Lotus is applying its expertise in lightweight construction to the CUV segment.

Lotus has taken its philosophy of "performance through light weight" to the crossover world. The British automaker has just completed a total rework of Toyota's Venza crossover, lopping off a significant 1,162 pounds from the CUV's waistline.

Part of Lotus' study to reduce the overall weight of medium-volume crossover utility vehicles, the company started with a body structure based on the dimensions of a 2009 Toyota Venza CUV and set to work making the vehicle lighter. Lotus was able to reduce the vehicle's body mass by 311 pounds, or 37 percent, by utilizing advanced materials like high-strength steels, aluminum, magnesium and composites. Lotus also developed joining and bonding techniques to keep the shell's weight as low as possible.

Lotus also trimmed the fat from the Venza's suspension, interior and chassis, resulting in a total weight savings of 1,162 pounds, or 31 percent of the car's total curb weight.

Moreover, the improves Lotus made actually make the CUV 20 percent more rigid, meaning the car conforms to all federal safety standards.

The use of advanced materials added about $723 to the cost of the body in white design, but that added expensive is more than compensated by the crossover's simpler design. Lotus slashed the CUV's parts count from 269 to 169, making the vehicle $239 cheaper to produce than the standard car.

Lotus has yet to officially test its creation, but is hoping to see a 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption.