Overview & Reviews
Introduced as sportier siblings to the mainstay midsize Camry sedan, the Toyota Camry Solara coupe and convertible quietly enjoyed a reputation for being reliable, well built and pleasantly styled, if not excitingly so. For most family sedans, such qualities are certainly considered desirable, but when it comes to coupes and convertibles, we think that a little fun and pizzazz should figure in as well. The Camry Solara never offered much in terms of excitement, but that didn't prevent it from being a popular choice for a midsize two-door.
For both generations of the Solara, rear-seat room was generous and safety ratings and feature content were impressive. Smooth four-cylinder or V6 power resided under the hood, and overall the Toyota Camry Solara was reasonably priced and offered great value considering all that it delivered.
If you're looking for a sport-oriented coupe or convertible, the Toyota Camry Solara isn't going to be your best choice. And the most recent Camry Solara convertible's traditional fabric top can be seen as a bit dowdy given that many competing models from the same time period offer retractable hardtop designs. But if you treasure overall quality, value and comfort, there are few coupes or convertibles that put it all together as well as the Camry Solara.
Most Recent Toyota Camry Solara
The most recent Toyota Camry Solara was the second-generation model and was sold from 2004-'08. It was based on the 2002-'06 Camry sedan and was available as a midsize coupe or convertible in SE, SE Sport and SLE trim levels.
The standard engine on the Camry Solara coupe was a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 157 horsepower and 158 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic (four-speed prior to '06). Optional on coupes and standard on convertibles was a 3.3-liter V6 rated at 210 horses and 220 lb-ft of torque. Prior to 2007, horsepower ratings will appear to be greater; however, this was due to a change in the way horsepower is measured rather than an actual output change. No manual transmission was available with this smooth engine, but the automatic was a modern five-speed with a manual-shift gate for those who like to select their own gears. On the road, the Toyota Camry Solara's suspension tuning delivered a comfortable ride. The added stiffness of the SE Sport model gave it enough capability to provide some fun through corners while still maintaining the civilized ride quality of the other models.
The base SE was decently equipped with most modern convenience features, while the Sport version added a firmer suspension, 17-inch wheels, an exterior body kit, xenon HID headlights and unique interior trim. The top-drawer SLE provided a few extra luxury-oriented standard features. Major options included stability control and a navigation system (which was upgraded for '07).
The Solara's front seats offer plenty of room for even the tallest drivers, but the rear seats are still best reserved for short trips. While Solara coupes can seat three passengers snugly in back, the Camry Solara convertible can accommodate just two. The Solara convertible's standard power top could be raised and lowered in just 10 seconds, and it stowed neatly under a tonneau cover that matched the color of the interior.
Past Toyota Camry Solara Models
The Camry Solara originally debuted for 1999 and was produced through 2003. Mechanically, it was related to the 1997-2001 Camry sedan. Toyota hoped its new two-door would appeal to consumers who wanted the style of a sporty car but the room and comfort of a larger, more practical vehicle. In the first year, only the coupe was sold, but Toyota added the convertible version for model-year 2000.
For this Camry Solara's run, Toyota offered the familiar SE or SLE trim levels. Initially, Toyota offered either a 2.2-liter, 135-hp four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter, 192-hp V6. Either engine could be had with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. For 2002, Toyota introduced a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 157 hp. Revised front and rear styling was also introduced that year. For 2003 and beyond, Toyota discontinued the manual transmission option for the V6.
At the time, we commented favorably about the Toyota Camry Solara's roomy cabin and smooth engines. Downsides included a lack of driving or styling excitement and the absence of some higher-end features, such as stability control and a navigation system.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,097.00
severe alignment problem - 2004 Toyota Camry Solara
By Fred A - December 24 - 10:00 am
We bought a 2004 Solara V6. It started pulling to the left the very next day. We had to try hard to keep it straight. We took it back for an alignment but then found out that many consumers are facing the same problem with 2004 Solara and Camry. Toyota has been unable to fix the problem. It is unsafe to drive this car, especially on highways.
Great car - 2004 Toyota Camry Solara
By round guy - December 24 - 10:00 am
I'm probably older than the average purchaser BUT I love this car. Ease of operation,response and quality say it all. Very pleased with the ride and room inside.Obviously the rear seats are less than pleasant BUT the front is outstanding. Very nice ride...
What a Fun Drive! - 2006 Toyota Camry Solara
By suz - December 18 - 3:43 pm
Just bought my new 06 Solara a week ago. It is totally fun to drive! Took it up to Whistler, BC...great trip! Took about 4 hours and the Solara was comfortable the entire trip up and back. I have owned two Camrys, and a Celica and I love this new Solara.
no problems and fun to drive - 2005 Toyota Camry Solara
By Joe Sisolak - December 7 - 1:50 am
I've had my solara convertible for 6 months now and it is a enjoyable to drive and offers a comfortable drive. The styling is also very slick and I'm often given compliments on the car at stop lights saying how much it looks like the pricier Lexus SC430. I actually looked at both cars at the NY Auto Show last spring with the intent to purchase the Lexus but with the drivers seat adjusted comfortably for myself my seatback actually touched the rear seat leaving no room even for a child to sit comfortably in the rear however I have fit 2 grown adults in the rear of my solara with the my seat in a comfortable position and I'm 6-0 tall.
My dream car - 2006 Toyota Camry Solara
By Elaine Boudreaux - December 4 - 1:53 pm
After reseraching many convertibles, I decided on the Solara based on my satisfaction with my 2001 Camry which I intended to keep as my work vehicle, however Hurricane Katrina claimed that car. The Solara convertible was so comfortable on the test drive that I knew this is the car I want.
poor quality but comfortable - 2000 Toyota Camry Solara
By pchang - December 4 - 10:00 am
interior is roomy and comfortable. however, ever since i bought the car brand new three years ago, i have had it fixed at least $2000. besides the 36,000-mile only tires, all four of the suspension had to be replaced when it was about 42,000.
Best Value - 2005 Toyota Camry Solara
By Mark - December 2 - 12:16 am
Just traded in my wife's mint Red Corvette convertible for this pearl white exterior with tan leather interior and tan top SLE V6 convertible Solara! Although this car has been in my garage for the past week, 5 neighbors have stopped by to look at it and all think it is a Lexus! The Solara is very comfortable and receives the same stares as driving the vette! This car has great interior and exterior appeal and a much easier convertible top function. I considered the Lexus SC 430 for my wife but prefered saving $ 40,000 with the Solara! The only change I made was to replace the 17" alloy wheels with custom chrome wheels which make the pearl white exterior stand out better.
Beautiful Car - 2006 Toyota Camry Solara
By flybye - November 30 - 12:20 pm
I bought this car about a month ago I absolutely love it. It is so much fun to drive, and it looks great. So far I have not had any problems and everything has been easy to use. I'm still getting used to the dual transmission, but I found that if I drive in manual I get slightly better gas mileage.
Great to drive in luxury - 2006 Toyota Camry Solara
By Charlie - November 22 - 8:26 pm
Exremely quiet and it handles like a sports car. Gas mileage is superb for the size and power it exhibits. I hesitated about trading in my 2005 Prius but after the first day of driving this machine I forgot all about the Prius. (If I could afford it I would still own a Prius as well.) This vehicle is the best I have driven on long trips. The seats are like sitting in a recliner in my living room. The gas mileage difference is worth the extra cost (from my Prius) to drive my Solara.
Owner of '02 Solara Convertable - 2003 Toyota Camry Solara
By Steve Beeker - November 22 - 2:00 am
I wanted a convertable to use primarily in the summer that was reliable, had enough room to carry two sets of golf clubs in the trunk and carry 4 persons, even though it's primarily used by only two people. It has exceeded my expectations and it's a great automobile. I recommend it to anyone looking for these traits. Winter usage in Michigan has been very satisfactory also.