2000 Toyota Camry Solara

Change Vehicle
2000 Toyota Camry Solara

Search Inventory Near You


Available in 6 styles:  2000 Toyota Camry Solara 2dr Coupe shown
Asking Price Range
$1,788–$8,896
Estimated MPG

19–23 city / 26–32 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

By 

chicagotribune.com

So what do you do if you don't have a PT Cruiser to attract the public to your showrooms?

You bring out a Camry Solara convertible and a MR2 roadster and hope for the best.

When the PT Cruiser from DaimlerChrysler has captured the imagination of thousands, Toyota has unveiled a pair of niche vehicles designed to capture the wallets of hundreds.

The Solara convertible and MR2 roadster (See review next Sunday) are low-volume image vehicles to serve as magnets to draw people to Toyota, which plans to produce only 6,000 convertibles and 5,000 roadsters--just enough to show that it knows the drawing power of specialty machines.

The vehicles arrive in showrooms this month.

The Solara convertible joins the Solara coupe, introduced for the '99 model year. The convertible is Toyota's first midsize drop-top and is aimed at the similarly sized Chrysler Sebring convertible that dominates the open-top market.

The Solara convertible comes in SE and top-of-the-line SLE versions. The SE will offer a 2.2-liter, 135-horsepower 4-cylinder as standard, the SLE with a 3-liter, 200-h.p., 24-valve V-6 as standard. The V-6 is optional in the SE.

Had to wonder why, other than being able to offer a lower-priced version, Toyota chose a 4-cylinder convertible, but John Kramer, corporate manager of national sales, said 25 percent of Solara coupe sales are 4s so it will be offered in the convertible, too. But Toyota expects only a 10 percent take rate, so few that the 4 won't be available for three months.

We tested the SLE with its V-6, a likable power plant with ample energy to move from the light or into/out of the passing lane while still offering whisper-smooth operation and delivering 19 m.p.g. city/27 m.p.g. highway. The convertibles offer only 4-speed automatics, unlike the coupe, which teams a 5-speed manual with the 4-cylinder.

The Solara convertible comes from very good stock, being the open-top partner to the closed-top coupe. The power top is thickly lined so you don't suffer any wind noise when motoring while it is up. A common convertible drawback is that the top is so low-slung you have to duck and dodge to get your head in or out. Solara offers ample room.

Other nice touches include a glass back window with defroster, an easy-to-pop-on/off pliable rubber boot to cover the retracted top and power rear side windows that automatically go down and up when the top does. The windows reduce the typical convertible wrap-around blind spot along the side, which is so troublesome when passing or backing out of a parking space.

The power-top hardware robs some trunk space, but not enough to keep you from getting at least one good-size set of golf clubs inside.

And there's room in back for two regular-size adults--with the top up or down. Make that lots of room. To get in back, you pull a lever on the front seat and it slides forward to offer wide-open access. Getting out is just as easy, with a similar tap on the lever to slide the front seat forward again.

Ride and handling are very pleasant. Often the conversion from coupe to convertible sacrifices vehicle rigidity and stiffness, and you are left to suffer squeaks and rattles from body sq uirm just for the joy of open-top motoring. Solara is solid and almost eerily quiet, moving along the pavement with top down or up. And the radio automatically adjusts the sound level when the top is down.

The Solara convertible comes with four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, front and rear stabilizer bars, gas-filled shocks and an anti-vibration subframe, all of which contribute to vehicle stability as well as quiet.

There are a few problems, however, one being that the SLE goes the luxury route with leather as standard--not the seat covering of choice if left outside with the top down in July. And it would be nice if the outside mirrors were a tad larger.

Solara convertibles are limited to 6,000 units based on the contract with its supplier. Have to suspect the number will be raised as soon as possible.

The Solara SE 4-cylinder convertible starts at $25,068, the SE V-6 at $28,008 and the SLE V-6 at $30,488. (By comparison, the Chrysler Sebring JX starts at $24,045, the JXi at $26,700. Sebring is powered by a 2.5-liter, 168-h.p. V-6.)

There's lots of standard equipment in all Solara versions, including anti-lock brakes ($610 with 4-cylinder SE), air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, AM-FM stereo with cassette and CD, tilt steering, cruise control, fog lamps and dual illuminated vanity mirrors.

The SLE adds leather seats with eight-way power driver's seat, 16-inch, all-season tires (15-inch with 4-cylinder) mounted on alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control with outside temperature reading, power heated side mirrors, HomeLink remote-control system for garage door/security gate opening/closing, daytime running lamps and automatic dimming rearview mirror.

The only options on the SLE are a JBL sound system upgrade for $200, traction control for $300, side air bags mounted in the seats for $250 (SE too) and diamond white pearl paint at $220. Traction control is not offered on any SE model.

You can upgrade the SE V-6 with 16-inch radials in a $1,925 package that includes leather seats and sound-system upgrade--a high price to pay for burning your butt on the cowhides.

The Solara convertible is for those who desire open-top motoring in a vehicle larger than a subcompact with the ability to carry two adults in the back seat and still get a set of clubs or the luggage in the trunk. With only 6,000 to be built, that doesn't leave many to go around among the automaker's 1,195 dealers. Expect tight supplies and at least full sticker price.

More to come

One buyer lure that Solara has that Sebring doesn't is the Toyota name and reputation for reliability and dependability.

The 6,000 Solaras will add to Toyota's Camry sales total for 2000 as it tries to remain the industry's top-selling car, a title it has held for the last three calendar years. For calendar '99, Camry sales totaled 448,162, w ith 52,000 of those being coupes.

"One of our goals for 2000 is to go for a fourpeat," Kramer said of the sales title.

"It's important, of course, for Toyota to have the industry's top-selling car. But it's important for the consumers, too, because in their mind it reinforces the belief that they made the right decision when they know that more than 400,000 other people voted with their money too," he said.

Oddly, at the same time Toyota is out to keep Camry No. 1, the automaker is going to reduce Camry output at its Georgetown, Ky., plant this year to increase output of the hot-selling Toyota Avalon sedan.

Toyota sold 68,000 Avalons in 1999, but thanks to the redesign, sales neared 20,000 units in the first two months of this year. Avalon could sell about 100,000 copies in 2000, especially among all those Camry owners wanting to move into a larger vehicle. Before the redesign, when Avalon was notoriously stodgy, some fled to Buick LeSabres and P ontiac Bonnevilles, Toyota insiders confided.

Georgetown produces Camry, Avalon and the Sienna mini-van and is at capacity now, so increasing output of one nameplate means cutting another.

Kramer said the shortfall will be made up by importing more Camry sedans from Japan plus adding the Camry Solara convertibles that will come off the line at Toyota's plant in Canada that now builds Corollas.

Expect some more changes in the Georgetown product mix soon. Camry undergoes a major redesign for the fall of 2001 for the 2002 model year, and insiders promise you won't see the conservative body panels that have been the car's trademark.

There are a lot of other changes coming from Toyota soon. The automaker will unveil the Highlander sport-utility vehicle at the New York Auto Show in a few weeks, the Toyota version of the Lexus RX300 hybrid sedan/sport-ute. Highlander will go on sale as a 2001 model next spring. Highlander, like the RX300, is built off a Camry platform.

Toyota also will use the New York show to unveil a redesigned and somewhat larger RAV4 sport-ute due out this fall.

And it plans minor cosmetic front- and rear-end freshening for the Corolla this fall. Solara is due for a minor restyling for 2002.

>> 2000 Toyota Camry Solara SLE convertible Wheelbase: 105.1 inches Length: 190 inches Engine:3-liter, 200-h.p., 24-valve V-6 Transmission: 4-speed automatic Fuel economy: 19 m.p.g. city/27 m.p.g. highway Base price: $30,488 Price as tested: $31,238. Includes $200 for JBL sound system upgrade; $250 for side-impact air bags; and $300 for traction control. Add $455 for freight. Pluses: Power top-down motoring with rear side windows to prevent blind spot. Real size rear seat for real size people. Host of standard equipment, including ABS, air, power windows/locks/mirrors. Choice of 4-cylinder for mileage (SE only) or V-6 (standard SLE) for performance. Minuses: Limited production of only 6,000 units. Who will buy this car with a 4-cylinder in three months when they're available? >>


    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

Featured Services for this Toyota Camry Solara

  • Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
  • Not sure what auto repair should cost you? Use our price estimator.
  • Get help with car repair now on Cars.com. Visit Repair & Care

Search Inventory Near You

Calculate Monthly Payment

What will my monthly cost be?

Check Payment

Calculate Affordable Price

What is the most I can afford?

Check Price

More Calculators

Compare finance offers to decide what's right for you.

Certain specifications, prices and equipment data have been provided under license from Chrome Data Solutions ("Chrome Data"). ©2013 Chrome Data Solutions, LP. All Rights Reserved. This information is supplied for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without the express written consent of Chrome Data. Chrome Data makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose, with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.