2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept
2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept. Click image to enlarge

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2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept

Detroit, MI – Contrary to possible expectations about a new sports car from Toyota, the Furia (the name surely evokes “sports car”) turns out to be a concept car that embodies the design direction of the new Toyota Corolla, due for release later this year. Its official name is the Corolla Furia Concept.

Recently unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Furia is certainly a more expressive and dynamic take on the current Corolla – sportier, even – which Larry Hutchison, Managing Director of Toyota Canada, promises will carry over to the new model. Not totally, he cautions, but enough that later this year, when you look back and compare the new Corolla with the Furia Concept, you’ll see the resemblance.

According to Toyota, the Furia is “designed around a theme of ‘Iconic Dynamism,’ which uses pure and simple surface elements to create a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance appealing to more youthful consumers.”

To that end, the Furia is fitted with 19-inch wheels that are pushed to the corners with short overhangs that visually lengthen the car by emphasizing its long wheelbase. As far as the 19-inch wheels go, these are unlikely to be found on the next Corolla, but a longer wheelbase could be in the cards. Toyota describes the overall design as “provocative, athletic.”

2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept
2013 Toyota Corolla Furia Concept. Click image to enlarge

The Corolla Furia Concept design also features a “swept windshield, with a sloped roofline and pronounced fender flares… [and an] aggressively styled front fascia, with a blacked-out grille treatment.” The front LED headlamps combine with the rear composite LED taillight assembly to suggest the car’s advanced technology, while carbon-fibre accents highlight the rocker panels and rear valance. I shouldn’t expect real carbon fibre will make it to the new Corolla either, but you get the idea.

But it’s true that dynamism and expressiveness are becoming something of a general design direction for Toyota. At a Toyota reception preceding the auto show, Stephen Beatty, Managing Director of Toyota Canada pointed out that Toyota has always benefitted from being the logical choice in car purchases, and that reliability and dependability were the brand’s strong suits. This reputation, he suggested, has defined the company’s products over the years.

“But in 2013,” continued Mr. Beatty, “One of our objectives is to also become known as the inspired choice. We want people to be awestruck by our new generation of vehicles – we want them to see how our products delight their senses and hit deeply at their emotions.”

Welcome to the new Toyota, and skeptical as you may be, note that Lexus is also embarking on a significant and similar change in design and brand direction, as it seeks to position itself as a marque that can retain its existing customers, while appealing to a broader market. The approach is to offer new versions of its vehicles with more dramatic styling and higher performance, and so far, vehicles like the new Lexus GS, Scion FR-S and soon-to-be-released IS – not to mention the LFA “supercar” – would support the credibility of this change in direction.

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