Some cars are what you consider a ‘default option’ in their class, and the Toyota Corolla has long been that car - not quite as good as some of its rivals, and with a few compromises that mightn’t be palatable for some buyers.

Forget all that, because the new-generation Toyota Corolla 2019 hatchback could well be one of the best small cars in the class.

We’ll have to wait until August 2018 before we see it in local showrooms, but based on my drive of the new 12th-generation Corolla hatch in the US recently, I can honestly say my expectations were not only met, but exceeded.

This is a car that doesn’t require compromise of its consumers, and it offers a level of presence that parsimonious purchasers haven't had access to in the past when choosing a Corolla. 

Seems like a big build-up, right? But it’s justified. Read on to find out how and why.