Mike Stevens | Jan 4, 2012

Toyota's next-generation Corolla hatch has been spied testing in Europe this week, offering the best look yet at the brand's next-generation volume-selling small car.

While heavy camouflage obscures most of the test car's finer details, it is clear that the new Corolla will take on the same sharp lines that have appeared on the recently-launched 2012 Camry and Yaris models.

Expect slim new Camry-like headlights up front, flanking a deep-V grille design and a wide-open CT 200h-inspired air damn below.

As with its larger Camry and smaller Yaris stablemates, the sharpened design of the new Corolla follows a promise from Toyota President Akio Toyoda to inject more excitement and passion into its new models.

The Japanese carmaker has had its critics for its plain styling, but recent years have seen a turnaround in styling direction, highlighted by the debut of the FT 86 coupe concept in 2009, and its eventual 86 production offspring, revealed late last year.

On the powertrain front, expect the new Corolla to debut - at least in Europe - with a new BMW-sourced diesel engine.

Details for the engine have not been revealed, although we could expect to see a version of the 1.6 litre diesel that drives the MINI Cooper D, originally sourced from Peugeot-Citroen.

In the Cooper D, the 1.6 litre diesel engine features direct injection and turbocharging, producing 82kW and 270Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is listed at 3.8 l/100km - among the lowest figures of any car available in Australia.

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