The Toyota Corolla may not sell a lot of car magazines if it were to be featured on the cover, but that’s just fine with Toyota, as long as it keeps rolling off dealer lots as it has for years. With just over two months to go in the year, Toyota has already sold a quarter-million units of its popular compact. If the pace continues, the Toyota Corolla will have sold nearly 300,000 models this year. But to keep up with a bevy of new and stiffer competition, the Japanese automaker needs to stay sharp. These new spy shots offer us a few clues as to what’s up Toyota’s compact sleeve.
Although the Corolla seen here is heavily camouflaged, from what we can see, the rear taillights have a similar shape as the new Toyota Camry. The hood also looks shorter, and angles down at a sharper angle, giving the impression of a more aggressive car. The current Corolla employs a four-cylinder 1.8-liter engine that produces 132-hp, which is significantly under much of its competition. The more aggressive and slightly sportier look could be complemented with a power increase, as well. Toyota has hinted the front of the 2014 Toyota Corolla would take cues from the Toyota Avalon and the Toyota Camry. The newest Corolla also seems to have softened some of the edges, reducing the impression of an overall boxy imprint.
With the 2014 Toyota Corolla expected to go on sale ahead of next summer, the restyling is coming at a good time. Ford has heavily invested in its Focus model, as has Dodge with the new Dart; The Hyundai Elantra features bold styling and good fuel economy, and the Skyactiv Mazda3 has more power and provides much better driving feedback. The Chevy Cruze is very popular, and Nissan plans to update the Sentra. But styling won’t be the only difference on the 2014 Corolla. Expect Toyota to remove (and place in fossil-museum) its current four-speed automatic transmission, and five-speed manual transmission, which is in slightly less flagrant violation. We wouldn’t be surprised to see both transmissions—automatic, and row-your-own—receive six speeds. The current Corolla’s 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway should be significantly upped. We’d be shocked if the Corolla didn’t get that much sought after 40 mpg highway rating, and somewhere near 30 mpg city.