The 2012 Corolla may still be selling strong, outpacing the Honda Civic, but in terms of design and engineering it's now off the pace of its newer rivals.

Next year's model will change that, says Toyota.

According to WardsAuto, Toyota and Scion general manager Bill Fay has revealed that the next version of the popular compact will undergo a "dramatic change", even more so than the Avalon's transition from bland sedan to sleek coupe-like 4-door.

Though details are few and far between, the next Corolla, likely to be launched as a 2014 model year car, should also improve on the current model's lackluster gas mileage, now beaten by virtually every rival in the segment--surprising, given Toyota's successful hybrid range.

Read our comparison of the 2012 Toyota Corolla and 2012 Honda Civic

Despite the average gas mileage and dated design, the Corolla's reputation is still holding strong, backed up by its 5th position in the U.S. best-seller list--232,159 units in 2011--and an 11 percent rise in sales in June, compared to the same time last year.

That saw it 10,000 units ahead of the Civic, and even narrowly beat the popular 2012 Chevrolet Cruze.

With improved styling, performance and gas mileage, it isn't hard to imagine the next Corolla posting even greater sales.


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