When I was growing up, I recall that my cousin Dylan was one of the coolest kuyas I had. He was funny, had good taste in clothes (he was a bit brand-conscious, but it was the 1980s), and he always looked younger than his actual age. And while I wouldn't call him a certified car nut, he knew a lot more than the average Juan when it came to machines on four wheels.
After he got married, he purchased a Toyota Revo. It was a very capable vehicle, but I chided him for getting a daddy car. He just grinned and acknowledged that he has other priorities now. When he upgraded to a Honda CR-V, I thought he finally decided to get a more hip ride, until I found out he got the automatic transmission variant.
I like fatherhood. I grew up with a kind and forgiving dad. I also understand there are new responsibilities and commitments that come with it. The sporty two-seater might have to go and be replaced by something with a more practical purpose. But it doesn't have to be vanilla compact SUVs or minivans.
Here are some cars for dad that can be used by a family of at least four but can still make him feel like a teenager with a new driver's license. I'm sure when my cousin Dylan's cute children Kobe and Chloe graduate from college, he'll make a beeline for one of these fine cars.
1. Subaru Legacy Wagon – Symmetrical all-wheel drive and a torquey turbo will redefine your definition of a midsize sedan. The wagon variant is a good excuse to tell your wife it's just a plain station wagon, just tell her the hood scoop is an eco feature of some sort.
2. Porsche Panamera – Profit is the reason Porsche created the Panamera. But the result is a superbly engineered four-door with the soul of a 911. It can only seat four, so yaya will have to be left behind.
3. Hyundai Sonata – The most likely candidate to topple the Camry from its throne. Based on looks alone, the Toyota midsize sedan should start worrying.
4. Lancer Ralliart – It's not the most hard-core Lancer in Mitsubishi's lineup; that distinction belongs to the Lancer Evolution X. But this 237hp compact sedan with dual clutch transmission is more than enough to make one feel like a driver in the WRC.
5. Land Rover Discovery 4 – The Disco is the right balance between the hip-hop luxury of the flagship Range Rover and the mountain goat utility of the classic Defender. Even though the most off-road action it will get is probably Manila's post-election potholes, the feeling that the ability to crawl rocks is there makes all the difference.
6. Lexus GS460 – To some it resembles the Toyota Camry but when you drive it, all the Camry comparisons fly out the window. There's a reason this car is being aimed at the BMW 5-Series. Here's a hint: a 322hp V8.
7.Nissan Grand Livina – At first glance it looks like a failed attempt to steal market share from the best-selling Toyota Innova. However the Grand Livina is one of the most underrated cars in the market. Select the variant with the six-speed transmission and it will do wonders with the 1.8-liter engine. And since it's smaller than the Innova, what the Grand Livina loses in space it makes up for in handling and sportiness.