DETROIT -- Some of Toyota's critics say the Corolla symbolizes the company's need to move away from tired styling; they complain that compared with newer compact sedans from Ford, Mazda, Hyundai and Kia, the Corolla is downright dowdy.
It is indeed the oldest model in a U.S. market segment that has been upended by Asian, U.S. and European rivals. Thus Toyota offered a vision of its next-generation Corolla sedan that arrives in late 2013 with the unveiling of the Furia concept at the auto show here.
For starters, the car has a different stance. The Furia's wheelbase is about 4 inches longer than that of the outgoing Corolla, but the concept is less than 2 inches longer overall.
Pushing the wheels to the corners typically has advantages in handling and interior room but tends to reduce trunk space. Also, the Furia is wider, but the outgoing Corolla is taller.
In a statement, Toyota calls the Furia's styling language "iconic dynamism ... which uses pure and simple surface elements to create a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance appealing to more youthful consumers."
How close is the Furia to the production Corolla?
Toyota insiders said there will be few changes. Indeed, in press materials, photographs show paper license plates that say "Corolla" in large letters with "Furia Concept" in much smaller type below.
But not everything will reach production.
For instance, the Furia has 19-inch wheels, which won't make the cut for the production model. The standard Corolla comes with a choice of 15- or 16-inch wheels.