It's been almost a year since the Toyota 86 was launched in the Philippines. Yet, despite the considerable amount of time it has been on sale, seeing one on the road is still a rare thing, although that probably has something to do with the late delivery of the car, which began near the end of 2012.
This kind of rarity is a good thing as the car is still greeted with enthusiasm by almost everyone.
During a week-long drive of the TRD kit-clad 86--which arguably adds a lot of pogi points to an already desirable car--we witnessed people stare at it, point it out to someone else, or in most cases even give us a thumbs-up. Even motorists dared risk losing their arms by extending them out of their cars to give us the same enthusiastic gesture.
But of the many instances that strangers showed their approval of the 86, two stood out the most.
The first happened as we were driving up the Marilaque Highway. We chanced upon a few longboarders, so as obedient motorists, we slowed down behind them and waited for them to finish. As the last one slowed down and prepared to move to the side of the road, he looked back, saw us just a few feet away from him, and then stood straight while giving us a hearty thumbs-up. We responded with the same gesture as we drove away.
The second--and perhaps most heartwarming--one happened while we were at a stoplight on our way home. After a public-utility jeepney had crawled to a stop beside us, the driver waved and started talking to us. To hear him better, we rolled down the window and were soon bombarded with questions in the two-and-a-half minutes we waited for the light to turn green. Judging by his queries, he knew what he was talking about as he asked if the car was the Toyota 86, if it indeed had a boxer engine, and if it really cost less than P2 million. As the light finally turned green, he waved goodbye and said he'd buy one if he had the money.
Fortunately for the jeepney driver, the 86 is a relatively attainable sports car, and if such a guy can dream of having one someday, then so can you.