A Whirlwind Affair

Let me start off this journal entry by saying that if you’re looking for technical specifications of this car, you should read Stefano’s article on the 2017 Toyota 86 M/T.

People say I drive well and fast for a girl, and I must say I agree, based on the ladies in my circle. Not a generalization, but a personal observation - definitely not as fast as the Opus boys, though. 

And I love to drive. I prefer having no driver (except when it's one of the Opus boys driving), and I don’t get tired driving long distances - especially in smooth open roads - as long as I’m not stuck in EDSA traffic. 

The 86 is a sports car, so why was it assigned to me?

It wasn't.

Originally, it was supposed to be Miguel's, but I had to be the one to drive it on the first day that we got it, because he had to shoot the Nissan GT-R. He had me as a driver for a day - lucky guy. Unfortunately for him, though, after that road trip to Los Baños, there was no way I would return the car to him anymore. 

I love big cars. I drive a Hyundai Tucson and a Toyota Prado, and I’ve always wanted a Jeep Wrangler or an Audi Q7. I need space for the kids and their carpool mates, groceries, and a bunch of other stuff that I carry around with me all the time. The Honda Pilot was a big temptation for me because of the huge cabin space, but when we started Opus Macchina, I got to drive the Volkswagen Beetle, the Mini Cooper and Clubman S, and the Audi TT. My love affair with small cars started and was fueled even more when the Opus boys handed me the keys to the 2017 Toyota 86 - a sports car. They’re making me drive and write about a sports car!

My first taste of the Toyota 86 was when we shot the 2015 manual transmission last year. I was the passenger initially, and I couldn’t really appreciate the car because of its stiff ride and low seats, but when Miguel asked me to take over the wheel so that he could take photos of running shots, I was floored by how quick it was and how easy it was to drive. I know how to drive a manual transmission car, in fact, I own a manual Toyota Prado, but driving my first manual transmission sports car got me a bit worried - it is a sports car after all. That short driving session though wasn’t enough to get me to fall in love with the 86.

When I was asked to drive the 2017 86 A/T, that’s when I started to realize that, "Hey, I’d actually consider buying this car!" We took it to Los Baños for a shoot, and to make it easier for Miguel to get in and out of the vehicle, I usually drive for him (yes, that’s my head you see peeking out from behind the wheel in some of the tracking shots). I love that it accelerates quick, and I can switch to manual shifting anytime (it’s my first time to try those paddle shifters), and have I mentioned that it’s fast???

We had the 86 for more than a week, and I took it with me everywhere - I went to the gym, the grocery, the mall, to a reunion down south, and a road trip to Subic. Poor Miguel barely had a chance to drive this car because I didn’t want to let go of it. Christmas shopping and doing the groceries with the 86 was a bit of a challenge, but who cares? I was enamored by the car - the sacrifice was well worth it. 

I wish someone was able to take a photo of me in the parking lot after shopping. I was holding a huge basket full of goodies plus other shopping bags and when I realized it wouldn't fit the boot, I tried putting it in the backseat. Since it’s a two-door, it was difficult to hold the front seat while stuffing stuff at the back so my loot ended up riding shotgun. But again, who cares? This car is fantastic!

I also noticed that people stared at the car, and it surprised me because it wasn’t flashy at all. In fact, I love its simple and sleek design and I assumed that most people are drawn to flashier sports cars. The Opus boys said that it could also be the fact that people aren’t used to seeing girls (sometimes with little humans as passengers) driving these types of cars. Whatever it is, I loved it. Gives you that extra confidence boost, right? 

I’d get smiles from people in other cars while stuck in EDSA traffic. I’d get look backs from kids and adults alike as I sped past them, and I’d get friendly smiles and comments from mall guards and toll booth operators as they helped me get tickets since I couldn’t reach them (yes, the car is low and I have short arms). I got used to hearing them say, “Ma’am, ang ganda naman ng kotse mo!” (“Ma’am, you have a really nice car!”) 

I was already giddy driving it within the city. Driving it out of town along the wide and free road of SCTEX made me fall in love with the 86 all the more. I was trying to behave, believe me. But how can I when it doesn't feel like I'm speeding? A wee bit over the speed limit, I was barely pressing on the accelerator pedal, and I got radioed by the husband in the other car to slow down. 

I told myself that the Sport mode shouldn't be used, because I have to follow the speed limit, but is that even a realistic request when it's right there waiting for me to press it? So yes, I gave in to temptation and pressed the Sport button for overtaking, and it took a lot of will power to slow down again. 

It was quite a treat having the 86 with me for more than a week and believe me, I didn’t want to return it. Will I buy it as a third car? The practical mom in me says it doesn’t make sense, but if I tweak my lifestyle a bit (no nanny in the car, less volume and more frequent grocery runs, etc.) then it absolutely makes sense to have this as a third - no, make that a second car for the family.

Impractical, young, and racy, this car walked into my life speeding with reckless abandon - and I wasn't even looking. Like most things that are bad for you, the 86 swept me off my feet and carried me straight into a short but thrilling ride filled with adventure, zest, and lust.

An unforgettable whirlwind affair.

2017 Toyota 86 A/T

Engine: 1,998cc, DOHC 16V, BOXER-4, Naturally Aspirated
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 200 bhp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 205 Nm @ 6,400-6,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed A/T, RWD
0-100 km/h: 7.6 seconds
Top Speed: 233 km/h
Fuel Economy: 10.2 km/L Overall
Price: PHP1,864,000
+: Good exterior and interior refresh, steering, gearbox, brakes, handling
-: Ride can still be too stiff for some, stereo head unit is a little cheesy
Verdict: A really fun car with a transmission that makes it more usable every day
Rating: 10/10

Workaholic and multitasking momma who absolutely enjoys what she does as Executive Producer for OTT.  Has faulty memory so taking photos of almost everything is part of her everyday life.