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2004 Toyota Solara



  • .. but you're the boss.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    snakerbill, there's nothing in the membership agreement that prohibits ignorance :) Feel free to disagree with members (or occasionally, ignore), but let's keep it civil. And remember, sometimes I need to delete posts because one is offensive, and the other ones are OK but no longer make sense. Cheers.


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  • qibbleqibble Posts: 26
    Hello All,

    Does anyone know if you can order the body kit separately and have the dealer or someone put it on? I think the car looks alot better with the kit and it's a shame that Toyota didn't make it an option across the model range.

  • I owned a 2001 Solara SLE V6 when I lived in California then sold it upon moving to NYC. I am now considering moving away from Manhattan so i can have a car without needing a mortgage to park it.

    The 2001 handling sucked but I loved the car otherwise. Does anyone know if the handling they claim to be improved is in fact better?

    Also noting from description they have added heated seats and remote trunk release.....good additions.
  • A miracle of the bells has occured. Toyota finally accepted my order for a SE V6 Base car with no adds of any kind. Inasmuch as I ordered this car in late July, I would say that their ordering system is a bit slow. The dealer said that my car will probably appear in mid December. Well, at least it will be here in time for Christmas. It is Cosmic Blue with dark stone interior, also, there will be no port adds, or dealer adds. The MSRP will be 21975. Now I must see how much of a discount I can manage. I will be paying cash so they have very few options to try to jack up the price. We will see. Does anyone out there think 6 months from order to delivery is a poor ordering system?
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    I told you so.
                         ; )
  • Snakerbill
    I got my 04 SE V6 Sport with AT, Sunroof, wheel lock, floor mats for 22,900. It took less than 10 minutes to make a deal over the phone, 1 hour to do all paperwork and received the car at the dealer. I drove it home right away. This was back in August when no body have them. I see a whole bunch of them now at local dealerships with 1.9% financing. Good luck. It is your call and your time (to wait)....
  • loucopitsloucopits Posts: 103
    I had two cars built to order - one GM and one the '99 Mercury Cougar. Each took 6 weeks. But, at least Toyota is slowly catching up with the other guys. Perhaps when I am ready to order a replacement Solara they will have the process perfected and down to a more competitive level.
  • bexleybexley Posts: 10
    Purchased my 2004 Solara SLE V6 about a month ago, and I have to say its the smartest purchase I've ever made. I'm a previous Lexus owner, and this vehicle stays in line with all of the luxury I was accustomed with my 99 LS400. The ride is as smooth, the power more than adequate, and the overall quality of materials is 1st rate. I seem to attract attention (lots of head turning) while driving it. I'm truly surprised this vehicle is not sold as a Lexus model.

    I'm very surprised to hear about this 5-speed automatic transmission concern. After a month of driving, I have experienced no form of hesitation. I find the transmission to be very responsive to my throttle inputs, and the manual mode to be great for increased acceleration or deceleration.
    Interestingly, my father owns a 2004 Sienna with the same engine and (I think) same 5-speed transmission. He told me that at times he feels a hestitation, and when I rode with him, he kept pointing out a half-second delay in shifting when he would mash the throttle. I found it just to be normal downshifting, and nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not a safety concern. He mentioned it to his Toyota dealership, and they advised him the condition is normal, but they would inform him of any future updates. I guess it boils down to what feels like a hestitation to him, is interpreted as a 5th to 3rd or 4th to 2nd downshift to me. Again, all a matter of perception.
  • russklassrussklass Posts: 389
    ... it's Absolutely Red, with the Dark Stone interior.
    Matching bodyside moldings, phone and radar dectector going in over the weekend.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    There is nothing wrong with the 5spd transmissions in the Solara. Every once in a while we'll get people in here that will want to sour your new vehicle experience (for some unknown reason).
                                : )
  • I just knew you were going to say that. :)
  • OK, we now have over 1000 miles on the 2004 SE V6. The light that monitors tire pressure is malfunctioning from the day we got the car. They have replaced a tire, a valve, and nothing has corrected it. Next trip we will have them replace the computer and if that fails, then the sensors. Also, the dome light is malfunctioning as well. Will not always go on when opening the door and it is in the correct position. Can anyone spell LEMON? Will let you know.
  • Made in America means something! A funny thing happened at the hardware store. I went to buy a hammer, and there was a hammer made in China for $1.99, and a hammer made in America for $6.00 (ish). I bought the Made in USA! About 12 nails later I was back at the store exchanging my broken USA hammer for the made in China hammer. Works great! This won't be the last of your Solaras problems! Suggest arbitration ASAP, and check your owners manual for your rights before its too late. Some people think I complained too much about my Solara, but believe me, the problems will continue if you have a potentially serious problem at 1,000 miles. Also notify NHTSA. Anything that deals with your life, such as tires and/or moniters should work properly. Your NEW car should provide you a good feeling, not one of dread!
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    I wouldn't go calling your Solara a lemon due to the fact that the dealer is throwing parts at it and they don't know whats wrong with it...
  • This is the generic definitition as lemon laws vary by state...

    "If the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix the vehicle to conform to the warranty within a "reasonable" number of repair attempts, then the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or reimburse the buyer or lessee for its purchase price, whichever the consumer prefers (less a mileage offset for the consumer's use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt), subject in certain cases to arbitration that the consumer may or may not accept.

    The Lemon Law uses a presumption as a guideline for determining whether a "reasonable" number of repair attempts have been made on a new vehicle. In order for the buyer or lessee to use the Lemon Law presumption, all of the following must be true:

    The vehicle must be one that qualifies as a "new motor vehicle" as described above.

    The vehicle's problems must be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

    The problem(s) must occur within the first 18 months of delivery or 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first.

    The problem(s) must substantially reduce the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to the buyer.

    The problem(s) are not caused by abuse of the vehicle.

    The manufacturer has not fixed the problem(s) after four or more attempts or the vehicle's problem(s) could cause death or serious bodily injury if driven and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repairs attempts; or the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) for repair of any problem(s) covered by its factory warranty and if the warranty or owner's manual requires you to do so, that you have notified the manufacturer about your problems. (Best done in writing.)

    If all of these criteria are met, the Lemon Law "presumes" during the first 18 months/18,000 miles (whichever comes first) that the buyer or lessee is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund. However, a replacement or refund may not be automatic since the manufacturer is entitled to prove that no problem exists, that a reasonable number of repair attempts have not been made, or that the problem does not substantially impair the vehicle's use, value or safety. This is predicated upon the consumer's decision to utilize the manufacturer's arbitration program, which they are not required to do unless they decide to pursue the "presumption" rule.
    Even if the vehicle does not fit the 18 month/18,000 mile "presumption" criteria, consumers may still be entitled to a buy back if the vehicle has been subject to a reasonable number of repair attempts ANY TIME during the entire New Vehicle Limited Warranty period, which is typically 3 years/36,000 miles, or 4 years/50,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer.

    Note that if the manufacturer of the vehicle offers a certified arbitration program, the buyer or lessee must utilize the arbitration program only if they wish to use the "presumption" rule, which is in effect only during the first 18 months/18,000 miles of purchase/lease date. After that date (and during the entire period of the balance of the manufacturer's New Vehicle Limited Warranty period), there is no requirement that a consumer must utilize arbitration, so a consumer may directly contact a Lemon Law attorney if they wish. If the consumer wants to use a Lemon Law attorney during the first 18 months/18,000 mile of purchase/lease of the vehicle, they may also do so if they wish, if their vehicle meets the requirements of the Lemon Law.

    Note: Consumers must be aware that 3 potential decisions are awarded as a result of a arbitration hearing. 1. Repurchase or replacement of vehicle; 2. Denial of request for repurchase or replacement of vehicle; 3. Repair decision "award", allowing the manufacturer another attempt to repair the vehicle. The automobile manufacturer may also try to "settle" the consumers case by offering "solutions" such as a free Service Contract, refunded payments, "next vehicle" discount coupons or other offers to avoid the arbitration (whether before or during the Arbitration). Consumers should know that arbitration is not publicly funded by any state or governmental agency, but rather by contributions made by the automobile manufacturers.

    Consumers must also be aware that though the arbitrator's decision is not binding on the consumer, that any documents, audio recordings, statements by any/all parties, the consumers decision to reject a repair attempt decisions, etc., can be used by the automobile manufacturer against the consumer in a later civil court action. "

    I would say if you put a little sugar on your car, you could make lemon-aid!
  • Thanks for the nice detailed summary. This should be something they can fix. What else could it be other than the sensors and/or the computer? As to the dome light, they can always rewire and/or replace what ever needs to be done. It is just frustrating that we have problems before we get the car home. My fear is that these problems both appear to be electrical and I cannot help but wonder what other surprises are waiting for us.....
  • Neighbors Canry dome never fixed permenently. She just disconnected the fuse and dumped the car. FYI!
  • 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?
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    Is there a wood steering wheel (top half of wheel only) available as a dealer accessory to make the interior look more like a Lexus?
    The light colored wheel looks pretty plain. It would look better with some wood trim to match the dash board.

  • cooldad24cooldad24 Posts: 163
    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: 163
    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. 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.
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