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2004 Toyota Solara

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  • Have any of you had problems with the CD player acting up? I got my Solara about 2 to 3 months ago. From the day I got it, it never worked right. Here's an example. 50% of the time that I put a CD into the drive whether it was a burnt CD or a production one, it would come up with an error. Let's say I was listening to a CD and flipped over to the radio to check weather or traffic for a minute, then switched back... Error 99.999% of the time. They switched the CD player out, but this one is just as bad as the one before. Just seeing if I'm the only one with a problem.
  • I have a 99 Odyssey EX with auto A/C and I like it better than the one in Solara. You may leave the Auto mode for switching cold and hot air but manually adjust the fan speed. In Solara, once you change the fan speed, the auto mode is off. I leave it in Auto which is the default once you start the car. I think this is the evidence of cost cutting.

    For the CD changer, mine is working all right and smooth. If I remember right, you need to select the empty slot before insert the CD. If not, the system will assume the slot it is on. I will double check and confirm that. The one in Solara is much better than the Escape I rent for a week. Escape need to shuffle one by one instead of press the slot number for this. And it takes some time before accepting CD. I don't have problem on switching between CD and radio so I guess is bad luck? Have you read the user manual of operation or you just figure it out by yourself? More than often the problem can be resolved by reading the manual. Just my suggestion since it works well 90% of the time!
  • To each their own. Frankly, I would not want my automatic system to change the fresh air mixture without my explicit input, since this control has as much to do with humidity control as temperature control. If the automatic system also let me set my humidity preferences in addition to my temperature preferences, I might change my mind, but I haven’t seen an automotive system with that capability yet. If I find pushing 1 button to be too challenging, I may be ready for the retirement home!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The difference in the Solaras torque advantage is GREATER than the difference in the Accords HP advantage....

    Accord: Peak HP by 15 horses
    Solara: Peak torque by 28 foot pounds

    Just something to think about
    ~alpha
  • Finally figured it out.

    2k1trd -- you're 50% correct. But your response inspired me. Here's what I found.

    If you use Auto, and manually increase or decrease the temp., the mode (front, front/floor, floor) will automatically switch according to the temp. When the temp goes up, it'll switch from front, to front/floor, to floor. It will also automatically switch back (from floor to front) if you lower the temp.

    Now if you turn off the system, and turn it back on by pressing the Fan speed, this "automatic mode switch" function will still be there even Auto is off. Increasing or decreasing the temp will automatically switch the Mode.

    Now if at this point, you manually hit the Mode button to switch the mode because you don't want to heat up your foot, this "automatic mode switch" function will be disabled, until you hit Auto again.

    Whew. 2k1trd and cooldad can you try that on yours and see if it's the same?? I don't mean to be so anal about this air control thing. But I just want to make sure I'm in control and know how it operates.

    "toyota a/c is crap compared to honda." ????? Is that an opinion or fact? What kind of testing have you done to both systems to come out with such conclusion? Please share with us here. BTW, the new Solara came out in Fall/Winter and there's no exteme hot weather to test the A/C system yet.

    alpha -- you forgot to mention both HP and Torque come out at higher rpm too.
  • Cute is a word I rarely apply to motor vehicles, but I'm making an exception in the case of the 2004 Toyota Camry Solara.

    This second generation of the Solara coupe is cuter than the first ... and the first was pretty cute. ''Ruggedly handsome'' just does not work with this car, especially when the tested model is coated in paint called ''Absolutely Red.''

    ''Redder-Than-Red'' or ''Blindingly Red'' would have worked, too. The tester all but screamed for attention, accentuated by a saucy new design with a V-shaped grille and an aerodynamic, bumper-to-bumper arc.

    Style is important for Solara. Since 1999, the car has been entrenched among Top 10 lists of passenger models preferred by female buyers. The sleeker look for 2004 should do nothing to drop Solara off those lists.

    The arc shape raised Solara's roofline by nearly 2 inches compared with the first generation, and Toyota's engineers stretched the new Solara's wheelbase by nearly the same amount. The realignment translates to improved room, which was much needed in the rear seats. Adult legs no longer press up against the front seats.

    The power plant also has been upgraded. The tested SLE, the top Solara model among three trim levels offered, came with a 3.3-liter V-6 with variable valve timing technology and 225 horsepower. That's a big step up from the 3-liter, 198-horsepower V-6 in the previous SLE.

    The Solara's new engine provided brisk acceleration, with the electronically controlled, five-speed automatic transmission working the shifts smoothly. The gearbox also allows for clutchless manual shifting.

    Four-cylinder Solaras can be had with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic, and the base Solara SE with a manual is a genuine bargain with a starting price of $19,120.

    In truth, the Solara SLE's performance was most impressive once the engine revs were up. The SLE whipped around traffic on surface streets and area freeways like a champ. It sawed off sharp surface-street corners with sports car-like crispness; kudos to Toyota engineers who designed the car's sport-tuned suspension (independent front and rear).

    The Solara's redesigned interior likewise radiated sportiness. A center-mounted gauge display is sharp-looking and easy to read -- especially with illuminated pointers on the gauges. Chrome and woodgrain accents were attractively sprinkled and not overdone.

    The impressive list of standard features included a power moonroof and a sweet-sounding JBL premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer and eight speakers.

    With a new generation come new challenges. Primary among them was an automatic climate-control system on the tested SLE that was consistently about five degrees off in both warming and cooling modes. And recurring warnings from the tire-pressure monitoring system were exceedingly annoying because that jarring exclamation point in the message center always makes the heart skip a couple of beats.

    Trips to nearby gas stations showed that the tires were up to Toyota specifications. Cold weather start-ups were the likely cause of the tire-pressure warnings -- one reason that I have serious reservations about good-intentioned, but sometimes-deceiving, tire-pressure monitoring systems.

    One other gripe: A large adult needs to do some serious bending and grunting to semi-gracefully slip into or out of the back seat area. In fairness, that's a universal problem native to most midsize coupes. And making the car bigger only makes it more expensive.

    Overall, the latest Solara is a positive step in the evolutionary process. Probably the most important thing Toyota could do with the car was make it distinct ... that is something more than a two-door version of a Camry sedan.

    Along that line, the automaker did a good job, producing a stylish, agile, two-door passenger model that makes Solara resemble more of a high-spirited, chance-taking cousin than a bland Camry knockoff.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    i personally do not use the "auto" mode any way so i really don't care...
  • I have been getting somewhere between 16 and 18 mpg in combined city / highway driving. I have not been on any long trips to be able to check highway only mileage, but this seems a bit low to me. I shrugged it off at first, thinking that I had been a little too happy with the gas pedal when I first got the car, but even when I am careful, the mileage is still in the big SUV territory. Anyone else getting this kind of mileage? I am wondering if the pull left /alignment issue is hurting mileage.
  • I have a 2002 SE 4 cyl and get 32-34 on the highway at 75 mph. Have not checked city, stop and go mileage
  • My car is an 04 V6 SLE. I would expect the 4 cyl to get better mileage, but all the reviews have been pretty glowing about what the V6 has been rated for. Am trying to figure out if I have a problem or if reviews / EPA is so much fantasy.
  • drmpdrmp Posts: 187
    I am comparing it to camry. If it is longer, would it fit into the camry? I wish they have the same seat rails since I find the camry's seat to be short and doesn't have enough thigh support. I remember sitting into a solara and elt more comfortable with good thigh support, but I need four doors. Toyota please listen up. Why is it so hard to have a long seat bottom like the prevous generation camry, or the current maxima, galant, mazda6, passat? I hope it's not one of the cost cutting measures.
  • Anyone have any information on the navigation system that comes as an option on the Solara. We have a Magellan portable system in our other car, and I was wondering if it was worth it to get the standard system in the solara or just to go with a magellan system. Is the solara's system CD based? How is the coverage?
  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    Any recent car Navigation will be superior than the hand held one. For one, all latest Nav using DVD to cover 48 states. Hand held one use flash memory or compact flash card with up to a state's map and destinations. Some metro area like L.A. take full of the memory. Some larger portable model using CD-Rom which need to replce when travel to a new area. Maybe there are newest models adopting DVD but performance and user friendness can't come close to the better design car NAV. About a year ago, CR did portable NAV testing. The results show none is on par of the system form Japanese and Germany brands. The big three are mixed but they are improving the software and should catch up very soon.

    Some reviews have reported the NAV saying is quite good considering its lower price and performance. If I remember right, they claim the NAV system is not as good as those in Lexus and Acura, but better than those in european brands. You can get some idea when test drive. Ask your dealer to find one with NAV for test drive. Then you can play with it to see how easy to use and the precision compared side by side with your portable one.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    The in car DVD based maps are best, but are generally $1300 to $2000 or more. One hidden cost is that you usually are required to buy some other options before you can order the navigation, so the real cost is even higher if you weren't going to get the other options anyway.
    In the last year, hand held units have improved. They do not have all the shortcomings you listed, but still are not as nice as a DVD based system.
    I can load the maps of CA, Nevada and Oregon on a 256MB SD card on a PDA and have room to spare with some PDA based systems. I can load the entire US on the hard drive of a laptop based system using Routis 2004. If I want to go "cross country" I will fly, not drive, so the PDA system works fine for me.
    The GPS software and hardware cost about $200, so it is super cheap if you already own a laptop or newer PDA. If you have to buy a PDA or laptop for the sole purpose of using it for nav and have no need for the portability, then just get the built-in system.
  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 162
    The NAV is $1,350 MSRP option alone without any other option on the SLE and SE V6. I have PDA and have checked out the NAV software. It dies provide your location and direction to the destination. But what it lack is other resources like ATM, Back, restaurant and more importantly hospitals and police station. You ahve to to plan in advance since you need to download it if plan changed and you have to bring along your Laptop. My company is working on GPS so we have collected and compared many portable GPS system. None is as capable and easy to use as car Nav. If you need one, buy the one in the car. There do exist the portable one is bigger (not PDA-like) and can be installed in the car like those after market one. CR has test them and rated them from fair to good while auto OEM is good (CD-ROM based) to excellent (ACURA and Lexus are quoted).

    Another reason why those PDA platform unit performace poorly is power. PDA need to save power to keed the battery last longer. The power it emits is about 10% of those car based or after market. The difference is how many satelite you can link. The more linked, the higher precision. This is particular critical in metro without lots of high building or hilly area with many big tree. Along the hwy, the PDA should work fine though.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    You are not using a good PDA system. Routis 2004 has banks, atms, gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, shopping centers etc.. Like I said, I am able to load CA, plus adjoining states on an 256MB SD card, so you do not have to plan in advance or bring a laptop along with all nav programs.
    Try to find a Solara SE or SLE with nav and no other options.
    Many Lexus models are completely impossible to find with nav unless they also have the Mark Levinson stereo, rear DVD video entertainment system etc..
    The GPS unit I use does not only work out on the highway. I have used it in the city with tall buildings and trees around and had no problems, you can even add an external antenna for better reception. I have heard about ones with severe problems, but better navigation software and GPS hardware have come out in the last few months. Power is not a problem, the GPS I plugged into my PDA normally tracks 8 or more satellites and the PDA simply plugs into the cigarette lighter power port in the car.
    I still like the in car systems since they are easier to use than dealing with a laptop or PDA and the new Honda and Acura systems let you input commands with your voice (which is very cool), but they are all very expensive and don't add all that much to the resale value.
  • theflowtheflow Posts: 98
    I totally love the Nav. It uses DVD. Very convenient and useful if you like to travel around and have an active lifestyle. The only thing I don't like is I cannot "hide" the Nav. Not like those from Volvo or the new Mazda 3, it is not retractable and there's no cover to "hide" the nav. So I'm kinda worried sometimes if I have to park outdoor.

    BTW, I think the Solara's Nav is pretty cheap given it's quality.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,876
    OK, it's long past time for us to join other owners in one of the active discussions. We'll close this one, and you can continue in one of these others:
    Toyota Solara--Part 6
    Toyota Camry Solara: Prices Paid & Buying Experience

    Thanks!

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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