Global carmakers are heavily investing in research and development and focusing a lot on SUV, crossover segment for the past few years. The segment is in prime stage of growth and customers are blessed with a huge lot of variety to choose from. Not only economy car brands but high-end luxury and performance car makers are also not behind. Evidence can be seen in the form of Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, while Rolls Royce is working on bringing an SUV by the name of Cullinan and time is not far away when we will see an Aston Martin, Ferrari in the same boat.
Although the cross-over and SUV have flooded the market, there are some models which are not truly affected at all by this ripple effect and the customer base is still intact. Civic, Corolla, Camry, and Accord are the few examples to quote.
The global success, praise and most awarded 10th generation Civic is known to all since its arrival in late 2016. On the other hand, the best seller and all-time rival Corolla is near the end of its life cycle for the current generation. Corolla as in its 11th generation had a mid-cycle face-lift on its 50th anniversary back in 2016. European, US market as well as ASEAN Corolla followed the face-lift. Pakistani market Corolla also adopted the updates in August 2017.
The midcycle facelift is the time; companies seriously start focusing towards developing the newer model. I posted a detailed article a few months ago when a heavily camouflaged prototype of the 12th generation Corolla was spotted for the first time somewhere in the United States. Now recently the prototype has been spotted again in Glendale California. This time its less covered and does reveal some more details and seems more of a production-ready model.
Back in Geneva earlier this year, Toyota revealed the next generation Auris, a hatchback, while recently at NY Auto show Toyota showcased the Corolla hatchback. Toyota is using different names for the almost identical models released in two different markets. There are minor exterior differences between European Auris while US Corolla hatch. Both models share identical components inside and out and share the same platform.
I have to bring the Auris / Corolla hatchback model to the discussion as the new Corolla sedan will be based on the same design concept. If we compare the Auris/ Corolla hatchback with the prototype recently photographed, we can make our guesses how the new Corolla will look like. We can easily make some virtual assumptions about the front. I was at NY auto show recently and took some pictures of the US market Corolla Hatchback as can be seen below.
If we superimpose these hatchback picture over the prototype, we can see the slanting portion of a bumper on the lower portion with wide open front honeycombed fascia as well as the dropping headlight with daytime running light and side marker light. The LED DRL continues as separate two segments in the rest of the headlight housing towards the inner end.
It seems that sedan will have a flat rectangular middle portion on the front bumper, unlike the hatchback which has a full wide honeycombing grill in front. Overall, its given us a pretty good idea as far as the styling of the next generation Corolla sedan. Hatchback doesn’t give us a lot of indication how the sedan will look on the rear end, but we can guess there will be some new style LED headlights similar to what is available on the hatchback.
On side profile of prototype, we can see a new glass panel at A-pillar where the side view mirrors are mounted, and this can be seen on the hatchback exactly about the same size. On the rear door of the prototype, you will notice new trapezoidal glass panels unlike a triangular shape, which is currently in use on the Corolla sedan. Both these new window panes at the front and rear door area will automatically increase visibility and openness within the car. Overall the car looks lower and wider and seems slightly longer comparing current generation of Corolla.
The next Corolla will be based on Toyota’s new global platform known as TNGA, “Toyota New Global Architecture.” This modular platform is currently being used by Prius as well as the C-HR and the all-new Camry which also made an appearance in Pakistan, launched by Toyota Indus in hybrid flavor. Global platforms technology which has been in use by German car companies for years, while recently in use extensively by Honda is aimed at reducing the production costs and provide better flexibility by sharing similar components across multiple models.
The interior is something everyone would like to talk about. Although its a very personal opinion and can vary from person to person but overall the retro looking interior of the current generation is very boring and bland. Because Corolla sedan will share its components with the hatchback, we can assume that we might see the almost identical interior as we have seen for the hatchback. In the above camouflaged image, we can see a floating tablet-style head unit. Below you can find the interior of the hatchback.
There is a centrally placed 8″ high definition touchscreen head unit over the AC vents and climate control unit for the hatchback. The new tablet-style head-unit is all new design language across the Toyota model line and can be seen in the new full-size sedan Toyota Avalon as well as the new Rav4 SUV. We can expect a digital cluster on the higher variant of the Corolla sedan like hatchback as can be seen above but like always a conventional needle type analog cluster will be available on the base model of Corolla sedan.
Overall we can assume safely that the new Corolla sedan will have much improved, stylish interior with improved materials, trims, and features. As far as safety, in US market even the current Corolla comes equipped with 8 standard airbags as well as standard active safety system, which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracking assist, blind spot monitor dynamic radar cruise control, so we can expect same or improved features for the next generation Corolla sedan as far as North American market.
So let’s discuss what we can expect as far as the propulsion system. No details are available as of now. Toyota didn’t make a major change to its best selling new generation Camry as far as engine and kept the same engine as the previous generation, so we can assume Toyota will carry over the current engine line up to the next generation in case of Corolla. The rival Civic moved to a forced induction/turbocharged option in one of its variants.
Depending upon markets, Toyota might offer different engine lineup, but it is believed that most probably same 1.8L engine as in current Corolla might land under the bonnet of the 12th generation with some certain refinements as a standard base engine.
The Corolla hatchback in US market will be offered with a 2.0L naturally aspirated direct injection four-cylinder engine, so maybe a variant of sedan might also be offered with the same. Will a 2.0L engine arrive in the Asian market is very early to say. The official performance number are not yet available for the 2.0L engine.
Toyota has launched a new and improved CVT transmission for the hatchback so that we might see a newer version of it in the sedan as well. The hatchback is offered with 6-speed manual transmission option also and probably manual also make it to the sedan.
We don’t know if there will be any turbocharged engine option in any market although in Europe 1.2L Turbo as in CH-R will be offered in Auris hatchback along with 1.8 and 2.0L Hybrids. Back in 2016; Ben Schlimme, who is Toyota Technical Center’s Executive Program Manager for Powertrain said,
“Toyota’s global turbo charging deployment is focused to address each region’s specific requirements, taking into account customer preference, fuel consumption, and emissions regulations,”
The 12th generation Corolla is a very serious matter for Toyota because although the total global sales of Corolla will be higher than its all time rival Civic, it lost sales by more than 50,000 which is around 14% units in North American market comparing Civic, which is Toyota’s single biggest market for Corolla. The much refined and appreciated Civic has already set a new benchmark in the compact car segment and Toyota would like to make sure their next generation is better in all aspects comparing its rivals. The retro looking interior, as well as borning exterior, have made people switch from Corolla to Civic. Even CEO of Toyota North American Region Jim Lentz said,
“it will be better looking than the current model. The current model is a little bit tall and not very sleek. The new Corolla will have a lower center of gravity, better ride and handling, lighter weight for better fuel efficiency,”
The 12th generation Corolla is being developed by designers and engineers from Toyota North American region. The new model year 2020 Corolla will be released for North American Market sometime in spring of 2019, while sales will begin in the US by September of 2019. Soon after Europe and Asian countries including Pakistan will follow with the launch sometime in the year 2020 onward.
We will keep our readers updated on the development of the new Corolla time to time and as soon as we get more information. It should be noted that 12th generation Corolla will be a global model so we might see a uniform model across different markets, Europe / Asia including Pakistan / North America. This will be confirmed when Toyota launch Corolla for US market in a year time. We will keep our readers updated on this topic as soon as we get more information.
Meanwhile, join Pakwheels forum for a discussion on this subject here > Pakwheels.com/12thGenerationCorolla