Enthusiasts may be all over the Toyota GR Supra that was just launched last night, but there’s another Toyota that is far more important waiting in the wings – the 2019 Toyota Corolla. Local distributor UMW Toyota Motor released full details and estimated pricing for the 12th-generation C-segment sedan last week, and now it has begun displaying the car in showrooms, so we went over for a sneak peek.

First up, let’s run over how much this car is expected to cost. Just two variants will be offered at launch, with the 1.8E estimated to retail at RM128,888 and this, the 1.8G, set to be priced at RM136,888. That’s quite a hike from the RM120,000 and RM123,000 respectively of the current variants (there’s also a RM138,000 2.0V, but it will be discontinued on the new model), but there’s quite a spec bump to go with it.

Before that, however, let’s go over the new stuff. Fully-imported (CBU) from Thailand, the new Corolla rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) already found on the new Camry and C-HR. Despite this, the wheelbase stays the same at 2,700 mm long, even though the car itself is now 10 mm longer (4,630 mm), five millimetres wider (1,780 mm) and 45 mm lower (1,435 mm) than before.

As we’ve previously reported, the Corolla sedan for the ASEAN market essentially takes after the international version, with a more conventional and less overtly sporty design compared to the one sold exclusively in the United States. By no means does this car look boring, however, as the styling is quite a bit more aggressive than the outgoing model, dominated by a massive lower grille.

Contributing to the sharp look are the slim headlights and upper grille, along with the chrome-trimmed slits that sit at the corners of the front bumper. At the rear, you’ll find two-piece tail lights joined by a chrome strip, as well as C-shaped contours in the bumper that mirror the front slits. As you can see, this car still wears the Altis badge (even on the model plates), despite the fact that local marketing materials will omit this name.

The interior is again derived from other Corolla models sold elsewhere, with a layered dashboard design and a freestanding head unit. Toyota claims perceived quality has been improved, with more consistent and better-looking materials, tighter panel gaps and improved sound insulation, along with redesigned seats, a more effective air-conditioning system (with rear vents) and increased outward visibility.

Toyota is offering the Corolla with just one engine option over here, and it’s the familiar 2ZR-FE 1.8 litre naturally-aspirated Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine, making 139 PS at 6,000 rpm and 172 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. As before, it is mated to a CVT with a Shiftmatic mode with seven virtual ratios. Under the skin, the tweaked suspension now features a double wishbone setup at the rear, instead of the old torsion beam.

Standard kit includes automatic halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, an acoustic glass windscreen, solar and security window tinting, single-zone auto climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, fabric upholstery, a DVD infotainment system with a 6.8-inch touchscreen, six speakers and a portable tyre pump.

The 1.8G steps it up with full LED headlights, a wing mirror tilting function in reverse, auto wipers, dual-zone climate control, an Optitron instrument cluster with a seven-inch TFT LCD display, leather upholstery, a rear windscreen sunshade, Qi wireless smartphone charging and an electronic parking brake. It is also fitted with 17-inch two-tone alloys, with a design that’s similar (but not identical) to the previous pre-facelifted 2.0V.

Safety-wise, all models get seven airbags, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), hill start assist, rear ISOFIX child seat mounts and a tyre pressure monitoring system. The 1.8G, however, receives the full Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assists, including autonomous emergency braking, all-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane tracing assist, blind spot monitoring and auto high beam.

The top-spec model also gets a “3D” 360-degree camera system and front and rear dash cams, items that are optional on the 1.8E (RM2,700 and RM1,100 respectively). Also offered as an option is a RM1,700 vehicle telematics system, which includes a two-year subscription worth RM250 a year.