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2004 Toyota Solara



  • OK, folks, old philosopher here. First, some unorthodox ramblings, and then a couple of questions.

    I've occasionally visited this best of all boards since purchasing my 1999 black SLE, which has given me 105,000 absolutely delightful and nearly flawless miles. Lease end is here (Boy, was that a mistake), and I am again in the market for a new Solara-- no question about that. And I've got to have a new car. But I have the sneaking suspicion that Toyota is leaving behind one segment of a two-prong market with the updated and admittedly much hotter model: the aging but young-at-heart empty nester; me! Or rather, us. My wife and I have looked over the new cars and I test drove one. It is sweet, no doubt, but the elegance of the '99-'03 lines has been SLIGHTLY compromised by the edgy new look and features, inside and out. They are cooler, for sure. Don't get me wrong. But, as I implied, I think Toyo is going for the youthful prong of their market. On performance, I admit that I didn't get to "open 'er up" at clear freeway speeds (We get precious few opportunities in suburban DC to do that until midnight), but the 2004 did not seem that much peppier to me. We like the new interior and features, bui I am really not sure if this new model -- which also has potential kinks being the first run of a new design from a new plant-- is for me, this year. I looked at a new 2003 black SLE still sitting on the lot, and was torn.

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but Toyota needs to understand my possibly fringe concerns about holding to the classic lines of the original concept. So much for those. Feel free to comment (needless to add). My questions:

    1. How does the 2003 compare both with earlier models, and with the 2004, in your humble opinions? I cannot find the older boards to research what folks were saying about the updates since '99.

    2. How much can I expect the dealer to knock off of a the 2003 sitting in his lot, occupying all that space of the 2004?

    3. Should I reconsider the 2004, and why?
  • Dabbio: Like yourself, I'm more partial to the body style of the first generation Solara (I have an '00 SLE). I've driven the '04 SLE and it compared favorably in the areas of comfort, driveabiliity, power (V6) and quietness. I especially like the brakes on the '04. There are also certain features that I like on the '04 that my '00 lacks: heated seats, steering wheel mounted radio controls and the trip computer. On the other hand, I prefer the white on black instrument cluster and wood trim on my '00. The '00 has a distinctive look whereas the '04 can be confused with other makes/models. In the end, you have to go with what makes you happy. I would have bought an '04 if it made me happy, but I'm happier with my '00.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Like you we are a middle-aged, empty nest couple and spouse has a '99 SLE V6 coupe we just bought out of the lease in late Aug.03. We have looked at the new '04 but prefer the looks/lines of our '99. As we have very low miles on the '99 and it has been totally trouble-free (and is paid for), there is just not enough upside in the '04 to go back to car payments. It is, as you say, a personal call to make but that's how we see it. One of the best cars we ever had.
  • You are right... Toyota is trying to attract a younger generation with the new look of the Solara. They did something right because it immediately caught my eye (I'm 25) and I picked one up.

    Unfortunately for those who love the classic lines of cars... I personally feel it will be long time before you see that look again. Look at the new Acura's, Nissan's, and even the new Pontiac Grand Prix... all have that aggressive "futuristic" look.

    My guess is that a dealer will knock ALOT off the 2003... The sticker on my '04 was nearly $25K and I got it for just over $21K. If they can take $4,000 off the sticker for a car that had only been on the lot for 1 month, I'm sure they can do better for the '03.

    Personally, I think you should reconsider the '04. If you are not specifically "looking" for more power, don't worry that the power difference in the '03 versus the '04 is only about 20 HP. Think of resale value... years down the road do you think your late model (older body style) Solara will sell as good as the newer body style? I also think the look of the interior in the '04 is far superior to the look of the '03 and earlier... but, that's just my opinion. Of course you'll find people on both sides of the fence.

    Take the '04 home for a night and then take the '03 home for a night. See which one looks better in your garage... your "gut feeling" will tell you which one to get. Happy Shopping!

  • But the new Solara looks kind of soft. As if it was intended for a woman driver. I know it is a great car but lacks machismo
  • akc10akc10 Posts: 21
    JSchamberger- what model and options did you get?
    Also what state are you in? That sounds like quite a deal on an '04.
  • I think this new design attracts the younger group because I'm in my mid-twenties and wouldn't have considered a Solara until I saw this new design. I think both exterior and interior are way better than the previous model. Of couse it's only personal opinion.

    Is the sticker the MSRP? Or does it include the dealer markup? I'm in CA and have to pay about $1200 above invoice for an SLE V6 with all options. If you look at the sticker, they asked for $34.5K, which was about $5,000 above MSRP and about $8,000 above invoice. It's so hard to negotiate with the dealer cuz the car is still so new. But I did get the 1.9% financing.
  • I got the V6 Sport SE with the moonroof option.

    I live in Virginia. The dealer claimed they were agreed to the low price I offered because I was the first person to buy the new Solara from them. Whether or not it was true... who knows.

    THEFLOW - I believe the sticker price includes the dealer markup... but am unsure. It has to be because I highly doubt that I would have gotten my Solara so cheap if it didn't include the markup.
  • It is a car that looks as if it is moving when still!
  • guess the 04 Solara isn't just for youngsters. We're in our 70s and untill we saw pics of the Solara we hadn't got to excited about trading. We compared the SLE with the Accord. Both are fine cars, we liked the lines and interiors of the Toy better. And as we look at the ocean everyday we picked the Oceanus Blue. One dealer had several 03s avail. and did his best to sell us one. He hadn't even seen the 04.If cash is an issue maybe the 03 will satisfy you. Otherwise, the 04 is a pretty sharp looking auto that will remain in style for many yrs. Believe me, the 4 cyl should be all the engine you need and you will save several thousand there. I suggest you go to the new car section of Edmunds and they will give you all the info you need on invoice and sug,mfg pr. with all the options on any car you choose. If you travel the trunk is nice sized with fold down rear seats. My wife really enjoyed the heated seats. Know you'll be a happy camper!!
  • You people on this board saved me from buying a car that had ALL the problems that have been listed previously, namely
    a) Severe pull to the left no matter what lane your in.(I took an extended test drive, thanks to you people).
    b) Rattling on rear shelf-like something rubbing or scratching-who knows what that is.
    c) Transmission shifted harshly from 1st to 2nd, then seemed to smooth out for the other shifts, but consistently made 1st & 2nd abrupt shifts.
    I am NOT trying to sound like I didn't like the car, but the KNOWN problems were not fixed and this was a car that was recently built!! And to top the whole thing off, the salesman ordered the dark gray leather,(I wanted the biege interior).
    But I was willing to still go for it!! Then I remembered everything that you people have been saying about these problems and THAT made me say no. It made me sad to say the least....thanks for saving me a lot of grief...maybe next year they will have fixed all of this & added XM radio as standard equipment...Sorry for venting
  • Theflow: I live in N. CA and bought my car more than 1k below MSRP. You just need to quote around and ask your friends and family for good reputation dealers. I did called the Fleet dept in stead of sales for the quote. And narrow down to 2 and test drive/talk to the rep for details and hidden cost. Plus checked the lowest interest rate available. Your time will be reward by hard cash.

    I got mine for more than a month and no pulling, no rattle noise and no rocking front chair. The transmission is smooth and I do feel the shifting between 1st and 2nd. It isn't as severe as my 99 Odyssey, 94 Ford Escort. And some models I test drove before. It is worst when speed up at full throad such merge on to highway. Daily driving is not that obvious unless you pay full attention. With this kind of power, it's hard not to accelerate when start from stop. <lol> And Mine is Cosmic Blue (Metallic blue) and it looks great.

    I am 40 but also hook up by its interior and exterior design. It definitely better than the old one to me and my wife. The interior is way superior and more tasty than the Accord and Camry. I guess that is what Toyota want to attract younger buyer while keep higher lines more conservative such as Avalon. Shouldn't Coup to be sporty so futuristic and bold are the right elements? Just my opinion.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    No problems with pulling or anything else on my new 04 SLE V6...the car is perfect! Got it for 500 over invoice.
  • I live in N.CA and bought the car for about $2K below MSRP, about $1.2K above invoice. The dealer showed me carsdirect's price and willing to meet it. Although the final number (I have a trade in that I also have to negotiate) is about $700 above my "walk away" price, I went ahead with the deal cuz I was tired (after telling them I'll be leaving for 3-4 times). I also got the 1.9% promotion from Toyota Finance. If Toyota doesn't offer this promotion, I won't be buying this car.

    I did go through the internet/fleet department. But I didn't contact all the dealerships in my area because none of them showed the color and options that are on the vehicles in their websites. So when I found the dealer that did include the colors and options on their vehicles in the website, I went straight ahead and bought it there.

    Like yours, I sometimes can feel the shift from 1st to 2nd. But it's not that harsh. Pulling is minimal. But I do think the steering wheel is a bit too light. If you don't hold on to it, a slight uneven on the road will drag the car to either side.
  • Wow, $500 over invoice. Now I feel like being ripped off. Although I already had that feeling when I bought the car.
  • Are people having rattling issues with their 04 Solara?

    I noticed a small rattle due to the bass in the speakers in the rear of my car, but I solved that with a small piece of cloth (it was just 2 small plastic parts rattling together at certain levels of bass).

    I also have not noticed anything with the shifting in my SE Sport... everything is very smooth. Hopefully it stays that way! :)
  • I am really fascinated by this car. Now I need to make a decision between SLE 4 cylinder Vs. SE Sport V6. I do like SLE V6. But that's too expensive. I don't drive lots of high way, plus I do need the auto diming mirror on SLE. Moonroof and rear spoiler are must. And which is better, go directly to dealers or order from car direct? Thanks!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    I've left this discussion open for awhile, but I can't really justify calling it a "future vehicle" any longer, since it's been out for some time. Next week we'll close this discussion and send you all to the Toyota Solara--Part 6 discussion, where mr_shiftright will be your host.


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  • The only conversation on that discussion is an argument between some Zaino sales rep and some guy who's mad because he bought a Lemon Toyo... This has been more general info on the Solara... sorry to see that it's being closed.
  • Would it be possible to open a discussion on the new model convertible? that is still a future vehicle, as no one has even seen pictures of it....
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    icangelat03, you are welcome to open a new discussion on ANY upcoming vehicle here on the future vehicles board, as long as one isn't already active (I checked - we don't have one). That's why the Futures board exists!


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  • We have the SLE 4 and couldn't be any happier with the car. Remember, if you put all the stuff you want on the sport you'll be about the same price as the SLE 4 that has all but the spoiler as standard plus a better radio and some other things. The 4 has almost the same 0 to 60 rating as the 6, When your pulling long steep hills is where you may notice a diff. We're not sorry we got the 4, and we have more hills to climb than most areas in the country.
  • We have the SE V6 sport and we love it. The different between the 4 and vs.V6 and SLE vs SE sport are:
    1. V6 has more power, therefor, the power is there when you need it when get on the freeway.
    2. v6 29 mpg vs. 4 32 mpg
    3. V6 5 sp AT vs 4 4sp AT. The V6 AT has the manual shift feature that is really cool going up the hill or just for the heck of it, it is fun to use.
    4. The sport has better suspension and handling, however, the SLE is more comforatble since the suspension is softer.
    5. Sport has body kit, IMO, I like it. Keep this in mind, several people did not care for this.
    6. SLE has leather seats vs. SE Sport has cloth seats. Again, your call.
    7. We picked the SE V6 sport because we like the body kit, V6, 5sp AT. The SLE V6 is much much more expensive. So looked into the SLE 4 which is about the same price and decided to get the SE V6 for the reasons above.

    The bottom line is what you want. I would have the SLE 4 and a SE V6 Sport (same color) next to each other to compare. You must drive it too. Of course, MUST try the manual shift.

    So far, the car runs great. We took it in for an alignment and it did not pull to the left any more. Good luck.
  • The auto-dimming rear view mirror didn't work that well. In my car, it's not really auto. Even during daytime, it's dimmed. I think the sensor is placed on the wrong place. It's place on the back of the mirror. Shouldn't it be in the front so headlights from behind the car can be sensed? But anyway, it's an accessory according to Toyota's website. However, not too sure if it includes the driver side's mirror.
  • A woman's car? Maybe, but ours is my wife's anyway.
    NO problems (pulling left, rattles etc.) in first 1,000 miles.
    We paid $500 over tissue invoice. ( western New York State)
  • how was i not polite to the host? all i asked was why she was shutting this thread down... many of us were dicussing our new 04 solara and the likes/dislikes of it.

    i don't see how you are taking what i said as a personal insult... all i pointed out was the obvious... half of the posts on the other thread are "gripe sessions" between you and another person... why should i have to read that when i come here to find out more about the solaras???? if you two want to bash each other you should exhange emails... i don't need to read it, hence the reason i asked why this thread was going to be shut down...
  • If anyone is interested in continuing talk on the new solara, A new discussion is open for the convertible...
  • I take back my comment on the auto dim mirror. It worked fine this weekend.

    I wonder if anyone knows how to adjust the sensitivity of the auto DRL sensor.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Certain parties on here have been an aggrevation for a long time now. Best thing is to ignore certain parties on here as they will drive you crazy if you try to reason with them. Unhappy people tend to make others unhappy. This topic is rended almost useless by the postings of these certain parties. I would hope the hosts are aware of the situation; but it is a free world to post as you please as long as you don't injure someone. No one said the posts had to make sense and many don't. Ignore and laugh is the best solution.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Nope, posts that are just silly or ignorant don't violate the membership agreement, so they stay :) Best policy is to ignore them, and carry on discussing the Solara.


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