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Toyota Solara Convertible - 2004 and Newer



  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 46,925
    stopped by the local dealer (in NJ) to see if they had one in yet. According to the salesguy, they might arrive in "3 months maybe", although he did admit that they had 2 scheduled for May, that were presold. Didn't seem real interested in discussing either.

    Did sit in a coupe. Nice interior, and lots of room (especially leg room) in the back seat. If they convert doesn't lose too much leg or shoulder room, should be fine (probably comparable to a Sebring) for a couple of kids. Trunk doesn't look bad either.

    The seats were very comfy, and the overall look/feel was pretty upscale (much nicer than a Camry sedan).

    If they would just put a stick in the darn thing. maybe the autostick will be entertaining enough.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD.

  • hapunahapuna Member Posts: 16
    The Solara does not have a rollover-bar - but in my current SLK, the rollover protection is minimal at best. If that car rolled, I would be in big trouble. I am confident that the variation in safety features between the Solara, Audi, Volvo, etc .. are minimal - the Solara has the front and side airbags, etc .. A bulk of the price differential is driven by brand.
  • jeffceejeffcee Member Posts: 12
    To answer an earlier question there is one button that lowers the top and all of the windows at once. To raise the top there are two buttons one for the top and the other for all four windows. Additionally there is a latch for each side of the top. I only put the top down while in park but it was very quick.....would easily be completed during the average stop light.
  • tikonynjtikonynj Member Posts: 1
    I spent several phone conversations and a visit to a Northern NJ dealer - Prestige. They are NOT willing to negotiate no matter what.

    I test drove a black with beige interior SLE, and with VS and Accessory Package at MSRP of 30,808. The drive can be compared to any large sedan's - very comfortable and stable, you forget you're in a convertible. There is plenty of room in the back and the trunk is rather big for any "topless" automobile.

    The dealer only had this one with another one coming in at the end of April. They take orders but that's about it. You pay them MSRP and after the waiting time is over the car is yours.

    I walked out of the dealership yesterday and told them that I'll sit on in trying to figure out if it is worth it to pay over 30K for it. They already tried to reach me today 3 times but I'm still thinking about it.

    My Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder's (V6, stick shift) lease expires this April and I need to make a decision - never liked paying MSRP.

    Good luck to all of you who have decided on Solara - Toyota really put a nice effort in to it.
  • theweissmantheweissman Member Posts: 28
    The Toyota dealer in Springfield, NJ ("Automall") struck me as sleazy. They have an "Absolutely Red" convertible with Ivory interior in the showroom, with all options but NAV. On the sticker they hand-wrote $1,990. Right off the bat I started to walk out, saying "We have no basis for negotiation." The salesman (Ricardo) said (practically the first words of out his mouth), no joke: "What can I do to put you in this car today?" I gave him a number, he ran off to the manager; the manager came out acting all manager-like (the salesman hung back) but struck me as just another sleazy sales rep. This impression was borne out when during negotiations this manager went to get price approval from her manager.

    They knocked off the AMV right away but would not drop below sticker. They offered me $1,000 for my trade-in than another Toyota dealer, but that was sight unseen, so I can well imagine that was going to go away. In the end, we were about $2,000 apart, and no deal was made.

    This finish on this showroom vehicle was marred by light straight and circular scratches, fingerprints and handprints all over the body. Poor care!

  • mikeb4mikeb4 Member Posts: 4
    I just came back from the Ft. Lauderdale International car show. They had a 2004 Solara SLE Convertible there. The Solara convertible looks AMAZING.

    I spoke with a Toyota rep. and she said that the Solara convertible should be delivered to dealerships on April 9th.

    The top was down on the car. I was able to sit in the car. It is very comfortable to sit in. The leather seats feel great. The back seats have plenty of leg room.

    I saw that there are two buttons to the left of the steering wheel for lowering the top and the windows. The cover for the top (when it is down)looks like a person might have trouble putting it on.

    I thought that the trunk was a decent size for a convertible.

    The only bad part about the Solara was the wood paneling in the car. The wood is UGLY. It does not go with the silver interior dash.
  • icangelat03icangelat03 Member Posts: 45
    I just got a phone call today from my dealer, saying that my 'vert is in. I am planning to go and pick it up Monday. Can't wait to see it :)
  • adaveyadavey Member Posts: 30
    i have a new beetle convert, and wished that i had waited for the redesigned solara ragtop. it looks great and has the room i need. i am not unhappy with the vw, because i've had no problems with it--maybe i got lucky. but the piece of mind from a toyota ragtop would make me feel better. did i mention that the new design looks great?
  • david2david2 Member Posts: 12
    Anyone knows about it? Would you please tell us?

  • nc_tomnc_tom Member Posts: 9
    Signed the deal for an absol. red SLE conv this past Monday, and received an expected delivery date of 4/17. Wasn't too anxious over the past 4 months of looking, but now that I signed, I am ready to hit the road big time.

    Sure was wishing I had it this past weekend with 75-80 deg weather at the beach. As I said previously, I found $500 off sticker, and that was hard to find. Though, the dealer around the corner did call and offer to match after all. They were just too late since they said up front they wouldn't move of sticker, then I still called on Monday to give them a final chance. I have the impression the dealer I am buying from might not take $500 off again though from comments the sales person has made. I heard only 30 SLEs total (only 6 red) coming into the SE during April. Not many at all.

    As others did, we test drove the coupe for a reference point. The size is good. Plus, the coupe and convertible dimensions are on the Toyota site as of last weekend. Size was a consderation since we have two kids. About 6" less at the waist in the conv back seat, and the trunk is about 2 cu ft less. Also got to play with the auto manual, which is cool, though I had trouble adjusting during the test drive. Just strange driving a manual without a clutch. I think I'll like it though.

    For safety, the only 4 seater convertible I saw that roll over protection is the Saab 9-3, which has posts that pop out of the rear seat head rests in the event the car goes more than 30 degrees. That is definitely a cool feature, but the higher price with high depreciation on the Saab deterred us. Also, quality on the 9-3 coupe redesign, which debuted in 2003 is rated highly, but I just didn't have confidence. It is a GM now after all.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    Actually, all higher line 4 seat convertibles have roll over protection. Audi, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, and Saab have it. But at the pricepoint of the Solara, I wouldn't expect it or miss it. It's a neat feature but 2 door cars are the least likely to flip so I'm not really concerned.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    but I'll move this discussion to the Coupes & Convertibles board in the next few days, since it's available.


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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • tchantchan Member Posts: 2
  • tchantchan Member Posts: 2
    Just a bit of info for you guys.

    The roll bars are hidden within the rear seat headrests. You would have to unscrew the back cover to see them.

  • nc_tomnc_tom Member Posts: 9
    Didn't know the BMW had them in the 3 series, but it wasn't an important feature to us, and we didn't seriously consider the BMW, so I guess I was just uninformed. I am surprised to hear that the solara has roll bars in the rear headrests. If anyone has any links with details on this I would be interested.

    19 days and counting!
  • hapunahapuna Member Posts: 16
    Give us an update on your convertible. My red/ivory SLE (with NAV) should be in before Easter. Getting rid of the SLK this Saturday.
  • icangelat03icangelat03 Member Posts: 45
    I picked it up after work last night and drove around with the top down (even though it was only 50 degrees).
    It is a cosmic blue/dark stone SLE without NAV. The only options on it are the VSC and the floor mats. They took ~$790 off the sticker price (because of a connection with the owner), and I got the college grad incentive, which made the price very reasonable.
    I am very happy with the car in general. Handling is great, I really like the sequential shift option (great for me, who's not comfortable with a manual option). The stability is also the best I have seen in a convertible. There is virtually no sway in the windshield area when hitting bumps, etc.
    Any questions feel free to ask.
  • icangelat03icangelat03 Member Posts: 45
    I've been doing some reading and researching on the internet. Also talking to dealers, etc. about special care for the convertible top. The manufacturers book says to hand wash only with a water and hand soap mixture. Online I have read that automatic car washes with spray waxes should be avoided and that you should use a special brand "recommended by the manufacturers of the material used to make the cover". I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience or advice. With the coming dry spell here, I'm looking to wash soon.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Picked it up on Saturday..black/gray, nav, stability, first aid kit.
    First impression: unreal at 60-70 mph on the highway how quiet the car is. Very easy to forget the roof comes off.
    Car is absolutely amazing. Now all we need in New England is some decent weather to enjoy it!
  • hapunahapuna Member Posts: 16
    Congrats on the new vehicles. Mine arrives at the dealer today - will pick it up on Wednesday.

    Tyresmoker - how is the NAV system? Anxious to see how it is in mine.

    Icangelat03 - the upkeep of the top is a big concern of mine as well. I will do some research and let you know what I find.

  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    ..is cool. it really complements the interior of the car. The only experience i have with a nav prior to this one is in a '00 MB s-class, which is cd based and a real hastle to use.
    The JBL system in the Solara is touch screen and very intuitive. Which for me is very important as I have no patience for long instructions and tiny buttons!
    The way the radio integrates into the system is really neat too. Didn't really want the nav at first but now that we have it, very glad we got it.
    AS far as top maintenence, keep the car out of the carwash and it should be fine. Remember, these are made of marine-grade canvas, which is made to sustain some pretty severe elements.
    Visit a marine store and look for soaps made for such material.
  • codylabradorcodylabrador Member Posts: 18
    Stopped by my local Toyota dealer on Friday and drove the only one they had on the lot. It was an SLE, silver, black top and charcoal interior. My primary concern was to drive it to see if the cowl shake of the pre-2004 version was gone. It was.

    I was surprised at how much trunk room the car had. The top was already down and my otherwise knowledgeable salesperson did not know how to get the cover off in order to raise the top. I cannot comment on how quiet the car was.

    A few quirky things I did note: only one pneumatic prop was installed to hold the hood up; the tilt/telescoping wheel knobs remind me of the cheapness of my 1991 Camry Wagon, the rear windows do not have independent control switches and the three pods on the upper center of the dashboard that hold the clock, etc. look cheesy. Perhaps if they held analog gauges that match the ones in front of the driver I would like them. I also wish the car had other than Bridgestone tires.

    It drove great and looked good - the dealer wanted sticker price so I will be waiting a while before seriously looking to deal.
  • buster6buster6 Member Posts: 133
    My dealer called today and they have a red sle with navi. It is going for full MSRP, but no addendums. I have to make a desison in an hour but wanted a follow up to you guys who have one to see how you are liking it.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Buy the car..even at $32.1k, it is still a value as far as I am concerned..the nav system is gimicky....but really cool...we have just over 1k on ours and i cannot get my wife out of it so i can drive it...
    I spoke with a dealer in northern Jersey yesterday (high volume), they are pre-selling every one they get...
  • katewakatewa Member Posts: 24
    I took a test drive in the Solara convertible yesterday. I was a bit surprised at how the car jumped around when I hit a bump. The whole thing shook. I also really noticed the "flex" when I hit the bumps.

    Is this common to all convertibles? We are moving to Hawaii so my husband wants to get a convertible - but I don't think I want one if I have to deal with this kind of a ride.

  • katewakatewa Member Posts: 24
    Here in the area of WA I live in, dealers are charging a premium of about $5000 grand. That's another reason why I'm not too excited about this car.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    That flex you were experiencing is commonly known as "cowl shake" and exists to a degree in pretty much anything you remove the roof on. See, the roof is a key structural support in an automobile design and is very difficult to replicate its function once it is removed. As a result some shaking is present.
    Go drive some of the competition. Drive a Volvo C70 and you will run, not walk, back to the Toyota.
    A family member has a Lexus SC430 and even that has a pretty fair share of shake. Good luck.
    Too bad about the $5k mark-up, my local dealer here in Connecticut had the same mark-up...before he sold them both.
  • katewakatewa Member Posts: 24
    Thanks for the input. I am definitely going to drive other convertibles. I'm wondering if a convertible is really the car for me (it's my husband fantasy but he's probably going to buy a F-150 light'ning or heritage so the car will be my main vehicle).

    Do you know what brand of tires are on the Solara? I'm wondering if the one I drove had high-performance tires and that made for "bouncier" ride?
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    More importantly, what type of vehicle do you currently drive? Why I ask? This is the ride characteristic that you are most familiar with.
    Ours has 17" wheels with Bridgestone Potenzas (standard wheel & tire combo). I drive an Expedition which, well, rides and drives like a truck. As a result, the Solara is a pleasure to drive (when i get the chance) in comparision.
  • katewakatewa Member Posts: 24
    Right now I drive a 2000 Town and Country Limited with Firestone Affinity tires.
  • indykenindyken Member Posts: 6
    Hi everyone. I just ordered a red convertible solara SLE with grey interior and a black top yesterday. Hopefully it will be ready when my Tundra lease expires in late July and I won't have a gap!

    Thanks to all who have posted so far. Please keep posting and let us know how things are working with your cars. I've never purchased a car before without test driving one, and hope that this is not a mistake, there just has not been an opportunity because they are selling faster than they can get them on the lots.

    I dealer shopped a lot and was able to get 600.00 off MSRP. I wasn't going to pay MSRP because I am a huge tightwad, so was pleased that there was at least a little discount.

    I ordered mine without NAV, because I can't really see myself using it and wanted the 6 cd capability. The only options I ordered were traction control and floormats.

    The weather is beautiful in Indy right now. Wish I was driving it already. I'll keep you posted. Don't pay sticker!

    Thanks, Ken
  • jeffceejeffcee Member Posts: 12
    Congratulations on your decision to get a Solara Convertible. I got mine the 3rd week in march and it is a great car. I originally tried to purchase from Butler Toyota as the brother in law of one of my relatives has been a salesman there for over 15 years. He was not able to get me any discount. They wanted full MSRP so I ended up buying in Wisconsin for a $600 discount. Just curious to know what dealer in Indy you are getting your car from. I live in Chicago now but lived in Indy for many years prior. Enjoy your new ride!! I hope it arrives before your current lease expires.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    ...you get a 6 disc changer in the dash with the nav system. It is actually located behind the screen..We actually drove ours for the first time after the paperwork was signed and our plates were on it...No regrets..
    One small point, the power top button and the "all" windows switch should be back-lit, pretty difficult to see at night.
  • nc_tomnc_tom Member Posts: 9
    I have had my Solara SLE convertible (red, gray int, black top, 17" tires) for a little over a month and I love it. I also bought it without having ever seen one, but I had no doubt based on everything I read, the pictures, and the Solara history. I've never done that type of thing before, but I have no regrets at all. It looks better in person than the pictures, and I had high expectations. I have 1300 miles already, and still pinch myself most every day to make sure I'm not dreaming.

    We took it to Myrtle beach last weekend, and had a blast in it. It got a lot of looks and comments (all good), as it does pretty much everywhere.

    As far as comments, pretty much what others have written. The rear visibility is poor with the top up (though I haven't experienced it much). Other than that you forget you're in a convertible when the top is up since the noise is minimal. I like the windscreen, which I wasn't sure about when I got it. It is easy to take on and off, and fits nicely in the trunk. It keeps down enough of the swirl to be useful. I haven't used the boot cover yet. The windows and roof up/down buttons are hard to see at night until you get used to which button is where. Also, I wish you could roll down the left and right rear windows individually, as you can never get two kids to agree on anything. Lot's of cup holders is nice for keeping the kids drinks off of my floor.

    It is big! It is only a few inches shorter than our Sienna minivan. This is great for us, as the kids have plenty of room to ride in the back, and there is plenty of room in the trunk for weekend beach trips.

    The thing the has surprised me most is the good performance. I didn't really consider performance a high mark of the Solara, and was attracted more to the reliability, looks, and size. However, it corners very well for such a large car. Also, the acceleration is better than I expected. The automatic can delay a bit at some speeds, but once it starts accelerating it does quite nicely. If you don't like the delay in the transmission, the sequential drive (ie, auto-manual or his-her transmission) takes care of that too. One of the funnest things with the car that I do on a regular basis is start blasting out onto the highway after going about 2/3 of the way around the clover leaf.

    I can't imagine anyone not loving this car once they get it.
  • accurateaccurate Member Posts: 4
    Hi ,, I also have the Nav system , but there is only a single CD player behind the Nav . not a 6 player cd .. also notice there is no load button there ...
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    really didn't notice that...proof that I dont drive it as much as I should!
  • indykenindyken Member Posts: 6
    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the input. I'm glad you are enjoying the solara convertible. How is it over bumps? Lots of cowlshake? How is the handling in general? How does it corner.

    In answer to your question I ordered mine from Butler. At first they did not want to bargain at all, but I managed to put together a deal with Ed Martin in Anderson, and then Butler ALMOST met their price, except for a hundred bucks, which I really don't mind paying if I don't have to drive to Anderson.

    Good luck!
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    I was doing a deal on Long Island yesterday on an '04 Camry...dealers there are getting $2k-$2.5k over sticker for their ragtops..one had a multi-unit waiting list..
    The deals on these cars are definitely at the dealers serving smaller markets..
  • lfmlfm Member Posts: 35
    What sort of pricing is available for a 2004 Solara Convertible extended Maintenance Contract?
  • ravenmaniacravenmaniac Member Posts: 8
    I am disappointed by the styling on the new solara. But I love the room and overall value of the car, so I am hoping to come across a color combination that convinces me to take the plunge.

    I think the desert sand mica and the dark blue are, by far, the best looking colors on the hardtops. But these don't appear to be available on the ragtops. Dealers giving me conflicting info... a few say these colors will eventually be available.

    If not, anyone out there, have a black convertible with a tan top? Can't find one here in the mid-Atlantic. BTW: all the dealers here have been firm at MSRP.
  • sequoiasoonsequoiasoon Member Posts: 223
    Open up your e-mail and I'll send you info for 2 dealers that sell them for just over cost. Factory backed 7 yr/ 100k platinum $0 deductible. Dealers by me wanted $2000+ and I got it for 1/2 of that by searching. You can buy it from any Toyota dealer just make sure you check as many use "aftermarket" warranty companies.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    The black/tan combo is a bit harsh. I know of one in Huntington LI @ $2k over sticker. I originally wanted black/tan/black top, my dealer told me it wasnt going to happen so we went with gray to get the black top. If you can live with gray, the black/black combo is a sharper package.
    Remember, they are only building about 150 of these cars a week,(compared to 1150 Sebrings per week) so they are still in the "rollout" phase.
    Dk. blue was never available on the old bodystyle even though it was offered on the coupe.
  • ravenmaniacravenmaniac Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for the input. We seem to have similar tastes... I ruled out the BMW, Audi, and Saab for the same reasons you cited previously.

    And my 1st choice for the Solara was also black with tan interior and a black top. The charcoal grey interior I saw on a black/black was so dark that it looked black too. I don't want to drive the Batmobile. Maybe black/black w/ gray leather?

    My other main concern is visibility: the rear window should be wider and taller, especially given the rear-seat headrest concerns others have mentioned. I couldn't see the tail at all during a test drive. How is parallel parking? And I'm not sure if it's the rake of the windshield or if maybe I had the seat too high (in hopes of being able to see the "corners" of the car), but the view out the windshield seemed limited too. Just me or have others noticed this? Just need to "learn" the car and get used to it?

    I WANT to love the Solara. But how am I suppose to enjoy it when I'll spend much of my time worrying that I'll scrape up my new $30k car because I can't see the corners when driving or the rear when parking?
  • beefheartbeefheart Member Posts: 3
    We ordered our '04 Solara SLE convertible on April 8th. Can anyone share their experience with delivery times?
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Ordered? More like ask your dealer what his allocation is for the upcoming months and see where your "order" fits into his allocation. See, they are given so many units per month based on a type of "turn and earn" allocation system. If they have 10 people with "orders" and they only are allocated 1 per month, better get it with snow tires.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    check the color of the stone interior again in the daylight, I wouldn't want it much lighter. I would certainly not confuse it for black as it is medium gray at best.
    Visibility is an issue,as with any convertible,and has to do with getting used to the car. Ever drive a C5 Corvette with the top up? Don't.
     See, most consumers would prefer a glass backlight as opposed to plastic, which discolors over time.Also, obviously you cannot put a rear defroster in a plastic window.
    MB took some serious heat 14 years ago when they launched the new SL, which had moved upmarket in both technology and price, with a three piece plastic backlight. The interesting thing was the fact that there were no visibility issues! (In fairness, there was also a hardtop for winter driving).
  • beefheartbeefheart Member Posts: 3
    The salesman told us they were alloted three convertibles, and we got the second one. He told us the first guy just got his car and we were next on the list. Hopefully I won't need those snow tires.
  • teembteemb Member Posts: 1
    I began to look for a Solara Convertible about six days ago, and finally today I put a deposit down on a white SE with power seats, premium sound, white with a tan top. The car is scheduled to be built June 7 and I will pick it up that following week.
      The car was located by a Toyota salesman who is the representative of his dealership for my credit union. On top of a great deal, I don't have to pay the ~$500 destination fee because its being custom ordered (I believe that is why).
      I called about 30 dealerships in the Southeast U.S. trying to locate a suitable Solara, but had no luck. I live on Lookout Mtn, GA, but the dealership has offered to fly me to Washington, D.C. and pick me up at the airport for delivery of my car. I actually look forward to the 600 mile drive home.
      If anyone wants some advice on locating a Solara Convertible, email me, and I'll share some knowledge I've gained.
  • dav47dav47 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone else had a problem with the top? Got mine in early April. Last week noticed alot of wind noise on driver's side on the highway and that the top wasn't being pulled down tightly over the windows. There was also a bulge in the rear top area. Took it to dealer and was told that a cable had snapped that keeps the top tight. They tried to order a new top, but found it was a discontinued part. Guess they won't replace it until they figure out the problem and come up with a fix, so there must be others doing the same thing. Was surprised to hear that the replacement is not just the cloth but the whole top including the frame and the window in one piece. They just unbolt the old, take it off and attach the whole new unit.

    Other than that the car is 100 times better than my 2002. Very little cowl shake. Love the NAV and XM satellite but miss the CD changer!
  • janbaldyjanbaldy Member Posts: 6
    Today (5/22/04)I just saw a black convertible with a tan top at Reno Toyota, here in Reno Nevada. It was the v6 automatic.
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