The Toyota Corolla is one of the best known nameplates in the Japanese carmaker’s history, one that spans eleven generations. Now, it appears development of the next-generation Corolla is well and truly underway, with the first-ever sighting of a test mule undergoing testing around Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, Toyota has gone through great lengths to make sure the prototype is covered in cladding in order to conceal styling details. However, there is evidence the Corolla might retain its two-tier front fascia, albeit milder in appearance when compared to its larger sedan sibling.

From the side, the new Corolla doesn’t appear to stray much in terms of size or shape, although the mirrors appear to have been moved further down. The downward-sloping rear end is something familiar as well, and those cut-outs in the camo around the taillights point towards a wraparound design.

The interior remains a mystery for now, but the upcoming 2019 Auris might provide some idea of what to expect. Thankfully, there are spyshots of a near production-ready Auris test mule from before, which show a heavily-covered cabin where only some elements are visible.

These include an overhauled dash, new interface for the climate control system, a smaller gear lever, new steering wheel design and what looks like a free-standing infotainment screen. The use of an electronic parking brake in the new Auris also sees a redesign of the centre console and attached arm rest.

As a recap, the Auris is essentially the hatchback version of the Corolla, sold in North America as the Scion iM prior to Scion’s demise. The Scion iM’s cabin at the time is largely similar to the Corolla’s, and if this approach is replicated with the next-generation of the Auris and Corolla, this could be our first look at the latter’s all-new interior.

The new Auris’ styling appears to have an undergone an evolution rather than a revolution, appearing sharper than the current model. Even so, many familiar cues are still present like the two-tier face along with sleek headlights and taillights.

The Toyota New Global Architecture – used for the C-HR, Prius and Camry – will underpin both the new Auris and Corolla. Powertrain options should include a 1.8 litre four-cylinder petrol engine, with the probability of hybrid.

For the North American market. The current Corolla is available with a 2ZR-FE (132 hp/174 Nm) and a Valvematic-equipped 2ZR-FAE (140 hp/171 Nm) – the latter used for the Scion iM back then. We might also see a swap to a conventional automatic transmission from a CVT, like with the latest Camry.

GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Auris spyshots