There could soon be a new Toyota Corolla SUV model that would give the Japanese brand a rival to the highly successful Subaru XV.
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The new Corolla-based model - which has been caught for the first time by CarAdvice's spy photographers undergoing testing in Europe - is set to give the brand a smaller crossover model to sit beneath the RAV4, giving Toyota a competitor to the aforementioned XV, not to mention the impressive new Nissan Qashqai. Other cars the Toyota model would compete against include the Holden Trax, Ford EcoSport and Peugeot 2008.

What is clear from these spy images is that the car sits significantly higher than the standard Corolla (Auris in Europe) hatchback, and the large wheels with high-profile tyres give a little more away about the car's intended purpose.

Toyota Corolla SUV_4

While the car seen testing here offers little in the way of cosmetic difference to the standard Corolla, any such production version would likely boast rough-and-tumble body cladding on the wheel arches and lower sills, with bash plates under the front and rear bumpers a near-certainty.

According to international reports the new model - which may be dubbed Auris Cross or Corolla Cross - is set for a global rollout in 2017, making the high-riding hatch one of the latest to arrive to the ever-expanding segment.

There are suggestions the new model will bring with it a range of engines, including a 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain that is currently seen in the Auris hybrid in Europe and is also seen in the Prius in Australia.

Toyota Corolla SUV_7

There is talk of the car being offered with both front- and all-wheel drive, with lower-spec models expected to be offered with a basic petrol four-cylinder engine and FWD. There's no word yet if the hybrid will bring all-wheel drive to the equation, though Toyota is said to be planning an AWD Prius model for the next-generation, so it appears likely.

A Toyota Australia spokesman said there was no information regarding any such model available at this point in time.

Stay tuned for more news on the Toyota Corolla SUV as it comes to hand.