The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara has a freshened up look but it still uses the previous Camry platform. It performs well, and the convertible option in particular offers Camry fans a bit of excitement. The coupe and convertible models of the Solara employ either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V-6.
Body Styles: coupe, convertible
Engines: 2.4-liter I-4, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Toyota Camry Solara SE, Toyota Camry Solara SLE, Toyota Camry Solara SE convertible, Toyota Camry Solara SLE convertible
The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara delivers more power with a new 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. The exterior features a redesigned front grille and bumper, a bolder rear bumper, new headlights, and new taillights. The SE coupe has a new appearance package that includes alloy center caps for wheels; a three-spoke, perforated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; black trim; and Black Pearl emblems. Coupes only get optional seat heaters. Other changes include standard daytime running lights and an optional trunk-opener function for the keyless remote.
The 2002 Camry starts all new for this model year and while the Solara has “Camry” in its name and some freshened-up styling itself, don't be fooled. The Solara still uses the previous Camry platform. It has its own distinctive sheet metal and a convertible option, as well as its own list of attributes. It comes in two trim levels, SE and SLE, and in coupe or convertible form.
Somewhat softer lines give the 2002 Toyota Camry Solara a bit more oomph in its style and a bit more personality than the Camry. The grille looks aggressive and complemented by fog lamps and four-bulb headlights. Both the coupe and convertible ride on a 105.1-inch wheelbase and measure 191.5 inches long and 71.1 inches wide. The Solara boils down to an older two-door Camry with more assertive styling.
Some of the space found in the Camry disappears in the 2002 Toyota Camry Solara’s transition into two-door form. The rear seats get a bit tighter and entry and exit prove more difficult. The front-passenger seat unfortunately does not slide forward as many do in other two-door coupes. Overall though, the Solara provides a comfortable option once inside.
The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara gets additional wood trim surrounding the gearshift lever. The SE includes air-conditioning, tilt steering, cruise control, CD and cassette players, power windows, and power locks.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara contains a new 157-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine under the hood. A three-liter V-6 generates 200 horsepower and comes standard in the SLE and optionally for the SE. Both pair with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic in the coupe. The convertibles offer an automatic only.
Performance remains similar to the Camry sedan with V-6 acceleration being about as smooth as it gets. Suspension feels taut but still gives a great ride on less-than-perfect pavement. Both the coupe and convertible handle well and deliver a stable performance on the highway.
The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara features anti-lock brakes on the V-6 model and offers them as an option on the four-cylinder SE. In addition to industry standard safety equipment, side-impact airbags provide an optional feature on the Solara.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Camry Solara SE: 21/30 mpg city/highway
Toyota Camry Solara SLE: 17/25 mpg city/highway
Toyota Camry Solara SE convertible: 20/28 mpg city/highway
Toyota Camry Solara SLE convertible: 17/24 mpg city/highway
- Generous interior
- Available as a convertible
- Delightful V-6
You Won't Like
- Expensive pricing
- No manual transmission on the SLE
Doesn't stand far apart from its Camry roots, unless you opt for the convertible pizzazz.
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