Toyota Camry Solara

The Toyota Camry is a huge seller in the states. Although the Camry is popular, there is still a large crowd that feels the Camry Sedan is too family-oriented and bland for the tastes of younger drivers. Enter the Toyota Camry Solara, which comes as a sporty two-door coupe or convertible. Introduced in 1999, the first generation ran until 2003 before its second-generation update. Sales of the Solara were disappointing, and the vehicle line was discontinued in 2009.

More on the Toyota Camry Solara
About the Toyota Camry Solara

The first generation of the Toyota Camry Solara was produced in 1999. The car's mechanics were based on the Toyota Camry model that was produced from 1997 to 2001.

The first Solara was a two-door coupe that was a bit larger than the average consumer sport vehicle. It provided the extra room of a sedan, but with a little added performance.

Two trim models were available in the first generation: the SE and SLE. Two engines were available with the trim models. A 2.2-liter, 135-horsepower V-6 was available, as well as a 3.0-liter, 200-horsepower V-6. A five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic transmission were available in the first generation.

Toyota Camry Solara Features

The Solara was known as the sportier version of the safe and family-friendly Camry vehicle. The Solara failed to perform as well as the Camry, showing signs of tricky handling according to many drivers.

A manual transmission was not available in the second generation, although the car was a sport version of the Camry. A five-speed transmission with a manual gate was provided instead. The paddles gave the feel of a manual transmission with the security and fuel economy of an automatic transmission.

The suspension on the vehicle gave a smooth ride. Better handling was available on the SE trim model offered in the second generation of the Solara.

The Toyota Camry Solara was discontinued after the 2008 model year and the last was produced in 2009. No plans for a re-introduction of the vehicle have been planned.

Toyota Camry Solara Evolution

In 2002, a new 2.4-liter engine was introduced. It produced 157 horsepower, boosting the base speed and power for the Solara. Front and rear steering mechanics were tweaked to improve the sometimes-squeaky handling. The manual transmission was discontinued for the 2003 models.

The extra power produced by the V-6 engine made the car exciting, and the room made the car practical. The boring steering and overall lack of design appeal, however, made the Camry Solara somewhat disappointing, given that its purpose was to appeal to younger drivers.

The second-generation Solara was introduced in 2004 and sold until 2009. The mechanics and styling closely resembled the Camry sedan models produced from 2002 to 2006. The second generation added the convertible option to the coupe. A varied trim selection was also available: the SE, SE Sport, and SLE.

The base model SE coupe had a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 157 horsepower. The five-speed automatic was introduced on this line. A 3.3-liter V-6 engine with 225 horsepower was standard on the convertible models and offered as an option for the coupe models.

The base SE trim had a decently equipped interior and exterior. The SE Sport added better suspension, bigger wheels, a modified body, and improved leather interior. The SLE added stability control and navigation features exclusive to that model.

The interior was spacious in the front but somewhat cramped for tall passengers in the back. Still, the Solara offered more room than your average sport vehicle.

The convertible version of the Solara had one disappointing feature: a cloth top. Although sexy on older vehicles, other sport car models being manufactured during this period offered hard-top designs that proved much more desirable than the Solara's cloth. This design flaw made the convertible less appealing than the competition.

The steering and handling on the sporty convertible and SE sport models led to an improved driving experience. Still, the body of the Camry was never meant for the top speed excitement that a consumer would expect from a sportier vehicle, and the design aesthetic wasn't exactly inspiring.

Although the Camry Solara has some interesting features, the bottom line is that is lacks the flash and flare you would expect from a sport vehicle. You can rely on the Camry build for reliability and comfort, but overall you’d be better served looking at the competition from the same era for a more exciting and powerful sport vehicle.

Select a Toyota Camry Solara Year

2008 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara is a well-rounded choice for a sportier sedan-type vehicle.

2007 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The Toyota Camry Solara is available either as a midsize coupe or a convertible.

2006 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2006 Toyota Camry Solara is introduced as a more sophisticated and sportier cousin to the sedate Camry family sedan.

2005 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2005 Toyota Solara proves ideal for drivers who seek a vehicle with a bit more flash and power.

2004 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2004 Toyota Camry Solara is a midsize couple/convertible that was created for sport-minded drivers.

2003 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2003 Toyota Camry Solara is a midsize convertible and coupe derived from the Camry.

2002 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

The 2002 Toyota Camry Solara has a freshened up look but it still uses the previous Camry platform.

2001 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

2000 Toyota Camry Solara

Convertible, Coupe, Midsize

While marketed as a coupe version of the best-selling Camry sedan, the 2000 Toyota Camry Solara features markedly different styling cues.

1999 Toyota Camry Solara

Coupe, Midsize

The Toyota Camry Solara is more commonly referred to as the Solara, and it replaced the Camry coupe models for the 1999 model year.