The Toyota Solara is a sporty midsize coupe/convertible that is based on the Japanese automaker's famous Camry sedan. It premiered for the 1999 model year equipped with either a 2.2L four-cylinder engine capable of 135 horsepower or a 3.0L V6 with the ability to produce 192 horsepower. Engines were mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. At the model's launch, there were several differences between the Solara and the Camry, most notably with the exterior parts. The Solara boasted a more aggressively styled roof and a unique front and rear fascia. In 2000, the convertible version of the Solara joined the lineup to give the nameplate two body-styles for drivers to choose from. There weren't many changes made to the Solara in the early going, however in 2002, a new 2.4L four-cylinder engine (157 hp) was brought in to replace the previous 2.2L.
2004 welcomed in the second generation of the Toyota Solara. Both the coupe and convertible offered different packages, especially with the powertrain. Standard in the coupe was a 2.4L four-cylinder that produced up to around 157 horsepower and 158 pounds-per-foot of torque directed through a five-speed manual transmission (or a five-speed automatic beginning in 2006, taking over for the previous g four-speed). The convertible offered a more powerful 3.3L V6 that showed off 210 horsepower and 220 pounds-per-foot of torque as standard, however, this configuration was available in the coupe as an option. Trim levels for the Solara were the base SE, SE Sport, and SLE. The Sport version of the Solara showcased a stiffer suspension, 17" wheels, HID headlights, and a distinctive interior design. The top-level SLE was considered the most luxurious variant of the Solara, as it offered leather seating, heated mirrors, a moonroof (coupe only), vehicle stability control, and DVD navigation.
The Toyota Solara coupe was removed from the roster due to sluggish sales come 2008 and a little over a year later, it was announced that Toyota would discontinue the convertible version, as well. During its time on the road Toyota Solara managed to establish itself as a stylish, solidly-performing take on one of the industry's most popular and practical vehicles – the Camry. In 1999, Consumer Guide declared that the Toyota Camry Solara "is a safe and pleasant drive, steering is quick and precise, braking is strong and easily modulated." That same year, The Car Book named the Solara a "Best Bet." Other accolades have found their way to the model. In 2001, the Solara was nominated to Car and Driver magazine's prestigious Ten Best List and also named a Consumer Guide Best Buy. Edmunds.com went on to claim in the New Cars and Trucks Buyer's Guide that the Solara is "the standard for elegance, refinement, and value."
The Toyota Camry Solara has become a custom-favorite for everyday drivers and fanatics alike. It is no secret why. Boasting a swooping and aggressive exterior shape backed by well-performing Solara parts and generous interior comfort, the vehicle features the right traits that make it an all-star. Whether in coupe or convertible form, the Solara is a beauty, allowing a sporty feel and dimension that speaks for itself. There are a lot of creative things its drivers like to do with it, but it doesn't really matter: when it is treated with right accessories and parts, the Solara gets attention no matter what.
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