Revealed as a concept at the Paris Motor Show last month, it seems Toyota’s new Auris will be pushed into European service sooner than expected.

Details of the new C-segment vehicle were announced today, demonstrating a startling similarity in looks to the existing Corolla - the model which it will effectively replace. Built in Europe, the Auris will spearhead Toyota’s bold ambition of securing 1.2 million annual unit sales in the Euro zone by 2008.

Although a Corolla ringer, the Auris is actually based on an entirely new platform. Toyota says its designer have created the Auris “from the inside out”, maximising usable space in the cabin and increasing passenger comfort by including lower floors and high window surfaces.

The sculpted console from the Paris concept has, thankfully, made the cut and provides a rather swish sculpted "bridge" that looks great, but also increases space for driver and front passenger and raises the gear lever and other controls to an ergonomic height.

At launch, the Auris will come in three and five-door hatchback body styles with a choice of two petrol engines (1.4 VVT-i and 1.6 Dual VVT-i) and three diesels (1.4, 2.0 and 2.2 D-4D). Different gearboxes will also be offered, including a six-speed manual and a MultiMode system with paddle shift controls.

The finished Auris will make its debut at the Bologna motor show in December, and will go on sale in the UK in February 2007.