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2004 Toyota Solara



  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Knew you were aware!!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Full Test: 2004 Toyota Camry Solara SLE
    Read it here!


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  • I'm shopping for a Solara V6 SLE in southeast Wisconsin and received an Internet quote on an SLE V6 (non-Nav) with standard options for this reqion, for about $200 over Invoice. Seems like an awesome deal to me. Anybody else seeing deals like this?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Hi joey_b - you'll want to visit our Toyota Camry Solara: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion to chat with other buyers & potential buyers!


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  • If it is a true $200 over dealer invoice, I think you have a great deal!
    We paid $500 over invoice and were very happy with the deal.
  • topgun7topgun7 Posts: 412
    I test drove a SE sport V6. The V6 is very entertaining and the SE Sport interior look very sporty. However, it is a littel bit out of our budget. for those who own an SE 4 cyl with AT, how do you like your car? Can it keep up with the day to day freeway or city dirving? What about climbing a hill? thanks.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You could always just get the base SE V6, which will save you about $1000 on the MSRP.

  • Is the Solara 3.3 V6 the same engine used in the Lexus ES 330, or is the Lexus engine a different design?

    What really justifies the 6-8 thousand dollar difference in these two cars? I realize the Lexus nameplate adds some value, but there must be a lot more. In some minor ways, the Solara outshines even the ES -- audio steering wheel controls, dash-mounted 6 CD changer, rear heat ducts, better fuel economy, telescopic steering wheel, etc. Better half thinks it's mostly the Lexus name, but there has to be more than that? Any thoughts?
  • We have the SLE with the 4 cyl and 4 spd and believe me it can keep up with all freeway driving. You will find it a pleasant surprise. Save a bit of gas, much easier to work on, and just pop it in 3rd from OD if you feel it lug down. So far it hasn't. For day to day driving in traffic it is just fine and you'll save a couple of thousand dlrs. We avg over 31 mpg in and out of traffic at 2000 miles, so should get better. We don't miss the 6 at all.....I believe the 6 is the same as the 330. The lexus just has a few more goodies, and an up graded audio and maybe some extra trim. Really not worth that much more than the Solara.
  • I think you're paying for the after-sale customer service when purchasing a Lexus. I personally couldn't justify paying more for a Lexus. Unless you think those Lexus dealer services (free loaner, free pick up and delivery of your car, etc.) worth a couple thousand dollars.

    I think the 3.3 engine is the same in the Solara, Sienna, and the RX. In the ES, you do get some features like auto up/down on all windows and illuminated power lock and window buttons. But a lot of the parts are the same. After all, a Lexus it's just another Toyota. The ES is being sold as a Toyota Windham (I think) in Japan. Look at the windows, I think it said Toyota motor corp. The same with Honda/Acura.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Yep, the 3.3L engine in the Solara, Camry SE V6, and ES is the same unit, itself mildly detuned version of the RX/Sienna 3.3L (I believe the different hp and lb. ft. ratings are due to more restive exhaust piping in the Camry/Solara/ES.

    You can get a 6Disc in Dash in the ES, fwiw, and I believe rear ducts are standard as well. The wood in the ES is phenomenal (its real, not the Solaras actually convincing applique), and there are other subtle upgrades such as higher quality leather (the same used in the 55K LS, for example). Still, this new Solara reps. a great value. I'm not sure many cross shop a two door coupe and a 4 door near lux, though.

    Finally, the ES's resale, according to Kiplingers magazine, is better than all other vehicles in its class, and no doubt, better than the Solara. (Someone already mentioned the Lex service).

  • topgun7topgun7 Posts: 412
    Swan thank for the information for the 4 cyl AT. Will definitely try one this weekend.

    We have a LS430 and on occassion when we bring it in for service we have ES300 (not ES330) for loaner. You need to drive the ES to get a feel for the car. It is very luxury and quiet. It is more expensive than a camry but you get what you pay for. With limited option, you can get a ES for about 33K vs a 27k for fully loaded cmary XLE. You get some of the 6k difference when you sell the car (may be only 2k to 3k more expensive if you sell the car 3-4 year). In the mean time, you have better service, the service loaner car, longer warrenty and a more luxury interior. Also if you lease your lexus,you can put in multiple deposit and lower your lease rate (we did 9 deposit for our ls430 and lower the lease money factor by 0.0009 or about 2.0% in interst rate term) and toyota won't do it (so far as I know).
  • For what I know, the material is super in ES330, great in Solara and very good in Camry. The difference is the quality of the material used. It's always debatable if one should spend more for upscale if both perform similar. ES330 do provide some extra features only available to Lexus. It's you to justify if you willing to acquire them. ES, like other Lexus, has better insulation and seat compare to Toyota sibling. And it emphasis on comfort than drive. Solara is more tuned at the middle of ES330 and IS300. I like both but lean neither one. So Solara is perfect for my need. Drive both if you can and make decision. I agree though, functionality are the same. Others are your taste.
  • Since the ES330 is a SEDAN, anf the Solara is a COUPE, there is no real comparison, and probably no cross-shopping.
    Several magazine road tests have referred to the Solara as the Lexus of coupes.
    We are delighed with our new SLE after the fitst 3,000 miles.
  • Add me to the list of people that have an 04 Solara v6 SLE that pulls to the left. Seems to be a little intermittent. Notice it more at low and high speeds and not during acceleration. I am assuming that under acceleration, torque steer pulls the car right, balancing everything out. Dealer says they can not duplicate problem. Not happy with that situation. Transmission seems to slip on occasion too. Mostly at low speeds with partial throttle. Again, dealer "can't duplicate" Anyone get the XM radio installed? I am being quoted $778, which seems awful steep. Am starting to think I should have purchased the Accord. Would have if not for the comfort of the Solara.
  • I feel your frustration... this is the issues we have to deal with when new cars come out. Nothing is perfect (although we want it to be). I'm just glad that the ONLY thing I'm dealing with is a slight pull to the left. Could your tranny slip just be the electronic response in the throttle? I believe someone said it was meant to delay a little to help with gas mileage and emissions (or something like that). I orginally thought my car had the same issue (I moved down ALOT in power from a modified Grand Prix), but I just had to get used to working with this new throttle.

    Not a big fan of radio so I can't help you with prices but it does sound steep to me...
  • The mechanic at my dealership came up with some rather large news. He talked with the Toyota Canada head office and said that Toyota engineering in Japan has now stepped in and given the left drift problem a "Priority 1" designation.

    They have designated an exclusive Japanese engineering team to work on the fix and are now working on it with great urgency because it is a steering safety issue (liability). Apparently, thousands of vehicles are affected.

    When they come up with the final fix (1-2 months approximately), they will issue a TSB, at which point our left leaners will be immediately called in for repairs.

    Stay tuned
  • I just bought my Solara in S.E. Wisconsin. SE Sport 4cyl for $2,340 off of MSRP. I think the vehicle stickered for $22,991 or so. Bought it from Carmax in Kenosha.
  • Correction: Was misinformed about the TSB being issued. I'm a bit new to all this and now ready to ask more specific questions.

    Called another Toyota dealership service rep today and asked for a left pull update. Unfortunately, there is no TSB yet.

    However, they had 2 engineers from Toyota California head office in and they turned the strut supports about 1 inch counter clockwise then fitted on a new 3 dot camberbolt 90105A0005. They then realigned the vehicle to spec.

    They have done this fix to 5 Solaras and 1 Camry and reported that they are all running dead solid perfect. Also, they now do this to every Solara they sell before it leaves the lot.

    They faxed this fix to my dealership to have the work done on Monday.

    Until then.....
  • Just got back from a one hour get together with a head mechanic at a private alignment shop. He said that the fix that I mentioned peviously (where the strut assembly is turned 1 inch counter clockwise with the new camber bolt and original alignment specs) is only masking the true underlying problem.

    He advised me to be patient and wait for the official TSB to come out and begin the arbitration procedure at the same time (carrot and stick).

    I'm cancelling my Monday morning appointment and making an appointment with the regional manager instead.

    This beautiful car deserves to be fixed properly.
  • I saw someone over on the Avalon board state that he has to select "English or French" language when he turns on his Navigation system in his new 04 Avalon XLS. Good God, that would be enough to make me never want Navigation in a new Solara.

    The NAV system, in French, probably only allows you to drive in reverse. At full speed.

    Does anyone know if the Solara Nav system has the same feature? The poster didn't appear to be from Canada, so I don't know why Toyota would put the French choice in there. SABOTAGE: Isn't that a French word?
  • No it doesn't aske you to choose English or French. But it does have a disclaimer that you have to click "I agree" before you can use the system.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Got a chance to try out the stability control on my 04 SLE the other night and man does it work awesome!..i went on some snowy back roads and jeked the wheel both ways to get the car to slide around and as soon as it started to slide,the vsc activates (audible beeping sound)and straightens the car right out!Also tried some situations with the traction control on vs off and it definetely does the job of getting you up a snowy hill without wheel spin.All in all i think this car is one of the best cars out there for the money.(had a 00 SE V6 before this one and it was perfect also)
  • Does anyone know if I press the windshield defrost, does the A/C turns on also? The air that came out was so cold but the A/C light is off.
  • Since you like yours so well, do you have any issues with the "left-pull" issue described by some?
  • I think I finally figured out why every time I start the car, the recirculate is on. It's because when you set the temp to max cold, it automatically turns recirculate on. I always have the temp set at max cold. So everytime when I start the car, recirulate turns on even manually turned off before I shut down the car. In order to make myself happy, all I need is to increase the temp by 1 and the next time I start the car, recirculate remains off. It worked a few times and hope it works the same when I start it next time.

    But while I was happy that I figured out the "recirculate" thing, damn, another thing came out and the air control system really has a mind of its own. What happened was after driving for 40 minutes and in front of a stop light, I manually increased the temp and after certain temp, like 74 or something, the mode automatically switched to front/floor. Then when I continued increasing the temp., it automatically switched to floor. When I lowered the temp., it automatically switched from floor to front/floor, then front. At first I thought it's cool. But after pulling into the garage, I tried to do the same thing and this time it didn't switch the mode at all!!!!! It stayed at front even I increased and decrease the temp!!!! What the heck is going on with this system?? I think I need to do some experiments with it tomorrow.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Nope no problems with pulling and niether did my previous 00 SE V6.Let me tell you that i am a auto tech and i work for a independent garage and in my 15 years of doing alignments,pulling issues are always caused by tires or improper caster angles.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    Try using it without the auto mode and you will find that it will not change any setting unless you manually do so.the auto mode is programmed to make the proper changes according to your desired temp fan speed,vent location,re-circ,etc
  • I have a 99 Accord Coupe, and would consider going to a new Solara, but I think the Toyota has an inferior automatic a/c system, at least from what I have read here.

    When getting into a hot car (I lived in Florida after all), my accord automatically starts it in max, re-circulating the hot air. After the interior cools off a little bit, the Honda automatically starts letting in fresh air . . with no need to touch the controls.

    It sounds like Toyota makes you constantly fiddle with the re circulate and fresh air settings. Honda Accord does it for you automatically, and is thus far superior.

    Am I right that you constantly have to adjust the Solara automatic a/c when you get into a very hot car?

    Just curious . . .
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "It sounds like Toyota makes you constantly fiddle with the re circulate and fresh air settings. Honda Accord does it for you automatically, and is thus far superior."

    Wow. I didnt realize that the only virtues vehicles had were their A/C systems. Mitchflorida, please pity the poor souls like myself who have manually controlled climate systems. Can you imagine how inferior our cars are...

    Seriously though, THIS would stop you from buying a car that you may otherwise LOVE?

This discussion has been closed.