PNoy is a self-confessed car lover. He favors luxury cars as much as the late dictator abhors it. In fact, Ferdinand Marcos loudly advised his constituents to patronize only small, 4-cylinder engine vehicles during the 1973 oil crisis.
The Philippines’ love affair with cars started in the 1960s. However, it was only during the 1990s that the market had a boost. PNoy is no exemption to those attracted to one of humanity’s great inventions. He had swapped his 2-year old BMW for a P4.5 million third-hand white Porsche he test-drove with Sen. Francis Escudero.
"It's like buying an expensive girlfriend,” senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said. “It's no business of the public if you want a trophy girlfriend or wife. So I imagine if you are a president and there is no girlfriend to share your life with, you can have a sexy car.”
Still, the presidential hobby is ‘out of character,’ secretary-general Milo Tanchuling of the Freedom from Debt Coalition believed. PNoy, after all, won on a pledge to end wasteful spending. He had also ordered government agencies to refrain from buying luxury cars for service vehicles.
Presidential Security Group head Col. Ramon Mateo Dizon defended PNoy’s choice, though, for ‘as a rule, all the President’s vehicles must be armored.’ The presidential car was damaged by the tropical storm Ondoy. If not for his own Toyota Land Cruiser, PNoy wouldn’t be able to attend to his official engagements and relax ‘amid his gargantuan responsibilities.’ The money spent did not come from government coffers anyway.
A treasure trove
Purchased for P8.5-million, the Lexus LX570 is a replacement for the Ondoy-stricken Mercedes-Benz S600 sedan. It was reported to be a lease from PNoy’s brother-in-law ‘to spare the government from spending just to buy an alternative vehicle for his official use.’ PNoy, who has only three brothers-in-law, was first seen with the vehicle after the EDSA bus-bombing incident.
“The vehicle I was using earlier and I’m using now is a security vehicle. I cannot discuss with you its security features, what capacities, because it would be tantamount to informing my enemies how to prepare. But I did not buy it. If you don’t mind, let’s leave it at that. I do not want to go into any detail because they might think about researching on its capabilities,” PNoy explained.
The Lexus LX 570 was introduced at the New York International Auto Show. It is a remodeled LX 470 with a smoother engine (5.7 L 3UR-FE V8), 286 kW, 546 N·m) and a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.
It is also 4-inch longer and 1-inch wider made from high-tensile steel (at least a third of the frame's body mass). For a reason that only car owners can appreciate, the LX 570 features a six-setting Active Height Control (AHC) system that can raise itself by three inches or lower by two inches.
Other performance features are: the Crawl Control system, which provides throttle and braking inputs off-road; the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which are diagonally cross-linked linked for immediate damper firmness adjustments; the Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which prevents accidents on slippery surfaces; and a multi-terrain anti-lock braking system, which allows shorter stopping distances on sand and gravel surface. It is not sold to the Japanese and European market.
Belonging to the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class, the Mercedes-Benz S600 premiered at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1991. The line started the trend for braking systems to the rear wheels; for a kind of an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) that could improve driving conditions; and side airbags introduced in 1996.
But unique to the S-Class is its double-paned soundproofed glass, electrically operated exterior mirrors, 'parameter steering' system, guide rods, 12-way powered front seats, 3-setting memory functions, and Rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The Toyota Land Cruiser shares the 2008 Lexus LX 570's platform and overall design Its supporters welcomed the reinvigoration of the mechanical aspects of the vehicle while its critics claimed 'overdevelopment' when it was presented at the 2007 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.
It has a sensor—dubbed Smart Entry—that allows the user to simply touch the door handle to open it. Car keys are also unnecessary as the Toyota Land Cruiser already has a start/Ssop push button for ignition.