What’s Honda cooking these days? That’s the question we asked ourselves when our European spy photographers sent us images of this Frankenstein of a City, which has been stretched and mutilated to fit vastly different underpinnings from what it originally came with.

Most noticeable on this cut-and-shut prototype are the wheel arch flares that hide a much wider track, as well as longer rear doors that point to a significant increase in wheelbase length. The City already has plenty of rear legroom, so imagine how much you can stretch out in the back of this thing…

The front end has also been made longer, and the rear bumper has been extended to fill out the extra length. Overall, the increase in dimensions appear to go beyond what is typical for a full model change, so this likely isn’t a next-generation City with the current car’s body panels, but something from a segment above.

An Autocar report bears this out – its sources claim the mule is actually Honda’s next dedicated hybrid model underneath. Announced earlier in the year, the US-built model is set to reach showrooms next year, and whereas the current City Hybrid uses the Sport Hybrid Intelligent Dual Clutch (i-DCD) system, this one will be powered by the company’s more powerful two-motor powertrain, currently used in the Accord Hybrid.

That car uses a 2.0 litre i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine paired to two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery that form the Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) system. Total system output is rated at 212 hp, and the car is capable of a combined fuel economy figure of 20.4 km per litre.

Honda’s last dedicated hybrid was also built on a stretched City platform – the Insight used the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system that combined a 87 hp/121 Nm 1.3 litre engine and a 14 hp/78 Nm electric motor.