Toyota has built over 46 million units of the Corolla since its 1966 debut making it the best-selling model of all time — but be honest, is it the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the word car? Didn’t think so — but the Japanese giant is aiming to change that with its all-new 12th generation model by giving it better driving dynamics, way more tech and kit and a far more eye-catching exterior than the predecessor. If nothing else, it’s bound to keep the incredible rate of sales going because this has always been the go-to car for those who don’t really care what they park in their drive — but Toyota is giving them several reasons to start caring.

Revealed in two chapters with the five-door hatchback coming first earlier this year, the covers have been taken off of the all-new from the ground up compact saloon, built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. With it incorporating new approaches to engineering, it’s lighter, safer and boasts improved fuel economy. It retains the same wheelbase and if you squint, the shape of the outgoing car’s large lower grille but the new LED headlights have been squeezed into a skinny band beneath the bonnet. The profile keeps the high beltline but the most noticeable changes are around the back. New boot lid, new LED taillights, new bumper (with integrated diffuser) and an extra exhaust tip but if that wasn’t enough the designers even reversed the isosceles trapezoid indent for the number plate! It rides on 16in alloys with three-dimensional twisted spokes and overall, the exterior looks far cleaner than before but the revamped cabin encapsulates that clean look best with a clutter-free layout.

Outward visibility has improved thanks to slimmer A-pillars and with the side-view mirrors mounted lower on the doors. The new centre stack has an 8.0in infotainment system (with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 software) that gives access to audio controls, navigation and vehicle settings with a standard 4.2in TFT multi-information display or an optional 7.0in screen. And with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite as standard, you get a precollision alert and braking-assistance system, dynamic cruise control, lane-departure alert, lane-centering steering on the highway, automatic high beams and traffic sign recognition. Blind-spot monitoring is offered on certain trim levels and packages.

Two engines will be offered — the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder found in the current model for the lower trims (it makes more power and is more fuel efficient) while top trims get an all-new 2.0-litre motor with 169 horses mated to a new Dynamic-Shift CVT which features 10 simulated forward gears.

Hmm, it seems like there’s genuine reason to be excited by this one...