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With its distinctive, aero-influenced shape, the Toyota Prius has become something of an instantly-recognizable design icon in its own era. But the next Prius, due out for 2015, will be even more streamlined, and it’ll weigh less, according to a new report.

An unnamed Toyota source told Inside Line that the next Prius will weigh less than the outgoing model in addition to having a more slippery shape. Not surprisingly, it will also ride on the next generation of low rolling resistance tires, which should help it improve its fuel economy even further.

The site reports that the next Prius won’t feature an entirely aluminum body because of production complexities that would have made the five-door hatchback too costly to build. Toyota has dabbled in aluminum body panels with the larger Prius V’s hood, but other Prius parts are made from steel.

Not much has been confirmed about the next-generation Prius’ powertrain, although it’s expected that the standard liftback model will finally adopt a lithium-ion battery to replace the current nickel metal hydride unit. That should yield major benefits for the next Prius Plug-In (the ’12 is pictured).

The next Prius isn’t expected to deviate much from the current model, but it could move slightly upmarket since Toyota recently launched a smaller, cheaper hybrid marketed within the Prius family. That car – the Prius c – has combined with its conventional liftback and roomier Prius v cousins to boost Prius brand sales 72 percent compared to last year when just one model was offered.

2015 Toyota Prius to shed weight, become more aerodynamic
 
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