The spiritual successor of the Trueno and Levin finally got its mid-cycle facelift for 2017. With it, the Toyota 86 now gets a fresh look both inside and out. With a 2.0-liter Boxer engine, rear-wheel drive and choice of either a manual or automatic gearbox, the 86 combines lightweight and performance. New features like touchscreen display, smartphone mirroring, leather seats, multifunction steering wheel and revised gauges make up some of the changes of the 86.

There are many who say that the 86 is underpowered and overrated. I disagree. The 86 is a driver's car through and through. They tuned in a balance that is so hard to achieve, one that factors in how the brakes perform, how it accelerates, how it feels into the corners, how it stays stable on the straights and everything else in between.

This is one of those cars that are perfect for an aspiring automotive enthusiast to hone his or her skills behind the wheel, not to test how much the credit cards can take on in upgrade parts. That is the beauty of the 86; a true sports car meant to be enjoyable, and one that can serve as a stepping stone to something more powerful in the future.

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It baffles the mind that the 86 has been in our market for almost 5 years now, initially launched by Toyota Philippines in June 2012 at Subic's disused airport apron and runway. That was a big launch, as it showed us a new, a livelier, and more fun side of the country's number one automaker.

Examining the car again half a decade since, the 86 really doesn't look dated. Toyota did perform a few tweaks here and there, adjusting things like the profile of the front aero bumper, installing a new set of 10-spoke wheels, removing the “piston” logo from the front fenders in favor of a simpler 86 emblem just below it, new 3D headlights and taillights, but that's about it. The update isn't major by any definition of the word, but that's OK.

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