Honda has pulled the covers off its new Gear concept at the Montreal Auto Show in Canada and, like many car companies are doing these days, they've shown us a car without telling us much about it.

Yet, as with many concept cars, it likely holds more than just a few clues about a future production model.

In this case there are a few scenarios. On the one hand it could be showing us some of the design cues that could be seen in the next-generation Jazz, due in 2014.

On the other hand, the concept could signal a new, smaller and sportier hatchback based on the Jazz platform but without the same practicality constraints.

Such a design would make it a direct rival to hatchbacks like the VW Polo, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic - vehicles the Jazz has battled to compete with in the trendy youth market because of its MPV-like design.

Interestingly, Honda says the Gear concept combines charisma with personality - something it thinks is a unique selling point:

Honda's North American design director Dave Marek said: “Subcompact cars are usually either utilitarian, but uninspiring or they're fun, zippy cars that are impractical and too expensive for the Gen-Y buyer.

“The Gear Concept tears down those walls - it's practical but fun, customizable, connected and affordable. Everything that young, discerning urban buyers would want in a car.”

Its design is relatively macho by small car standards and its front end even bears a resemblance to the first-generation Honda Civic of 1973.