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Toyota Solara Convertible - 2004 and Newer

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    larrymitlarrymit Member Posts: 80
    I tried a brushless car wash once and water was forced through around the windows due to the strong pressure used. I wouldn't do it again. The owner's manual recommends against car washes with this car.
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    susan2795susan2795 Member Posts: 3
    Based on our limited experience (car is 2 weeks old), the windscreen does reduce turbulence considerably. We tested this by taking a drive without the screen and we notice wind entering between the seats that wasn't there when we had the screen on.

    The only issue we experienced with the windscreen is the screen top keeps falling backwards when driving at highway speeds. We were advised to tighten the screws (from this forum) but haven't tried that yet. The dealer did not know if this is expected or not - car is very rare. We have an outstanding question in the forum as to how the screen should be installed - across the back seat (current) or down the back of the front seat (as shown in Toyota brochures).

    We bought the screen with the car - negotiated a decent price for the car w/screen. The windscreen can be purchased online for less money.
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    cliff6cliff6 Member Posts: 3
    I'm thinking about buying a 2004 model from a dealer. It's in excellent condition and only has 9,000 miles. Two questions: is there such significant difference between the 2004 and 2006 that I'd be better off buying the new model? I realize that price would be a factor to a certain degree, so my other question is: what would be a fair price for the 2004, assuming it comes with some warranty and has its share of options? Thanks for your opinions.
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    alan_dalan_d Member Posts: 13
    I don't think you've given enough information for people to answer you. The differences between the 2004 and 2006 cars may vary from one model to another. To my knowledge there are no important differences for the SLE convertibles, but I recall reading about differences in some of the SEs and coupes.

    Re price, again it depends on which Solara you're considering. I just bought an '06 SLE convertible for $29700, about $2900 less than MSRP.. Edmund's TMV price from a dealer for the 2004 version of my car assuming 9000 miles and "outstanding" condition is $28400, a trivial $1300 less than I paid for a 2006. I think Edmund's estimate is too high.

    On eBay there is a 10,000 miles, 2004 SLE convertible with a current high bid of $22,322, lower than the seller's reserve price. This car appears similar to mine except that mine includes the Solara Navigation system, a $1350 list price option.

    Hope this helps.
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    cliff6cliff6 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you; that helps. I looked into it a little more and it's an SE Convertible, but it seems to have some of the options that are standard on the SLE, for example, leather and heated seats. Are there any other real differences between the 2004 SE and SLE that would make a difference, or between the 2006 SLE and 2004 SE? I have to say that I'm trying to wend my way through all the messages on this site and elsewhere on the internet in formulating an opinion, but all the varying viewpoints can drive you nuts.
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    glendaleglendale Member Posts: 2
    i am getting ready to order a convertible..the SLE. this is my big dilemma. i have no idea what the body kit is. a front air dam, 2 side rocker panels and a 2 piece split under-car rear air dam. would this kit enhance the look of the car? i do think it is rather plain but i don't know what all of this would look like.
    thanks
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    alan_dalan_d Member Posts: 13
    Sorry for not getting back to you earlier. I hope what follows is still of use to you.

    I don’t have information on the 2004s, but I believe that there are no big changes from 2004 to 2005 or 2006.

    You can find the differences between the SE and SLE at www.toyota.com or from the marketing brochure available from dealers. From the brochures for 05 and 06 here are some of the more important differences.

    Vehicle Safety Control, Traction Control, Brake Assist: option on SLE, unavailable on SE. (Please don’t ask me exactly what vehicle safety control is.)

    An Anti-theft system: standard on SLE, option on SE.

    Navigation system and map: option on SLE, unavailable on SE.

    Fancy audio and power driver’s seat: standard on SLE, option (which you say your car has) on SE. These two items always come together. So you either have both or neither.

    SLE has fancier air conditioning and heating.

    Heated, leather trimmed seats: standard on SLE, unavailable on SE. I know you said the 2004 you’re evaluating does have leather and heated seats. All I know is that the 05 and 06 brochures say that features are not on the SE even as an option.

    Some minor features are heated mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, digital compass, and remote garage door opener, all standard on the SLE and either optional or unavailable on the SE.

    Good luck. Let the forum know what you ended up doing.
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    larrymitlarrymit Member Posts: 80
    "Vehicle Safety Control" is really "Vehicle Stability Control," the system that keeps you from losing control of the car if you take a curve too fast, etc. Consumer Reports and others say this is the most important safety feature a car can have. It should save more lives than air bags, and it works before you wreck, not after. It should be standard on all cars but is hard to find on most dealer lots because it adds a few hundred dollars to the price.
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    cliff6cliff6 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks again for all the comparisons. I did essentially the same thing (went to Toyota website) and came to the same conclusions. The dealership wanted $27,800 for the 2004 (with all the usual warranties) and I decided that it wasn't worth the few thousand dollars savings to buy a two year old car, low mileage and warranty notwithstanding. I ended up buying a 2006 for a few thousand more, with the VSC, windscreen, and I guess everything else but the Navigation system. I'm told it will arrive in about a week. I am also told that the 2004 did sell for the 27.8K, though.
    Thanks again for your assistance.
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    alan_dalan_d Member Posts: 13
    Thanks for the correction. I don't know what made me type Safety instead of Stability. I was copying from Toyota literature, which correctly used Stability, and I had some sort of Freudian slip. At least I didn't write Sobriety or Salacious.

    You write that VSC ought to be standard on all cars. On Soleras it's only available on the most expensive models, SLE V6s. On these it is nominally a $650 (MSRP) option. However, my guess is that this is a mandatory option, at least in my area (Buffalo, NY). Of the six cars offered to me, all had VSC. Also, I went through the motions of configuring an SLE V6 on Toyota's website. Both for my local zip code and for several other areas the configuration program forced me to accept the VSC option.
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    dano4dano4 Member Posts: 35
    Our 2005 SLE convertible has 5000 miles and is 10 months old. Highway mileage is 30-31, per the computer.
    Visibility to the rear is not great, but not worse than most convertibles we've owned. Most people do not adjust their side mirrors properly and have them turned in way too far. They should actually be turned almost all the way out. When a car is passing you, the car should just be out of visibility in the mirror by the time you see it next to you. This takes some getting used to, but works great and helps the visibility. Using this technique, the three mirrors together cover a 180 degree field of vision.
    I always wash this car (and others) manually. I've yet to find a car wash that really cleans a car and the brush type are really hard on a paint job!
    Overall, the SLE has been a great car and has been completely problem free. This is my wife's car and her only complaint is the visibility issue vs. a sedan or SUV.
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    dcboaterdcboater Member Posts: 16
    Good morning - Long time Infiniti Q owner here, just placed my order for a 2006 Avalon Limited (dismissing Infiniti) after the screaming success my mother has had with her 2004 Solara, having purchased it for her. Having never previously bought an outdoor car cover, I am coming to this board for assistance. My mother lives in East Tennessee and will be traveling for 6 months abroad. We do not have access to a garage and our only alternative is to buy a car cover for her Solara Coupe.

    I've researched the Technalon brand along with several others but have yet to find a good source for one "custom fitted" for the 2004 Solara Coupe. Does anyone have any suggestions for storing their beloved vehicle for 6 months outside ? Any links to a recommended car cover? I've done my search on this board and have not found anything.

    btw, my decision to move to the Avalon Limited was based on the new design, the identical options (heated/cooled seats, Laser cruise, smart key, nav, rear recliners) to a new Q45 costing nearly 40% less and better MPG with shockingly the same performance numbers (0-60 in 6.5 and a 15 second flat 1/4 mile). Do the math...

    Thanking you in advance,
    dcboater :shades:
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    Hello all, I am waiting for delivery of a new 06 SLE convertible due in early September. I really appreciate all the information in this group. As I can see, the rear visibility is an issue for most people, and so far the only real issue, so that's pretty good. There was no convertible on the lot when I ordered (and still isn't) so I can't check it out for myself.

    I have a Cadillac CTS, and the rear is situated on the high side, (compared to my other cars) and at first it was a problem but I got used to it. It is very difficult to see what type of car is behind you, as you can only see the windshield. If the car behind you (while sitting at traffic lights) is low and narrower you really can't see it at all.

    It really took a little creative side mirror adjusting to get a better look. My biggest problem is I can't see if the car behind me is a police car because the top of all cars are not visible. This is only a problem when you're hauling donkey. I only hope that the Solera is at least close to this, and I think it's about the same.

    This will be my first convertible, and I am really looking forward to driving it. My question to all out there is; Did anyone else have a hard time getting the dealer to order the car with the options/colors you wanted. The reason I ask is, they (the sales person at two different dealers) seemed to be forcing my plans to their liking. Thanks

    thebug...
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    spokanecalspokanecal Member Posts: 9
    I don't know why Toyota doesn't make more convertibles. My wife and I bought a new Solara SLE convertible in June, 2004. We were lucky in that we drove by the dealers lot just after one had been delivered. We love the car and have had no trouble.I have only seen one on my dealers lot this entire year. It seems that they could sell a lot of them in nice weather if they were only available.

    Cal
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    laurenseattlelaurenseattle Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2005 Solara SLE and have been really enjoying the performance, the open air, and the comfortable ride. I'm having the same rear visibility issue that is mentioned all over this site, but I'm just making myself adjust to it because this is my first convertible, and I want to enjoy it! I live in a rainy area however, and I'm dreading the soaking that is going to come. Is there any kind of cloth roof protection that is necessary - such as Scotch Guard? Other than the leaks through the seals that people are mentioning, is the rain going to be soaking through the roof? Any tips on staying dry? Thanks for all the great comments on this list!
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    Perhaps they think sells will be slow. I live in a warmer area of the country (Las Vegas), and one would think a convertible would sell very well in an area such as this. I know some may find the summer daytime temps a little too warm for open top driving, but the evening and nights are next to perfect for such a thing. Additionally, five to six months out of the year daytime temps area high 80"s to mid 90's.

    It rarely rains, and the winters are very short. Daytime winter temps (many days) are mid 60's to low 70's. These are summer temps for some parts of the country.
    I just can't wait until September. Early Christmas for me this year.

    thebug...
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    I don't think they leak under rainy conditions. At least, I hope they don't. Looking at your name, I would say you live in Seattle. I was stationed there for 18 months back in the mid 70's, and boy, it did rain a lot. The dealer should be able to tell you what to use, or if it's even necessary.

    thebug...
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    Just a suggestion. I have several friends who travel overseas on a regular basis. They store their cars in a local climate controlled storage unit (self storage) for six months to a year at a time. I don't think the cost is that unreasonable (probably $100 or so per month depending on size, ac vs. no ac, etc.) considering what you're protecting. It's secure, and so much better than a car cover. Just something to think about.

    thebug...
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    alabamagpalabamagp Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Solara Convertible and would like to have a trailer hitch welded on so I can attach a bike rack. There appear to be no hitches that can be bolted on and I know Toyota defintely recommends no towing. Would the welding weaken the unibody construction?...thanks in advance
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    doodedoode Member Posts: 18
    I've had the Solara conv for amoth now and love each and every of the 6000 kms I've put on it this summer.

    No regrets.
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    mke60mke60 Member Posts: 18
    After much research, I found a product called RaggTopp. This product works much like ScotchGuard. It is easy to apply and lasts months. The water really beads up on my top. You can get this product on-line at autogeek.net or just find a local business that installs convertible tops. That is where I found it here. I live in Missouri and we get a lot of heavy rains. I have never had an issue with water soaking through the top.
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    glendaleglendale Member Posts: 2
    i am picking up my SLE Convertible this week. the showroom has brochures from Ziebart showing that they install the back up sensor. i am waiting for the price. is anyone familiar with this product?
    thanks
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    socalnewbiesocalnewbie Member Posts: 2
    What is the purpose of the wind screen accessory in the 2006 Solara Convertible?
    Is it suppose to DO something; for the FRONT passengers; or maybe the REAR passengers; or maybe just to look COOL? As the driver, I feel no difference with it installed or not. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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    mke60mke60 Member Posts: 18
    The windscreen is designed to reduce the wind that comes from behind the front passengers. It is not designed to be used when passengers are in the back seat. I do notice a difference when it is installed and I have the windows rolled up. I get very little wind inside the front passenger area which is nice when the weather is cool but still nice enough to have the top down.
    If I don't have the windows up, then, yes, you will get blown around abit.
    Enjoy your new car!
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    06sle4me06sle4me Member Posts: 6
    I own a 2006 Solara with the factory GPS nav system. I simply installed a rear view camera and back up sensors, it functions well and no issues as far as backing up concerns.
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    sle1sle1 Member Posts: 2
    06sle4me,
    Could you please give details on your back up system, such as does it use the factory nav screen.
    Thanks.
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    06sle4me06sle4me Member Posts: 6
    Could you please give details on your back up system, such as does it use the factory nav screen.

    I used the Eclipse back up camera and plug right into my OEM Dendso Toyota nav system. It is a plug and play option that Toyota does not admit to.

    Good luck
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    larrymitlarrymit Member Posts: 80
    Which model camera and where did you buy it. Crutchfield offers an Eclipse camera to plug into an Eclipse nav system. The Eclipse system looks suspiciously like the Toyota nav system.
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    mstree01mstree01 Member Posts: 4
    That's great that you found this. Where did you buy them? And, are the backup sensors attached to the Nav screen?

    Thanks for the info.
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    Picked up my Solara convertible on 9-5-05. Black on black (or at least as close as you can get). Tough trying to cut a deal on a car that's in such demand though. They've got you on that issue. In my case, the one I ordered was the only one on the lot. Many were standing by to see if it would become available.

    They placed the car in front where everyone could see it, and many would be takers were waiting for me to turn it down so that they could buy it. It is a beautiful car so the pressure was really great, but I got a good deal. Nothing off the sticker, (I knew that was going to happen) but I did get a good trade value. Actually higher than I expected.

    I figured that this was my only strong point. That in and of itself was a lot of work. I beat up on about three junior salesman (they were like a tag team) before they went and got the big guys, (sisies). It was really fun (I love buying cars), and everybody left happy.

    I've only driven 380 miles since (mostly highway), and it's a cruiser. Gas mileage is pretty low, but that should improve with time. Anyway, I think I like it!!!

    BTW: The rear view is just like my CTS, poor, but not so bad once you get use to. it

    thebug...
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    riptide1riptide1 Member Posts: 3
    I have an '06 Solara SLE convertible on order that is supposed to be built 9/26. The dealer tells me that he has been advised by Toyota that the optional windscreen is no longer being factory installed and that it has been discontinued. He did not know why but guessed it must have been found to have problems. Has anyone else heard this? Will they be replacing it with a new, improved windscreen?
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    anniezmaanniezma Member Posts: 20
    My '06 SLE was delivered in April and even though ordered with a windscreen, it was delivered without one! The dealer installed it about a month later. They had never installed one before. I haven't had any problems yet (knock on wood!!) and I love it...really does block out wind and noise on chilly days (N.E. weather here!) You'll love the car, I do....
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    riptide1riptide1 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the reply. Maybe the windscreens are only dealer installed and can't be ordered from the factory. I hope we can get one. People who have them seem to think they do the job. We're counting the days until our Arctic Frost/Ivory convert gets here!
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    masksavmasksav Member Posts: 13
    06sle4me please share the who,what,where,when why and how much. I think everybody here wants the scoop on your back up system.
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    ktremktrem Member Posts: 9
    I will be picking up my 2006 SE Solara Convertible that has been on order for over a month now. Any comments on what I need to do to as a new car? My first convertible!!! What are your likes and dislikes those who have driven for awhile?
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    masksavmasksav Member Posts: 13
    Solara convertible rear head rests visibility issue by 06sle4me Aug 26, 2005 (11:20 am)
    Bookmark | Reply | E-mail Msg
    I own a 2006 Solara with the factory GPS nav system. I simply installed a rear view camera and back up sensors, it functions well and no issues as far as backing up concerns.
    Replies to this message:
    • sle1 (Aug 28, 2005 10:39 pm)
    • 06sle4me (Sep 04, 2005 12:38 pm)
    • larrymit (Sep 05, 2005 11:00 am)
    • mstree01 (Sep 06, 2005 6:04 pm)
    • masksav (Sep 27, 2005 8:08 am)


    Am a little surprised nobody knows much about this setup. What I think I have found is the Eclipse BEC104 plugs into the back of the Toyota Nav unit. Anybody know anything more about these. If this thing works it could make backing up with the top up a breeze.
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    a58a58 Member Posts: 15
    I have been posting since I bought my 06 Red/Tan Solara Convertible this past April and wanted to keep those interested updated. During my last service I needed to have the roof adjusted since it was not closing correctly. Dealer fixed it. Lately I have developed a small leak on the passenger side; however, I live in Tampa and when it rains it really rains. I will be bringing it in this week for normal service and have them look at the roof again.

    Last service I also had XM radio installed. Absolutely love it! Small square antenna installed on driver side of truck deck, hardly notice it. Works great, no more commercials!

    This drive seems to improve with miles. Gas mileage getting better, was around 21 mpg, now 23 mpg. I do a combo of town and highway driving.

    Still getting a lot of stares and comments about the cars good looks, nice.

    There is no doubt that the rear visibility is tough, I am 6' 2" and still have some problems seeing, especially with the top up. I have back-up sensors on my other car and am considering having them installed. this is also because I got use to having the sensor. Looking at this one. http://www.autobarn.net/wibasebyde.html
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    riptide1riptide1 Member Posts: 3
    Have now confirmed with Toyota Customer Service that the windscreen (part #PT906-06040) has been tagged with a "Stop Sale" in the parts books and can no longer be ordered. No word on what the problem was or if there will be a replacement windscreen from Toyota. Do any of you windscreen owners know what the problem may have been?
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    anniezmaanniezma Member Posts: 20
    I'm VERY curious about the windscreen. Mine was ordered with the car but NOT installed at the factory. The service dept installed it. I have NOT experienced any problems, but having spent $300+ for it, I guess if there are issues then I'd like to know about them and be given the opportunity to correct the problem....Mine is an '06, blue/black/stone interior...I picked it up in April and currently pushing 13,000.... I'll be sure to question the service dept during next service.
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    ktremktrem Member Posts: 9
    I have a question on when to apply RaggTopp to my convertible?
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    mke60mke60 Member Posts: 18
    I applied RaggTopp to my convertible top shortly after I bought the car in March. Reapplication is recommended every six months. I need to reapply but the water still beads up nicely on my top.
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    ktremktrem Member Posts: 9
    thank you! did you have to clean it first with the cleaner?
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    jlutinjlutin Member Posts: 1
    I read in earlier messages that the owners manual does not recommend taking the Solara convertible through drive through car washes. Does this still apply to the 2006 models?

    Thanks in advance.
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    mke60mke60 Member Posts: 18
    No, I didn't use the cleaner first.
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    ktremktrem Member Posts: 9
    What type of gas are people using for the 2006 Solara SE?
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    a58a58 Member Posts: 15
    Just got the car back from dealer for service and fix the roof alignment. Service manager said the roof may have to be adjusted again. Said the material still need to stretch. Anyone else heard of this?
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    plengpleng Member Posts: 14
    Two weeks ago a pick up truck with a loose front wheel veered directly at us in our 2004 Red/Black SE and hit us despite me running the Solara into the ditch. The air bags deployed and we escaped with only soreness and bruises, but the car is a total loss.

    We liked the car so much we want another like it - red with a black top, SE or SEL. Waiting for a new one to be built is a problem sice the insurance company will limit the time they will pay for a rental car. The dealer says his computer cannot find a red/black one, but I believe the dealers typically only search in a limited area.

    So here is my request - if you SEE or hear of a 2006 Red Solara convertible with a black top for sale at any dealer, please let me know at redblacksolara@yahoo.com

    Thanks for your help. We would like to "re-join" the ranks of happy Solara owners.
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    thebugthebug Member Posts: 294
    I ordered my 06 the first week of Aug 05, and picked it up on 5 Sep 05. It arrived three days before that, but I couldn't get over there to pick it up. There were none to be had in the entire state of Nevada at the time I ordered. I believe mine was sent from Tennessee. What part of the country are you in?

    Additionally, you may be able to do a monthly car rental for a lot less, depending on the city you are in. Check around, there may be a used car rental establishment in your area. I've used them before while waiting for my car to return from overseas, and they are pretty good. $250/mo at that time which is really reasonable. I think it was a place called rent-a-reck or something like that.
    Lots of luck and success anyway.

    thebug...
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    uv4meuv4me Member Posts: 22
    Wondering what your experiences are regarding driving the Solara in the snow. We currently live in MD but will be moving next spring, hopefully to Utah or Colorado (I say "hopefully" because we are military and the Air Force like to keep us guessing). We currently have a Jeep Liberty but would love to have a convertible again. I know the Solara is front wheel drive so that should help but I was hoping to hear from those that have actually had their cars out in a little white stuff. Thanks.
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    masksavmasksav Member Posts: 13
    Here's the link for the backup camera info There is alot of discussion about the Solara here

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ee95374/96
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