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2004 Toyota Solara



  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    The Oceanus reminds me of the dark green on the 96, 97 Corolla...Dark Emerald Green, I believe.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    In the exterior colors part of the Solara site, the light colors make the Solara look like it sits very high up with much ground clearance. It must be some illusion...a car wouldn't be that high on its tires.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Wow...there was all that outrage about Toyota's site and now, no one seems to care.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I still care, and no, mack, no sour grapes, I'm just a consumer whose needs arent being met by the service that is provided. IMO, Toyota's new format is nice, I like the "tabular" look of the new pages, but that doesnt change the fact that you cant build a car and search for it in local (or non-local)inventory. The finer details that define Toyota's products are flubbed- like how you can choose an options package with alloy wheels but then the displayed car doesnt update with that package, how the information is inconsistent in some areas, etc. Example- on the new Camry page, why are the years broken down into segments that dont represent the Camry generations? Just strange.

  • alpha-

    I notice that kind of stuff with a lot of car manufacturer web sites. They are obviously designed by people who know about web design but not about cars -- they manage to make pretty cool, complex sites that are full of wrong or misleading information. Actually in terms of out-and-out incorrect info, Toyota is not too bad. Ford is probably worst in that regard. I have never seen a Ford online specs/features chart that did not have blatant mistakes.

    -Andrew L
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    I don't know what region of the country you are in, but I can build a car with the options that are offered and contact a local dealer and they will either have the car in stock or can get it for me. Next year Toyota Motor Sales will begin doing what they are doing with the Scion out in California. That is, you go in and pick out the car and options you want and they will "build it" and have it at the dealership in 7 days! Now that I can't wait to see. No more settling for something "close to" what you want.
                         : )
  • mackabee-

    The point is that on sites such as,, and such you can get an actual printout of a window sticker and VIN number as it is on an actual car in dealer inventory. True, this is not THAT much different from building a car that you can supposedly get in your region, but there is something more satisfying (especially for a "window shopper" who has no intention of calling up dealerships and getting a sales pitch) about seeing how actual, existing vehicles are configured. It's like going to a dealership, but you don't actually have to go.

    -Andrew L
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    I get it.
              : )
  • kgw707kgw707 Posts: 19
    We'll I was able to test drive a Lunar Mist SE Sport V6....nice build quality....good low end torque....Sequential tranny was fun.....list around $24K......
  • ksmanksman Posts: 8
    It drove like a dream. It was fully loaded with the Nav system (pretty cool but probably not worth $1300). I would have bought it but it was in red and I'm looking for black. The pickup was great and there was virtually no noise during the drive.

    Some pricing info. I'm leasing the car and for the residual the manager plugged in 14,300 for a 36 month lease which came to 558/month and 12,500 for a 48 month lease which came to 476/month. Anybody heard any other info about leasing the cars? Are these standard prices or do you think we'll be able to get better? These prices are based on a car without the Nav system with a MSRP of 27,914
  • tommyg12tommyg12 Posts: 158 e=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=03071580

    I wonder how this will mix with the regionals?

    And yes, the Toyota web site needs a major overhaul. I email them about once every two months just to remind them of this.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    Maybe you should e-mail them once a week. They might pay more attention then.
                 ; )
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    finally, an update!
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    Maybe this will be the end of the ToyoGuard package as we know it, or at least for people who know better. If you can get a custom built car reasonably quick then you don't have to worry about filtering out the 75% of cars sitting on the lot with the ToyoGuard package and other junk forced on it. Of course you still can't avoid the $525 "administration charge" that they force on dealers, and the $40 additional freight charges. Gotta feel sorry for customers that have to deal with this. You're already at a huge disadvantage as soon as you walk on the lot, not to mention a car you may want has the ToyoGuard package or something else forced on it.

    By the way, anybody who doesn't know what the ToyoGuard package is, it consists of a free oil change, paint sealant, sealant cleaner, glass VIN etching, undercoating/sound shield/rustproofing, and fabric protection. All for a low price of $620.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    OK. Let me do the math:
    Oil Change: $29.95
    Paint Sealant: $15.00 (rough estimate, correct me)
    Sealant Cleaner: $5.00
    glass VIN etching: $50.00 or less
    undercoating/soundshield/rustproofing: $35.00
    3M ScotchGuard (A BIG BOTTLE!) $5.00
    a la carte price: $139.95 (do-it-yourself)
    Package Price: $620 (Gulf States Toyota)
    Difference: (Distributor Profit): $480.05
    You don't need the soundshield as most Toyotas are super quiet already. the oil change ain't "free", either.
    Just order one, just the way you want it and skip the lousy distributors!
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    A couple of corrections. I remember reading somewhere that you can get a VIN etching kit free, can't remember right off hand how though. Also sometimes local law enforcement will do it for free. And I think ultimately you can get a kit for no more than $20, so I think your $50 estimate is kind of high. Besides if your car has an engine immobilizer then the thief will have to probably tow it, unless they have a way to override that. If they're willing to tow it then it must be pretty valuable to them and I'm sure they won't let the VIN etching stop them. They may simply want the parts too so again the VIN etching isn't going to stop them if they want it bad enough.

    The paint sealant is probably some cheap stuff worth maybe $10 if you're lucky, but not really sure. I'm sure they want every dollar profit they can make so they'll give you the cheap stuff.

    And the rustproofing stuff is worthless, and I hear it may actually make your car rust faster. It pretty much comes from the factory ready to go so all this add-on stuff is worthless and probably costs these guys a good $20-$35 at the most. I'd rather buy a good quality wax or polymer sealant and put it on myself than have some guy who doesn't care about my car put some cheap stuff on it and probably do a bad job.

    As I said though you're still stuck with the $525 "administration charge" and extra $40 freight charge that they add into the invoice pricing. They won't put it on the window sticker I'm sure, but the dealer is charged this by the distributors so they have to be creative in getting it back from the customer. If a customer walks in there knowing the invoice price and MSRP price then they can't tack it on to that. They can charge maybe a documentation fee or advertising fee or something like that I guess, but again the dealer is fighting to get back that $525 that the distributor forced on them anyway. And there may very well be other charges hidden in there, I just know the people having to deal with these Toyota distributors are being taken to the cleaners.

    Again this is the way I understand things, if someone can correct me feel free to do so. The custom ordering thing is a definite improvement though, and ultimately if you pay a price you think is fair then be happy. The dealer will always make money off of someone somehow so do the research and pay what you think is fair.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    I am so sick of how the South East Distributor runs things down here, that I will probably go up to Ohio and get a Solara if I decide to get one. (I have a lot of family in Ohio, and it really isn't far from me.)

    True, it may be out of the way, but I REFUSE to pay for some of the accessories that they put on the cars in this region.

    I saw a 2004 Sienna LE minivan with Two-tone paint and Enkei wheels at a local dealer tonight.

    They also try to make "special" and "limited" edition Camrys and Avalons.

    As a matter of fact, I remember how they used to two tone the Camrys and Avalons before they were redesigned. It is OUTRAGEOUS here.

    Wheel locks cost a lot.

    They charge $138 for mudguards (BLACK) and $169 for body colored ones. Nissan charges around $89 for body colored mud guards, Honda charges around $58 for black mudguards.

    I know Toyota isn't behind this, it's the SE Distributors. I don't think I am going to fool with getting a Toyota (Camry, Camry Solara, or Corolla) in the SE region.

    For one thing, it's hard to find any car with the options I desire.

    Anyway, I JUST LOVE the new Solara. Especially the SLE.
  • scottdudescottdude Posts: 177
    I stopped by a local dealer this morning before work and low and behold, there was a lunar mist SL sitting right up front looking very nice. I think my first thought was "Wow!". Then as I saw the rear lights, my next thought was "Hmmm, that sure is different! But I like it!"

    The car really catches your eye. I have to give Toyota credit for at least taking a chance with the rear lights design.

    It's weird... in some ways Solara 04 reminds me of the 03 Accord coupe design, only it looks better, at least to my eyes. I guess I'd have to see them next to each other to explain why.

    This one had a sunroof and maybe some other options. The MSRP was about $23K. I believe that is comparable or less than an Accord EX coupe.

    I'm going to test drive one soon. My only concern: buying a first year car made in America, even a Toyota. Then again, this one is VERY nice.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Does Gulf States Toyota distribute Toyotas in Kentucky? I don't think so, because a lot of Toyotas come from KY, and they're pretty much stock. You could go to southern KY and buy a Toyota there.
  • curlyqcurlyq Posts: 54
    Finally saw the 04 today. Surprisingly, there were no 04 brochures. I asked at the info desk and they were behind the counter. The girl told me they just found out the 04's are being recalled due to a gas tank problem. I have not researched this, I'm just repeating what I was told today at a dealership.

    Now for my observations. Red is the color for me. The spoiler does not cut it. Front end slopes very low. I like the look, but if Toyota hasn't improved the paint quality, the new Solara may be even more prone to paint chipping. I'll wait for feedback. Curly
  • sbell4sbell4 Posts: 446
    The disinformation that is here is wonderful. Keep it up! I'll keep reading and learning.

    Most of the time I will try to help but sometimes I like to watch it run its course.

    I heard that the blackout in the Northeast was due to Toyota's suppliers making new gastanks.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Toyota Sienna is the Toyota that is currently being recalled, due to a fuel-tank that could rupture and cause a fire in the event of an accident. I read that in the morning paper, in the local section. Also, does Gulf States Toyota distribute the cars in Tennessee? Just trying to get a general area of toyota dealers to avoid.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    (I'm told) Atsushi Niimi (head of TMMNA) is on a crusade to improve Toyota quality and bring it back to levels seen in the third generation Camry. From what I've seen, the new Solara--at least in the interior--looks to go beyond anything Toyota has put out in years. I read somewhere (maybe Edmunds or Car Connection) that the 2004 Solara's interior is the best of any Toyota yet. There's no reason for this model to not eat into Accord coupe's sales.
  • 94supra94supra Posts: 32
    Gulf States Toyota and Southeast Toyota are different distributors. Gulf States covers Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Southeast covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. I think the dealers in Tennessee and Kentucky both go direct.

    While the infamous ToyoGuard package is clearly a very high margin "product", it isn't quite as bad as some are indicating. You can't get a decent sealant job in most cities for much less than $100. It isn't realistic to compare commercial prices to a do it yourself solution when you are discussing fare pricing. Nobody even mentioned my favorite "package feature" which is their willingness to rent you a loaner for warranty work. The good news is that about 50% of the cars in the Southeast don't have the package and the dealers are normally willing to acknowledge the margin during price negotiations. Knowledge is power.

    You can't really blame the distributors for making money on investments they made in the late 60s when people still didn't want to buy "[non-permissible content removed] Junk". We see things very differently now, but the distributors took a risk and they are now reaping the rewards. If you think our free enterprise system is the pits, you can always go to a nice communist country and check out their automotive distribution networks.
  • curlyqcurlyq Posts: 54
    According to the brochure, The 04 Solara no longer will come with a full size spare. Curly
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    "Knowledge is power"

    You got that right. Too bad every customer walking through there doesn't have some knowledge otherwise these ToyoGuard package equipped cars would be sitting on the lots collecting dust. It's one thing for a dealer to try and convince someone to get rustproofing or paint sealant, it's another to force 50% of the cars coming in with this stuff and the cost is passed on to the customer. Or are you going to tell me that this stuff costs the distributors basically nothing and costs the dealers basically nothing so they can also charge basically nothing to the customer as well if the car they want in the color they want and options they want is on the lot, BUT they don't want the ToyoGuard package or alloy wheels or two-tone paint. As I said, if they had that knowledge these cars would still be sitting on the lot.

    So the car can be found exactly the way the customer wants or can be ordered the way they want? Great, I hope the Toyota rebates apply though, since most of the time it only applies to cars on the dealer's lot. Which brings up a good question, if ordering a car, when the car comes in can the customer still get the rebate or does it only apply to ones currently sitting on the lot? And what's with charging an arm and a leg for floormats? Let me guess, they're premium high quality floor mats? While people outside these regions are paying and bargaining on a $85 price the customers in the SE/Gulf region get to bargain on floormats for a price of $150.

    "Nobody even mentioned my favorite "package feature" which is their willingness to rent you a loaner for warranty work."

    How generous of them. Please tell me this isn't part of the ToyoGuard package and that it's free. Lots of dealers do this, and Mazda has it as part of their warranty anyway, and there may be a few other brands that do the same thing. And if it is part of the package then for $600 I should hope so!

    "If you think our free enterprise system is the pits, you can always go to a nice communist country and check out their automotive distribution networks."

    No, these customers aren't going to a communist country, they're going to cross the border to another state to avoid the scams. Any dealer has the ability and right to con someone into rustproofing or paint sealant, but when an entire region forces it on 50% of their cars things are getting out of hand. And I'm sure you'd be first in line to pay $600 for paint sealant and rustproofing wouldn't you?
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    I agree with you on all accounts.

    I stopped by that same local dealer I was talking about in a previous post.

    They now have two Solara SLEs.

    I wonder if the SLE will be the best seller?

    Anyway, the car had the pearl white paint, which I know is an extra cost option from Toyota.

    Toyota's MSRP was around $26K. After the SE distrubution added the useless options, the price was nearly $29K!!!

    It didn't have any other options from the factory but the Paint and some floor mats I believe.

    The SE region added the Toyoguard, sunroof visor, wheel locks, and I think the glass breakage sensor.

    It was dark out, and the security guy that always watches these cars was talking with me. I told him for that price, I'll get an Acura TL, Honda Accord EXV6 (I can get it for $23K) or a left over Acura CL Type S.

    He agreed 100%.

    BTW, EVERY Toyota on the lot that I looked at had the ToyoGuard. It is a $600+ option (That seems mandatory)

    I think the invoice on this pkg is around $159 over at KBB.

    They are making a profit of $441 if an uninformed buyer goes for the ploy.

    I still really like the Solara, BUT when I can get an Accord coupe with similar options (in some ways better equipped), and slightly better gas mileage for about $23K, I start to wonder what is wrong with the SE region.
  • 94supra94supra Posts: 32
    Apparently you don't recognize sarcasm when you see it! Yes, they do include this "feature" as a part of the package and I find it to be comical.

    I just don't have quite the same missionary zeal you seem to have for feeling the situation is outrageous. In our country, if you have more knowledge, you are always free to pursue a better deal. In a communist country, they "protect" everyone to make sure that everyone has an equally miserable life (except for the party leaders).

    You a certainly free to drive across as many state borders as you wish. I might just choose to negotiate a better deal (knowing the approximate margins in distributor applied option packages) or change brands, since nothing is forcing me to buy a Toyota. I have done both in the past. If a distributor gets too greedy, educated consumers eventually punish them. The market works fairly well, but it works best for the enlightened.
  • 94supra94supra Posts: 32
    I also find many of the distributor options to be very undesirable. The best way to get an idea of what is available is to look at one of the dealer web sites that provides a regional search feature. I did it yesterday and I found that about half of the 04 Solaras in the southeast did not have ToyoGuard. I have bought cars including the package in the past, but I always let the dealer know that I am not going to pay $600 for that option. I really find some of the other distributor installed options to be even poorer values or less desirable and I just make sure to factor them into any purchase decision. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy these cars!
  • pzevpzev Posts: 807
    "BTW, EVERY Toyota on the lot that I looked at had the ToyoGuard. It is a $600+ option (That seems mandatory)"

    Yeah, it seems the number is higher than 50%, more like 75% from what I've seen. Also they seem to like to put it on the more popular colors like silver or white, while the less popular ones are usually the few that don't have it.

    "I think the invoice on this pkg is around $159 over at KBB.

    They are making a profit of $441 if an uninformed buyer goes for the ploy."

    Exactly. And of course invoice is not true dealer cost, so it'll be lower. And then on top of that what the distributor paid is even lower than the dealer cost so you can see that all this stuff they give you is close to worthless. I would hope most dealers would simply make you only pay $100 for the package if you showed them that you know the invoice and make it clear you don't want the package, but somehow I feel you'll have to haggle over that as well. And of course you're still out of the $100.

    And let's not forget that usually in the fine print for getting a rebate that it must be taken from the dealer stock. I'd like to know if ordering a car will let you qualify for the rebate as well. Anybody know about this?

    Yes for $29k there are better choices out there. No we can't pay or haggle on the $26k MSRP price, we have to start from $29k and hope we can get it down to $26k. We'll probably think we got a great deal, when in fact we only haggled down to MSRP.
This discussion has been closed.