12 May 2004

Toyota has facelifted its British-built Corolla hatchback, just over two years after the car was first launched in the UK. The mildly revised model – Toyota’s best-selling range in this country – will be launched at the British Motor Show at the NEC later this month, before rolling into dealers’ showrooms nationwide on 1 July.

The big changes are up front, where the revamped nose is copied from the new Corolla Verso midi-MPV, itself launched at the beginning of May. The rear lights are also new, but the interior remains largely unchanged, as do the mechanicals.

The only model that gets a more significant reworking is the T-Sport. Toyota has responded to criticism of the lukewarm styling of the 189bhp flagship by lowering the ride height, adding a new rear spoiler and introducing new alloy wheels.

Later in the year, the Corolla will get a new 1.4-litre D4-D diesel engine, replacing the lower-powered of the two 2.0 D4-D units currently offered. The 1.4 is a re-worked version of the 74bhp Yaris diesel and is also used in the Mini One D. In the Corolla it will produce the same 89bhp as the engine it replaces, but with better fuel economy.

The new engine meets Euro4 emissions standards, necessary by the end of the year. The more powerful 114bhp 2.0-litre D4-D continues alongside carried-over petrol engines.

Toyota has yet to confirm any price changes to accompany the updated range, but sources predict a modest rise.

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