The Toyota Camry Solara is designed off of the Toyota Camry Sedan and is targeted at the practical sport enthusiast. With the reliability and fuel consumption of a mid-sized sedan, the Toyota Camry Solara still provides its owners with an exciting driving experience from point A to point B. While nowhere near a racing sports car, reviewers have praised Toyota’s rendition of this sportier Camry Sedan and in 2000, Edmunds gave it the Editors' Most Wanted Vehicle award in its class.
See also the main fact sheet for the Toyota Camry Solara.
- Useful rear seat for a coupe
- Aerodynamically efficient
- Good cargo capacity
- Lack of body control / chassis rigidity could be better
- Seats need more side support
- Seat design a bit bland
- Soft top does not provide enough sound dampening
- Audio quality from JBL sound system a bit lacking
Performance and HandlingEdit
On the road the Toyota Camry Solara’s ride is pleasant because it is sprung softly. The suspension filters bumps and noise, yet it doesn't isolate the driver from valuable road feel. Still, the Solara is no sports car, either. It corners fairly flat, but the tires start squealing when it's driven hard. For most people, this is not an issue.
The 3.3-liter V6 option produces 210 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 220 pound-feet at 3600 rpm. The most important of these numbers is the lower engine speed where peak torque is developed; the higher torque at lower rpm means the 3.3-liter engine will be a more flexible engine that's more responsive in any given situation.
Both engines are equipped with Toyota's VVT-i system (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) for optimum power and efficiency and lower emissions. All are cast from lightweight aluminum, and all achieve an ultra-low ULEV II emissions rating.
The Toyota Camry Solara comes standard with the following features:
- Driver and front passenger Advance Airbag Systems
- Front seat-mounted side airbags
- Rear-seat Child Restraint System (CRS) lower anchors and top tether brackets (LATCH)
- Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System
- Engine immobilizer
- Anti-lock breaking system (ABS)
- Front and rear side curtain airbags (Excluding the convertible models)
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
Because the Camry Solara is based off of the Camry sedan platform, it also carries on the same long reputation of reliability to its owners. Above and beyond regular scheduled maintenance, the Camry Solara needs little more to keep it running trouble free for many years.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The Solara adds a dash of panache over the Camry sedan’s interior with a sweeping console that invokes the intimate atmosphere of a sporty coupe. The seats are relatively flat, which makes sliding in and out easy, but a little more side support would be nice. The cloth is of good quality, though it's a bit bland. But the faux wood in the Solara convertible looks a bit like plastic and some of the silver reflective material on the lower center stack might be too reflective for some tastes.
In sharp contrast to the sedan's flat dash, the Solara's shapely instrument panel suggests separate nacelles for driver and passenger, giving it more of a cockpit feel. Instrumentation is divided into three pods, with a five-function trip computer sharing the left pod with the tachometer. A futuristic, multi-function display dominates the bulging center stack. The separate HVAC (heater) controls are easy to operate. On V6 models, a gated shifter for the automatic transmission allows manual gear selection.
The rear seats are surprisingly roomy, though less so than in the Camry sedan. Compared to the Honda Accord coupe, the Solara provides significantly more rear-seat hip room (50.3 inches vs. 46.1) and leg room (35.4 vs. 31.9) and a bit more headroom. The convertible is roomy as well. With the top up, there's actually 2 inches more rear-seat headroom than in the coupe. (And with the top down, there's lots more headroom.)
The Solara coupe can carry a tad more luggage than the Accord coupe, 13.8 cubic feet vs. 12.8. And the rear seats fold down to reveal a big pass-through.
The Solara convertible features a glass rear window but rearward visibility is hampered when the top is up by the small window and rear headrests. Release a pair of latches and the power top folds down in just 10 seconds. One touch of a button lowers all four windows. A vinyl boot cleans up its appearance when the top is down, but installing it is a hassle. And it takes up a lot of space in the diminutive trunk when not being used.
The Solara shares the sedan's 107-inch wheelbase, but is 3.3 inches longer overall than the Camry, measuring 192.5 inches from bumper to bumper.
The Solara coupe looks like a stylized version of the sedan. It's a more adventurous design. The roofline is sleeker and the rear is totally different from the Camry sedan's, reminding us of the Lexus SC 430. The arc-shaped theme features a continuous line from the front bumper, over the roof, and down to the rear bumper. Just below the beltline, a character line flows in a gentle S-curve from the teardrop headlamps to the teardrop taillights. The Solara looks aerodynamically efficient, and it is, with a drag coefficient of just 0.29 Cd, making it slip through the air much more easily than the previous Solara, good for wind noise, gas mileage, and speed. The outside door handles are easy to grab, much better than lever-style handles.
Toyota says the convertible's body structure was designed from the ground up for topless motoring, unlike the previous-generation convertible, which was adapted from the then-current coupe. The current Solara offers improved torsional rigidity over the previous model, which translates into a more solid feel and a quieter ride. The Solara was designed and engineered in the U.S. and is built in the U.S.
Styles and OptionsEdit
The Toyota Camry Solara is available as a coupe or convertible. There are 3 trims available: SE, Sport, and SLE.
The SE is your base model coming standard with:
- Power automatic door locks and windows
- Remote keyless entry system
- Cruise control
- Steering wheel audio controls
- AM/FM 6-disc in-dash CD changer with satellite radio capability
- 16-in. aluminum alloy wheels with P215/60R16 tires
- Silver metallic-style interior trim
- Multi-function trip computer
The Sport offers sportier looks and performance including:
- 17-in. aluminum alloy wheels with P215/55R17 tires
- Front and rear underbody spoilers and side rocker panel moldings
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Rear sport spoiler
- Stainless steel exhaust tip
- Black graphite-style interior trim
- Unique sport gauge cluster
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle
- Chrome-accented parking brake button and air vents
- Aluminum sport pedal covers
The most expensive SLE offers a more luxurious interior with:
- Wood-grain-style interior trim
- Power-adjustable driver seat
- Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade
- JBL premium AM/FM 6-disc in-dash CD changer with satellite radio capability
- Heated outside mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming feature
- Front-console illumination panel
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass
- Hands-free phone-calling capability via Bluetooth
- Anti-theft system
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Toyota Manufacturer Sites
- Toyota Camry Solara - Official US Site