carbon fiber-style dashboard that should be familiar enough with motorists.

For handling, the onboard Automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gives optimal engine rpm, while a tilting "rocker system" offers enough traction for this scooter to take on corners and turns just like its bigger motorcycle cousin. The 2.1 gallons of fuel capacity is expected to provide about 160 miles of cruising range. And for a bit of personalization, you get a choice of nine colors to pick from.

The Auto Moto rolls out in the U.S. in early 2009.

(Via Crave Asia)