Aimed at the consumers who are entering their peak earning years, Toyota designed the Solara; an all-new midsized sedan which was pleasantly styled and well-built. The Toyota Solara was both available as a convertible and a coupe. With a reputation for building reliable and fun-to-drive vehicles, the Solara was a popular choice for a midsized two-door sedan. People loved the Solara for its great value and reasonable price.
The Late 1990’s: Debut of the Midsized Two-door Coupe
Built after the Toyota Camry’s mechanical platform, the Solara made its debut during the third quarter of 1998. Designed to replace the Toyota Camry Coupe, the Solara was fitted with a 4-cylinder 5S-FE 2.2-liter engine, with 135 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. It also offered a 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 engine with 200 horsepower to boast. Partnering with JBL Audio, the Solara was the first vehicle in the Toyota lineup to feature a premium stereo option and a single-slot, in-dash CD player, and cassette deck. The Solara’s SE models offered 15-inch steel rims and hubcaps, while the Sports Package offered a retuned suspension, steering, rear lip spoiler, perforated 8-way power adjustable leather seats, and an upgraded 16-inch alloy rims.
Early 2000’s: Enter the Solara SLE Coupe Convertible
The Toyota Solara SLE coupe convertible was added to the lineup in 2000. Fitted with a 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 engine, this coupe convertible sported a new grill pattern, a chrome logo on its steering wheel, taillights, fog lights, and a 4-bulb headlight system. The JBL head units in the Solara SLE coupe convertible was upgrade to a 6-disc in-dash CD changer with a cassette deck. A remote-controlled trunk, Mustard Wood interior trims, heated leather seats, black pearl emblems, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a 3-spoke steering wheel, and a redesigned center cap on its wheels were some of the new features on this coupe. In 2002, the 2.4-liter 2AZ-FE VVTi engine was introduced to the Solara. With 157 horsepower and 162 lbs-ft of torque, the new engine improved the coupe’s performance and reduced its emissions.
Mid 2000’s: Introducing the Multi-Mode Transmission Technology
In 2004, the Toyota Solara was completely redesigned and it featured a curvier body. Built from the 2002 Toyota Camry’s platform, the Solara’s new body was heavier than its predecessor. A 3.3-liter V6 engine with 225 horsepower was included in the new Solara. The coupe offered a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Multi-Mode Transmission or MMT was a 5-speed automatic transmission designed for the Solara’s new V6 engine. An XM radio and navigation system was also offered on the new Solara.
2006: The Solara SE Sport
A restyled Solara was introduced in 2007 and it featured LED taillights, standard spoilers, and reverse lights built into its bumpers. The SE Sport, on the other hand, had its own unique spoiler, redesigned grill and headlights, smaller fog lamps, and new Toyota badges. Optitron gauges, blue backlighting, a new steering wheel design, auxiliary port connectivity, and a voice-activated navigation for the SLE V6 models were some of the features added to the Solara. The 2.2-liter 2AZ-FE I4 and the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engines still powered the new generation of Solara sport coupes.