Setting off from the new Lexus Manila dealership, the group of new Toyotas began to drive north. The convoy consisted of the newly facelifted Camry and Yaris, new variants of the Corolla, Hilux and Innova, while the TRD Sportivo equipped Vios and Fortuner also participated. Also available was the country's first gas-electric hybrid, the Toyota Prius.
The first leg of the journey took place in hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, as the convoy made their way through the morning's rush hours, and onto the long stretches of clear roads of the North Luzon Expressway. From there, the group proceeded to the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to further stretch the legs of the vehicles, and continued on to the Province of La Union, where the group stayed at the scenic Thunderbirds resort in Poro Point for a round of golf and some R&R.
Joining the group at the Thunderbirds resort was the esteemed guest of honor, Governor Manuel C. Ortega of the Province of La Union, who gave a few welcoming remarks for the participants and took delivery of a new 2010 Land Cruiser Prado, one of Toyota's thoroughly upgraded and refreshed models.
The next morning, the convoy continued on the 2nd leg of the journey. After a shuffle of cars to allow members of the press to try on the different models on hand, the convoy drove from the Poro Point Special Economic Zone, up Marcos Highway and onto Baguio City's Camp John Hay, where the group was welcomed at The Manor.
Dinner was served at Mario's, where the participants from various media organizations shared their experiences in the new line of Toyota vehicles. The TRD Sportivo line, represented by the Vios and Fortuner, showed great promise with a sharper drive, especially when handling the tight turns of Baguio's mountain roads. The little Yaris too was a lot of fun on the way up with its short wheelbase and peppy engine. The new, facelifted Camry 3.5Q gave the heavy-footed amongst us a chance to stretch its legs on the highways, and the Prius's 1.8 liter engine and electric motor combo certainly got a workout too. The new Hilux 2.5E does away with the original model's low ride height with a taller, 4x4 look and larger tires while the Innova Sport Runner was put through its paces.
Three days of driving through some scenic winding roads and long highways is certainly a great way to get to know the latest vehicles by our friends from Toyota. At the end of the last leg that took the convoy back to Manila, the Toyota Ride and Drive clocked a total of 650 kilometers, each one of them truly memorable.