2008-2009 Toyota Corolla preview
What we have here is our research into the next-generation Toyota Corolla. The current version has been chugging along for six years now, when the standard shelf-life for each Corolla version is usually four years. The current version is seriously outdated, but other markets already have new versions. In fact, Japan and Europe got two different versions.
The Europeans already got the best versions for the 2007 model year. They get a sedan called, what else, the Corolla, as well as a sporting hatchback called the Auris, and a wagon called the Corolla Verso.
The Toyota Auris drops the Corolla name and has sportier suspension tuning.
The Toyota Corolla Verso has a taller roof and is sort of a micro minivan rather than a wagon.
The Japanese get their own version of the Corolla. It has more sedate styling, but packs much more features, such as a rear-view camera, a self-parking system, radar cruise control and a pre-safe computer system, all lifted from the Lexus LS460. The sedan is called the Corolla Axio.
The Japanese also get a standard wagon version instead of a van, calling it the Corolla Fielder.
The Japanese also get the Auris hatchback as well as a Blade variant with a bigger engine, but the Chinese get the European Corolla version. All sedan versions share the same interior. The Americans will get yet another version of the sedan, and possibly the Toyota Blade, to be sold as the Matrix.
Coming down to engine choices, the European versions get some diesel four-cylinders with manual, while the Japanese versions get a 110 hp 1.5-litre and a 136 hp 1.8-litre, both four-cylinder and both with CVT automatics. The Chinese get a six-speed manual. The Japanese Blade actually has the 160 hp 2.4-litre four from the Camry, so it is by far the best version.
The sedan interior is conservative but stylish, with optional fake aluminium or fake wood trim.
So what will the Middle East get? We believe the European styling might make actually it here, but with the Japanese 1.5-litre and 1.8-litre engine choices, with a five-speed or six-speed manual, and an automatic with hopefully at least five-speeds, if not the CVT automatics. The gadgets in the Japanese models will definitely not make it here, and neither will the hatchback and wagon versions. But then they might be built in Thailand. There is a possibility though that the Japanese styling might come here, in which case we will get sedan and wagon variants, but we will also get true Japanese-built Corollas again.
For the latest local prices and specs, visit the Toyota Corolla buyer guide.