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2004 Toyota Solara

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Comments

  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    I got my (well my wife's) 2004 Solara SLE V6 for a week. I spend half the driving shared with my wife. Here is my comment:

    1. Ride: Smooth, relax but never floating. The suspension is firmmer than Camry and similar to Accord sedan. It's not as sporty as BMW nor Nissan G35. Road imperfection will not upset the passenger but clearly feel what is going on underneat. It rides more like Lexus ES300 with Adaptive suspension at sport mode.

    2. Drive: maneuverability is good but not great. Body lean is obvious but never a threat. Steering wheel is quicker than Camry and on par with Camry. The weight toward the light side but not yet like traditional american sedan. I will rate it at the middle. It's better than the previous Solara which is very similar to the Camry. The steering wheel is also improved.

    3. Noise: hardly heard any noise in the cabin. Neither wind nor road noise. Low groan from the engine when press hard. The ambient is very like the one in Lexas.

    4. Material: first rated and on par of Lexus. My friend sat in the car and mistakenly think is Lexus. Another friend owned a 2003 Lexus ES300 praised the material is like lexus in stead of Toyota. The back of the seat is Synthetic leather but has very good texture on touch and thick. Surface wraped is natural leather. Only thing show non-luxury brand is the head liner. It is the same as in Camry/Accord with thin padding unnlike in Premium brands who use leather or thick padding texture one.

    Engine: Quiet, smooth but potent. Low end acceleration is less than I like. After 20mph the speed came up fast with strong pull. The AT works great and smooth. I can sense the gear change between 1 and 2 but not bad at all as the old Honda and Mazda 4 speed. I will report how it works when passing 1000 miles.

    Extrior: Everyone laid eyes on it liked it. It looks very sporty and sexy. The cosmic Blue metallic I have is a very soft color and pleasant to eyes. This is the point triggered my wife to choose it over Accord Coup.

    Overall, we are satisfied with car in every category including the price. Too bad we couldn't get some luxury options like Xenon Head light, swirl head light, or Adaptive suspension. Or open all windows by pressing keypad. But for 26K+, it provides features better than we expect for this price.
  • russklassrussklass Posts: 389
    We bought 4 16" wheels to mount winter tires on our '04 Solara SLE (picked it up Saturday).
    The wheels are 16 6.5, sparkle silver finish, with Toyota center caps. Price was $350 the set of 4, delivered, no tax, plus $26 for chrome lug nuts & valve stems.
    Anyone interested can find them by typing "Toyota Solara Wheels" in the E-Bay search engine
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    It's been a couple of weeks since I've checked this topic, but I'd like to add my 2 cents in on a few things you brought up in the past couple of weeks.

    First, congrats on getting your order through for the base V6. I believe I've read the same thing about other cars before so it's not exactly uncommon. The G35 for example, if you ordered a cloth version or a non sunroof version I believe some people had to wait a little longer than people who wanted cars with more options. This must be the case with the Solara, and that they don't plan to make a lot of base V6 cars so only occasionally will they make any, and when they do they make them all at once then it could be months before they get around to making more.

    Some Accords are in fact built in Japan. I'm not sure if the coupe version is but the sedan can be made in Japan. It can also be made in Mexico. So they have 3 different locations making US Accords. Again this is for the sedan, not entirely sure how the coupe works. Also not sure if the Japanese built Accords are like some of the Japanese built Corollas I've seen. The sticker says a lot of parts are from the US, so I'm thinking they're shipping parts from the US to Japan and then they're put together there?? Maybe a Toyota dealer in here can explain this, not sure if all those parts are made in Japan.

    If you're not aware, there's a lot of talk about rust problems in NA built Mazda6's right now. Apparently something went wrong at the Flat Rock plant and some Mazdas are having premature rust, coming from the inside out. Even 2004 Mazda6's still in the plastic are having the rust on them as well. So far no one from another country with the Japan built versions have reported the same rust problem, so it may be exclusive to the NA ones. I just noticed your comment about Japan built cars so decided to throw that in.

    And as far as the G35 coupe is concerned. The tires are very expensive to replace, especially the 18" versions. Both the 17" and 18" have bigger tires in the back (like the Corvette I think) so you can't rotate them, which combined to the low tire life of these sporty tires leads to shorter tire life. Unless you have some extra money to play with I would stay away from the coupe version of the G35 for this reason alone. I only say that because I don't have a lot of money, people who buy these cars probably have the money to replace them so for most potential buyers it's not an issue.

    With all that said, I think a base V6 Solara is a good deal and you could definetly do worse. I think if you want a coupe and money is an issue I would go with the Solara or Accord coupe. Test drive them both and go with the one you like. Good luck with your purchase!
  • akc10akc10 Posts: 21
    I see where Honda has had problems with cars made in Marysville Ohio. They say get one made in Japan, not Marysville. Unfortunately we do not have that choice with the Solara. You would think Toyo would have learned its' lesson with the GEO experiment with GM. We know about the american workers and their attention to detail :)but wouldn't one think they could find some QC people who cared. I even find it hard to believe Toyo would let its' reputatation be trampled in this manner. (ie...CR downgrades Camry) I really like this car (solara) but will wait to read more as more people drive/buy them. Are there more forums or input other than this one (edmunds)? Has CR did a review on the 04 Solara yet?
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    I use to think Japanese-built cars had no big advantage over US-built versions but after the Mazda rust stuff I'm not so sure. This could be the nail in the coffin for Mazda. They're struggling to get a reputation for reliability that's on par with Honda and Toyota and now if this rust problem is true and as bad as it seems to be, this could hurt them in a big way.

    Oddly enough, almost their entire line-up is built in Japan. The Protege, future Mazda3, MPV, RX-8, and Miata are all built in Japan.

    I think Honda is getting some from Japan because they wanted to free up space in Ohio for another model. Toyota must have plenty of space for the Camry's and Solara's so no need to go to Japan for help. I believe the same applies to the Corolla. More demand and not enough space so some Corolla's are being built in Japan.
  • akc10akc10 Posts: 21
    I see where Honda has had problems with cars made in Marysville Ohio. They say get one made in Japan, not Marysville. Unfortunately we do not have that choice with the Solara. You would think Toyo would have learned its' lesson with the GEO experiment with GM. We know about the american workers and their attention to detail :)but wouldn't one think they could find some QC people who cared. I even find it hard to believe Toyo would let its' reputatation be trampled in this manner. (ie...CR downgrades Camry) I really like this car (solara) but will wait to read more as more people drive/buy them. Are there more forums or input other than this one (edmunds)? Has CR did a review on the 04 Solara yet?
  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    Fisrt of all, it's not based on where the car assembled to be tag the where they made. If you saw a sticker said made in Japan only sure it means more than 50% parts are imported from Japan. Assembly still could be in US. For Japanese car companies, they can save more by produce car in the market they are selling to save shipping, time and possible import tax. Some states like CA request dealer to post the percentage of parts they came from. It's hard to verify if the car did imported from oversea.

    I have visited the factory of joint of GM and Toyota in Fremont, CA. They use same process and QC procedures as other Toyota factories all over the world. They collect the defective rate and problem, and have sent engineers from Japan to investigate the unusal high defective rate. So initial quality should be the same no matter from which site.

    Honda start to built their cars in US later than Toyota. For satisfying the demand, they have to use their oversea facilities to build more to meet. Now, they have two different platforms for North America and Asia/Europ markets. I wonder how can they build two platform on the same line with almost no re-schedule and planing time for the change. That is the reason why they can't increase the volumn for the Odyssey/MDX/Pilot in the past 3-4 years. So I don't believe Honda really built NA version in Japan and ship them here. I bet they ship more parts from there to US for unexpected shortage of parts or sudden high order from dealers. Remember, none of the manufacturer can change the assembly line in days. It usually take 3-6 months minimum for that change. Dealers just try to make you believe the car from Japan by the sticker actually imply more parts were made in Japan not built there.
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    The next time I look at one of the window stickers I'll double check to make sure what I'm saying is correct, but I think what I said is right, but you may be right as well. I recall it saying it was assembled in so and so location and gave the location of the factory in Japan. I believe the Accord has had some of the cars made in Japan from the very beginning, so Honda must have prepared for it ahead of time.

    Also the Honda Inspire is very similar to the US Accord, so it wouldn't be that difficult to build US Accords in Japan. Also a recent article said the Toyota Prius hybrid is being built on the same line as 4 other mass-produced sedans in Japan. Before it needed it's own line to itself. Compare to the Honda Insight which the article says is pratically being hand-built. The Prius is also being cranked out 1 every minute compared to before when it took 1 every 8-10 minutes.

    Also here is a little info on the Mazda Hofu, Japan plant.

    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/page.arcview.php3?clid=18&id=- 86363&usrsess=1

    "Mazda’s Hofu plant is the first car-assembly plant in the world to feature a mixed body-assembly line, which means that many different models can be assembled at the same time without interruption of the production line.

    This system enables mixed production of up to 12 different models in variable volumes. It can cope with model changes, addition of new models and fluctuations in volumes without making substantial changes to the facility, ensuring consistent product quality, reduced costs and also minimal preparation time required for mass production.

    In addition, the body-assembly shop features 700 robots offering 100 per cent automated spot welding."

    Also I don't have the article anymore, but I read one where the Ohio Honda plant would have a lot of upgrades done within the next year. Not necessarily new techniques to increase output, but they were adding equipment and raising the quality bar for the cars built there. Even though I don't think the article mentioned it, one can only assume the Japanese factories already have these techniques and equipment in place.

    I have no problem buying a car built in NA. In fact I'm considering buying a Korean car as my next car. Where a car is built is not a deal breaker for me, but I think we can agree that all factories are not created equal. Some have better equipment, some have machines doing jobs that humans do in others, etc.

    By reading that article on the Mazda plant, where would you rather have your Mazda built if you were buying one? From the high-tech Japanese plant or the one from the Philippines? Not to say that the Philippines plant is all bad, but quality control may be better from the Japanese plant.
  • Just wondering if anyone has heard anything new about the release of the new '04 ('05 - whatever model it will be) convertible. And hopefully the ordering issues that Toyota seems to have will be worked out by then.
  • I attended a SolaraStyle test drive session last month in New Jersey and I asked one of the reps who said it was possible to get a Solara that was built in Japan for U.S. delievery. Did not get into an in depth discussion but rep said it could be handled thru a dealer and might cost a little more (don't know what that means!) Maybe a couple of hundred $$$. Raised this ? because I have an '88 Supra which was made in Japan and still runs great and still has many of its OEM parts.
  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    As I know, the Solara was designed and built in US. I don't know why the rep said that. Leave a room for the dealer markup?
  • If a Toyota rep told you that you could buy a Solara made in Japsn, he knows somehting nobody else does. Th Solara is designed in the USA for American production and manufactured in the USA "only" for the USA market. I know of no other country that would spend $25,000 for a 2 door Toyota. Especiallly if you were speaking of a V6! HA!
  • "I know of no other country that would spend $25,000 for a 2 door Toyota. Especiallly if you were speaking of a V6! HA!"

    The last production of the Toyota Supra was in 1995. The Supra had 2 doors and a V6 and people all over the globe were buying them. They were around $35,000 to $42,000 back then. You can't buy them used because no body is selling.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    Last model year sold in the US was the 1998.
                        : )
                        Mackabee
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    I read the reviews, so I already know it is quiet, but how quiet?
    Is it as quiet, more or less quiet than a Lexus ES330?
  • Are you speaking of Euros??? I was buying a Mini in Paris, loaded for $14,000 euros. Get the currency str8! If anyone paid that much for a car in dollars, a 2 door, they were connected, or drug dealers. Take a vacation! No 2 door luxery cars, except Germany, and they are rare!
  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    I didn't drive them side by side or in the same day. The impression is very close. So close to tell actually. The Solara maybe has a litlle more road noise on rough surface may due to lower profile stiffer tires. But compare to G35 or Accord Coup, it surpass these two in this category.
  • I bet you know the answers to several questions that I have been trying to get answered. Does the SE V 6 Solara have a top speed electronic limiter? What is the top speed of this car? What is the invoice on a base V6 with no adds of any kind from a MSRP of 21975? If you do not know these answers, please direct me to someone who does. I have been waiting for some magazine to test this car but so far all I have seen is a short take, or first drive. Do you know of any magazine that has done a complete road test on the Solara? I do not mean Motor Trend as that book does not do top speeds. What a bunch of chickens. That is the reason I dropped my sub.
    To my knowledge only Car & Driver and Road & Track do complete road tests.
  • I forgot to ask, does the standard V6 base car have a strut bar? I know the SE sport does, but I just wondered if that was exclusive to the Sport model?
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    Base SE V6 invoice is $19,304

    $19,304 + $515 (destination charge) = $19,819

    And C&D has a review of some sort of the Solara online. Haven't had time to read through it yet though so not sure if it'll help you any.
This discussion has been closed.