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Here Are The Toyota Solara Years To Avoid

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White Toyota Solara

Toyota Solara by SsmIntrigue — CC-BY-SA-4.0

​​The Toyota Solara is a mid-size coupe and optional convertible. The Solara is mechanically based on the Toyota Camry and effectively replaced the discontinued Camry Coupe. However, unlike its predecessor, the Solara was designed with a greater emphasis on sportiness, with more styling and improved suspension and engine tuning intended to provide a sportier feel. The coupe was introduced in late 1998 for the 1999 model year. While there are some solid models, here are the Toyota Solara years to avoid.

The Solara was introduced in 1998 and only lasted 10 years until plummeting sales prompted Toyota to abandon their mostly failed attempt to challenge the German sports vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW. Their luxury market supremacy remained mainly unchanged and ultimately led to the end of the Solara.

The Toyota Solara was substantially based on the bestselling Toyota Camry, much as the Toyota Supra was strongly based on the popular Toyota Celica. While the Camry was supposed to be a traditional executive vehicle, the Toyota Solara was targeted at a younger demographic and was available as a convertible or coupe. Here are the years to avoid.

Registered complaints by year

  • 1999: 1
  • 2000: 8
  • 2001: 3
  • 2002: 3
  • 2003: 1
  • 2004: 39
  • 2005: 9
  • 2006: 35
  • 2007: 35
  • 2008: 23

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 Toyota Solara Years To Avoid - 2004 Model

While the ride is smooth and controlled, it is notably firmer than the four-door model. The handling is likewise more agile, though it isn’t quite sporty. Engine options have included competent four-cylinders and a smooth, powerful V6 over the years. The Solara’s cabin is well-appointed and serenely quiet, with comfy and supportive front seats. Two average-sized individuals can fit in the back seat. The top of our test convertible had somebody shaking, but it was sufficiently insulated. The visibility backward, on the other hand, was terrible.

Most complaints

 A number of reported issues in each category are according to carcomplaints.com.

  • Interior Accessories: 23
  • Engine: 5
  • Seat Belts & Air Bags: 3
  • Windows & Windshield: 3
  • Exhaust System: 2
  • Steering: 2
  • Transmission: 1

The 2004 model was a redesign year, and like many other manufacturer brands, had some significant changes in its first new looking year. The redesigned interior led to the highest complaints for this model and the next few model years. A cracking dashboard was the overwhelming majority of reported issues and complaints from drivers and would be a common theme for the remainder of the Solara production years. There were no official NHTSA safety recalls, but lots of problems from an overall driving aesthetic and experience.

 Toyota Solara Years To Avoid - 2006 Model

The number of reported issues in each category are according to carcomplaints.com:

  •  Interior Accessories: 24
  • Engine: 5
  • Seat Belts & Air Bags: 2
  • Body & Paint: 1
  • Exhaust System: 1
  • Transmission: 1
  • Wheels & Hubs: 1

Similar to the 2004 model, the overwhelming issues with the 2006 model revolved around the interior material. The dashboard was prone to cracking, ripping, and glossy looks that created a reflective hazard for drivers. Replacement estimates took several months to years depending on the location, and in addition to creating a minor driving hazard, it created an unpleasant look to the majority of the interior.

 Recalls

  • Rims and tires
  • Seats

Aftermarket auxiliary seat warmers with copper strand heating elements were prone to failure and overheating. When the seat cushion sank or was crushed, the electrical wiring in the seat warmers may be damaged.


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Toyota Solara Years To Avoid - 2007 Model

 Number of reported issues in each category are according to carcomplaints.com.

  • Interior Accessories: 16
  • Engine: 11
  • Exhaust System: 2
  • AC & Heater: 1
  • Body & Paint: 1
  • Brakes: 1
  • Electrical: 1
  • Seat Belts & Air Bags: 1
  • Suspension: 1

The most common issues were again on the dashboard that experienced cracking and splintering, and in some cases, even melting. This is seen in other model years, but no official recall was announced. The highest performance-related issue was overconsumption of oil, frequently occurring just over the 100,000-mile mark. Poor fuel efficiency and excess oil use led drivers to spend more on upkeep later in the car’s life.

Recalls

  • Rims and tires
  • Accelerator pedal can be trapped under the floor mat
  • Seats

Aftermarket auxiliary seat warmers with copper strand heating elements were prone to failure and overheating. When the seat cushion sank or was crushed, the electrical wiring in the seat warmers may be damaged.

Toyota Solara Years To Avoid - 2008 Model

 Number of reported issues in each category are according to carcomplaints.com.

  • Interior Accessories: 12
  • Exterior Accessories: 5
  • Lights and Electrical: 2
  • Body & Paint: 1
  • Engine: 1
  • Transmission: 1
  • Windows & Windshield: 1

The most commonly reported issue once again came from the dashboard, with poor reflection and cracking that led to issues while driving. This was reported as few as 50,000 miles and cost a few thousand dollars to fix ($2,000). While it was the most recent model year in production, the higher repair costs at a typically lower mileage than previous years make it a model to avoid.


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Recalls

  • Rims and tires
  • Accelerator pedal can be trapped under the floor mat
  • Seats

Aftermarket auxiliary seat warmers with copper strand heating elements were prone to failure and overheating. When the seat cushion sank or was crushed, the electrical wiring in the seat warmers may be damaged.

From 2005 through 2008, yearly sales dropped from over 50,000 to slightly over 20,000 units. The coupe was discontinued after the 2008 model year owing to declining sales, but the convertible, which accounted for the bulk of cars sold, was kept in production. Despite assurances that the convertible would be offered until at least 2010, manufacturing was halted in December 2008, with inventory sales continuing to measure demand. Toyota declared in June 2009 that sales had fallen short of expectations and that manufacturing would not restart on the Solara.

While the Toyota Solara is an affordable used option, due to its somewhat short lifespan, it actually isn’t likely to be much cheaper than a used BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Audi from similar years. And if you want to buy a luxury coupe or convertible that will turn heads and make you look beautiful while you’re driving, you should consider buying from the best available. When factoring in repair work, it may be easier to get maintenance from one of the other sports brands since Toyota has discontinued the vehicle over a decade ago.



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