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First look: Toyota Corolla sedan revealed

Rake: Toyota wants the new Corolla sedan to stand out in the car park a little more than its predecessor.

New Toyota Corolla sedan debuts, but still up to twelve months away from Australia

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Toyota logo8 Jun 2013

TOYOTA revealed the sharper and more spacious new-generation Corolla sedan over the weekend, but it could be up to twelve months away from hitting Australian shores.

The company’s Australian arm has confirmed the new version will arrive here in the first half of 2014, around eighteen months after the hatch, which launched here in October last year.

What you see here is the European version of the sedan – Toyota makes a differently styled model for the US. The global launch saw both iterations unveiled simultaneously on opposite sides of the Atlantic, in Istanbul and Santa Monica respectively.

The reveal comes in the same week as news that the current Australian Corolla line-up had swept aside the Mazda3 to become the nation’s top-selling car for the year so far.

Some details remain unclear, but what we do know is the new version will have more cabin space thanks to a longer wheelbase when it eventually rolls into lots.

It will also, like its hatch sibling, possess a little more pizazz thanks to sharper lines and creases. Toyota makes no secret of its desire to slowly move away from some of its duller designs of yesteryear.

As expected, the design takes liberal influence from the Furia concept shown at the Detroit motor show in January. Toyota calls this design “clean look”, and while it still plays it relatively safe, there’s no doubt this new design is less conservative than before.

The hallmark is the slim grille that curves upwards into the headlights, giving the illusion of greater width. This, plus the shortened front and rear overhangs, more prominent wheel arches and kinked rear window-line give the car more balanced propositions and a more aggressive road stance.

As with the Corolla hatch, the new sedan’s cabin is both roomier in the back and quieter. Toyota has extended the wheelbase to accommodate the former, and added soundproofing to attain the latter. Expect a sportier driving position courtesy of a lower hip-point and steering column angle.

Toyota of Europe has not confirmed powertrains, but the sedan’s engine is expected to be the same as the one used in the hatch: a Euro 4, 1.8-litre normally aspirated petrol producing 103kW of power at 6400 rpm and 173Nm at 4000rpm.

In the hatch, power is sent through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with a seven-speed sequential ‘Sport’ mode, replacing the old four-speed torque converter unit.

US versions have a 2700mm wheelbase, 100mm more than the local hatch, but Toyota Australia has not revealed dimensions or boot capacity for the local version as yet.

Cumulative worldwide Corolla sales exceed 39.7 million since the nameplate was launched in 1966, including more than 1.2 million in Australia - approximately one out of every five Toyota vehicles ever sold in this country.

The new sedan will be sold in more than 150 countries and built in 16. Corollas used to be made in Australia, but now come here from Japan.

Toyota Australia is known to be working on a case to make a third model line at its Melbourne plant, but it’s more likely to be the Camry based RAV4 than the Corolla.

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