Toyota’s Corolla, having sold more than 28 million units since its original launch in 1966, has been revised for the 2004 model year.

Hatchback models have been subtly redesigned, with a new bonnet, grille, bumpers and lights, while saloon and estate models receive a new front section and revised rear lights.

Inside, quality and comfort improvements include the use of new fabrics, including optional leather and Alcantara suede-effect seats on T-Sport models, or black leather on T Spirit models.

Equipment levels have been improved on all grades: all models now feature a steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustment and a new steering support bracket that provides a more rigid steering feel. Easy-to-read Optitron instrumentation and air conditioning are also now standard across the range.

T2 models gain colour-keyed side protection mouldings and a new wheelcap design for the 15-inch steel wheels, while T3 models have dedicated 15-inch alloy wheels, side and rear skirts, front fog lamps, carbon fibre-style inserts, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob and a four-speaker sound system with CD player.

T Spirit and T Sport models now include an automatic dipping electrochromic rear view mirror and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

The flagship T Sport has a unique style front bumper and grille and bolder spoilers and side skirts, all of which have been designed to improve aerodynamics. Door mirrors have been redesigned to improve vision and reduce wind noise, while the interior sees aluminium pedals, carbon fibre-style trim, red-illuminated white-face dials, and new sports seats.

The six-speed manual gearbox now has a cleaner, slicker action, and the steering has a lower gear ratio than standard Corolla models, with lock-to-lock reduced from 3.5 to 3.2 turns.

The suspension has been lowered by 20mm, and improved with new coil springs, shock absorbers, anti-roll bars and rebound stoppers.

Safety kit upgrades include curtain shield airbags on all models, a cut-off switch for the front passenger airbag, and a new two-stage seatbelt warning system (that’s a warning light and a buzzer).

Engine-wise, a new 89bhp Euro IV-compliant 1.4-litre D-4D unit is an improved version of the diesel engine featured in the Yaris and replaces the previous 89bhp 2.0-litre D-4D unit. It will be available from 1 September in hatchback and saloon, and will be offered with Toyota’s Multi-mode Manual Transmission (MMT), which gives the driver the choice of fully automatic or quick sequential manual gear selection.

The existing 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrol units continue, as does the 2.0-litre D-4D 114bhp diesel engine.

On-the-road prices start at £11,695.