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Toyota Solara



  • Thanks for your analysis of the Altima. In the reviews and ads it seems too good to be true. A nice package with a big engine and refined engineering. But, as you have pointed out - they have cut a lot of corners in the places you see them the most. Too bad.

    You will enjoy the Solara - I am convinced that it is really a bargain for the overall level of refinement and quality.

    Also - You mentioned that the Solara does not require Premium. This is true, but the car runs a LOT better on Premium, and the increased gas mileage more than makes up for the cost difference. Don't skimp here on this nice car!
  • I bought my 2000 V6 5sp w/ leather about 5 weeks ago with 17200 miles on it and it is awesome! The acceleration is strong and the braking is just right -- smooth and sure, not weak or grabby. A mechanic friend noted that the rpm's didn't waver at all when the car was on cruise control at highway speeds and we headed up a sorta-steep hill. The JBL stereo system that comes with the sport pkg is AWESOME, and the ride is s-m-o-o-t-h and q-u-i-e-t yet still plenty sporty. Another great benefit is the space in the backseat. I usually drive alone, but want the option of carrying adults in the backseat in reasonable comfort (while there and getting in and out). The Solara has as much room in the backseat as the 4-dr Camry!! And it's not bad at all to get in and out of. (The Solara won that contest over the Accord coupe hands down and then some.) I had told that to my 65-year-old father, and he just kind of said "uh-huh" until he tried it and was quite amazed. Recently I had a tall person in the front passenger seat and another tall person directly behind and they both had room to spare. I've also seen a ~6'4" ~300lb car salesman in the back seat looking plenty comfy. The quality of the leather seems really good (a lot better than the Accord which I've seen several 2-yr old Accord coupes with tears in the leather along seam lines and little hairs sticking out of the perforations. Mine doesn't look even close to doing either.) The seats are very comfortable (much better than the Accord). Shifting-wise, it's hard to mess up with this car -- the speed ranges that the engine seems to be content at for each gear are very, very wide. My only "problem" shifting is that it is so quietly content that it doesn't audibly "tell" me when to shift so I sometimes forget, no doubt to the detriment of my gas mileage. Gas mileage -- the highest I've gotten is 30 mostly-highway miles per gallon. (That equaled 482 miles on one tank...) Lowest is 18 which only happened once and I suspect the quality of the gas in that instance. Mostly I've been getting 26-28 in mixed city/highway driving (~40%/60%?). I was talking with a Toyota mechanic today as he put new windshield wipers on for me and he said they hardly ever have to do anything to the Solaras. My mechanic friend has a Toyota mechanic for a brother and he said the same thing. P.S. My previous car of 12 years was an Accord coupe and I loved it and completely expected to get another one, but the Solara came out miles ahead when I compared them and the Solara has the V6 with 5sp! Very cool!!!!
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    I think it's ridiculous for a V6 today to require premium fuel for optimal performance. Look at Toyota's competition (both domestic and import); most have more hp and torque from an engine with similar displacement, yet don't require premium fuel. For example, look at the Solara SLE V6 vs. the Chrysler Sebring LXi Coupe:

    Solara: HP: 192 @ 5200 RPM
    Sebring: HP: 200 @ 5500 RPM

    Solara: 3.0 L
    Sebring: 3.0 L

    Solara: torque: 207 lb./ft.
    Sebring: torque: 205 lb./ft.

    Solara: gas mileage: 20 city / 27 highway
    Sebring: gas mileage: 20 city / 29 highway

    Yet, the Sebring gets these numbers with regular unleaded fuel. The Solara gets these numbers with premium. I think Toyota needs to take a look at what the competition offers and stop sitting on its laurels.
  • Actually the Solara gets those numbers with REGULAR fuel, not premium.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 857
    ...........the six develops 200HP ('cept in CA:198) not 192...........attention to detail never really hurts.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Posts: 301
    is what i use in my 00 solara and it takes my nieghbors 00 maxima SE by a car length every time!
    (both cars w/auto trans)
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Well, I did pay attention to the details, since I got my info from Carpoint.

    In any case, I think the new 4-cylinder is a great improvement, and should provide ample power.
  • bwiebebwiebe Posts: 27
    I have tried regular (89), premium, and regular with an ethenol blend (91) and fuel economy is about the same. Premium does give a small bit of a boost in preformance (or maybe its just my imagination) but certanly not worth the 15% increased cost for premium over regular. My mileage has been about 32 on average on the highway and 27-28 for mixed city/highway. (thats using imperial gallons as a measurement) I always convert from metric. I just can't get used to L/100 km. The owners manual doesn't stipulate premium so I'm going to continue to use regular.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    How do you convert from L/100 km. to imperial gallons? I always wanted to know but I couldn't figure it out. Math wasn't my strongest subject in school!
  • pbcpbc Posts: 44
    Canc - 1 litre = 0.264172 US Liquid Gallons (i.e. they refer to 18 gallon tanks vs our 70 litre tanks). 1 km = 0.621371 miles

    Also, if you read the Solara brochure and manual, it quotes 200hp. Although I've also seen several places where they quote it at the Camry V6 output of 192(see the Nissan web site!)

    Mileage - Every time I read people's MPG stats they blow my mind. Here is my experience based on me filling up when the tank is down to 10 liters left on Premium 91 fuel (which is a must according to the Canadian Solara brochure):

    80% City/20% Highway - 520km on 60 litres translating to 323m on 15.85g or 20MPG

    60% City/40% Highway - 580km on 60 litres or 360m on 15.85g or 23MPG

    90% Highway/10% City - 800km on 60 litres or 31MPG driving an average 120km (75miles) an hour.

    Oh, these are during the cool/warm months usually with little A/C. If I'm driving with A/C on all the time on a hot summer week or with heat on in the dead of winter, I'd say mileage drops by 50-70 km (30-40 miles). I drive a V6 Auto.

    On average in mixed driving I'll get 500-580km on 60 litres.

    My city drive is brutal though, say 45 minutes to 1 hour for a 22km (13.5 mile) drive. Maybe that is where I'm losing out!

    W.r.t. brakes, just to throw this in, I'm at 40,000km (24.5k miles) on the first set and still going. Dealer told me that they want to do something to clean our the salt and rust build up for $170CDN that will help the pads last longer, but so far I haven't dished out. How are other people faring? A friend of mine in his '97 Grand Am has to change his pads every 20,000km (12.4k miles)!!
  • I'm at 70k km on my '00 SE V6 with the original pads. I was hearing a little squeak from the brakes last week but attribute it to some debris stuck between the pads and rotor--the sound is now gone and plenty of pad left. yes, the dealer tried to sell me a brake cleaning as well..If it ain't broke why fix it? BTW the dealer was Kingsway in Edmonton. They'll say anything to separate you from your cash.
  • I ran across this the other day and thought it useful from

    Demystifying Octane Ratings

    "If your car requires high-octane gasoline and you habitually use regular gas because the engine exhibits no sign of knock, you’re outsmarting yourself. Most modern, computer-controlled engines include a knock sensor that detects knock and retards the ignition timing, causing the spark plugs to fire slightly later in the cycle. This typically prevents abnormal combustion and knock, which allows vehicles specified for premium fuel to run on lower-grade gasoline if it is all that’s available. While this removes the immediate hazard, it’s a bad idea to make a habit of running a vehicle on gasoline of lower-than-recommended octane. Retarding the spark causes a richer fuel/air mixture, which decreases fuel economy, increases emissions, causes the engine to run hotter, and reduces the longevity of both the engine itself and the catalytic converter. The money you save by pumping low-grade fuel into a car that demands higher octane is lost anyway, in decreased fuel economy and possibly gradual damage."
  • This statement doesn't apply to our cars because they do not require premium fuel. Also, our cars are smart enough to tell the difference between octane levels and they adjust accordingly.
  • A question for those of you who have owned your Solaras longer than I have -- How does it handle in the winter, particularly snow? Are all-weather radials sufficient for mild-to-medium winters or should I be thinking about studded tires? Thanks..
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    for the conversion info. Your Solara seems to be pretty good on mileage, and on par with other V6s I've known. I agree that the city commute is what kills your mileage.

    On another note, will you all be trading in your Solara for the new model when it comes out in 2 years?
  • Winter driving with the 16 inch Michelins is terrible. I didnt get the traction control, and I regret it. My Solara gets snowed in easily, compared to even my neighbors, 99 Camry with 15 inch Michelins. She a nose heavy car in the snow, so give yourself plenty of distance from the cars in front of you. Mine doesnt fish tail, as much as my 97 Avenger did, that car had 17 inch Goodyears, and held the road very nicely. That was the only good thing about that car, however. I may be looking into snow tires this year, possibly from Nokia (??)Tyres, if I can get a good deal, locally.
  • Yes, gdanczyk, our cars do not REQUIRE Premium, but it is RECOMMENDED. There is more power and greater engine efficiency. Plus, as phelpsm points out, the engine and catalytic converter have to work harder with lower octanes.

    My own gas mileage went up dramatically when I switched to Premium, more than offsetting the cost increase as well as giving me more power. If you wnat to evaulate the differences, please use at least 2-3 tankfuls of each for each trial before you make a decision, as the computer seems to take a while to make major changes.

    ALSO - the brand of gas makes a REAL difference. I will no longer use Costco gas - the mileage was much worse than using a major brand. My neighbor is in the fuel industry, and he says it is well worth using Standard or Shell, or other top brands.
  • I don't see why you would want to drive in snow with non-snow tires! that's like driving in the rain with bald tires! they make snow tires for a reason. i crashed my 97 accord on black ice. it wasn't a good thing.
  • Hello--I have a 2001 Solara V6 w/1,500 miles which slightly pulled to the Left. I brought it in for service (Cherry Hill, NJ), they did an alignment, and it STILLS pulls left.

    Anyone else have this problem??

    Thank you.
  • Did you buy it from Tony? I just bought a 2002 Solara (not from Tony) and I think that the JBL system is weak. It hisses and the speakers rattle. It has WAY too much bass. I like a lot of bass, and I usually cut the bass down to -3 or -4. I think it sucks as a stereo upgrade. Does anybody else feel this way?
  • If your car is pulling to left, I presume it always will. I have had multiple alignmments, and rotations, which even included inverting the 16 inch Michelins(outsidtations turned inside on wheels), and nothing seems to resolve the issue. GET USED TO IT! You may get the car a little straighter, but it wont last more than a few hundred miles. I have now found, my car drives straighter, without the alignments, and rotation. I guess the tires are broken in, at 31,000 miles in the rear and the 2 front tires have about 9,000 miles on them, after hitting a small pothole that ripped through the tire, and $480 rim. Earlier postings suggested many people have this problem, I beling one the the first, and will always have this problem. I think there may be a steering rack problem, like Toyota's trucks have/had, or just BAD geometry of the front end, due to design, or poor build quality. You can think of it as a safty feature, cuz if you take your hands off the wheel for even a second at highway speeds, your dead. So remember to use both hands, positioned at 10 and 2, and get used to the ongoing battle with the steering wheel.

    ROCKING CHAIR....I recently got a phone call from The National Highway and Traffic Admisitration, and he said that the 2000 Camry/Solaras are covered by TBS, BO... SOMETHING OR OTHER, GOT DELETED FROM MY VOICE MAIL!?! I have had ongoing problems getting this resolved with Toyota Customer Service, and my local dealer. If any of you guys or gals have a rocking chair, reply, or give me any info you have about getting it resolved, please!

    STEREO... I have the JBL system that came with option #4, 2000 Solara's,(didnt get alloy rim, like was in brochure) and I think it is the best factory stereo I have ever had, sound quality wise. The head unit is weak, but not a priority of mine. If you think it has too much bass, turn the bass down!?! Increase your treble.

    SNOW TIRES...It is a good idea for anyone in snowy climates too have snow tires, as those of us who reside in cold climates, know that all season tires, do not refer to SNOW!!! Black ice, is another story, as even snow tires won't help at all when you start to hydro-plane over the ice. Of course, we all know that black ice is "almost" invisable, until you are driving on it, usually at way too fast speeds, for conditions, and when you hit it just hold your breath and wait for the car to regain control itself, or with your assistance. Even ABS won't help, maybe even make it worse.
  • bwiebebwiebe Posts: 27
    I have the michelins on my 2000 SLE V6. I have actually found them to handle quite well on snow and ice. In the past I have found michelins rubber compound to be too hard. Great for being long lasting but tend to just slide on ice and snow. Must have softened the rubber compound. The ABS has saved me a couple of times, this last Saturday the most recent. I hit some black ice on a bridge and while everyone was doing 180's I slowed down under control and steared around a car that had "parked" itself up on the curb.

    I have started to experience a slight rocking in the drivers seat, especially when I get in and lean back to adjust myself in the seat. I hear and feel a creaking or give in the seat back. Will be bringing the car in for the 24,000 km servicing next week and will get them to check it out. May be out of luck on warranty though as I had heated seats installed and they may claim this will void the warranty.

    No Pulling left, thank the car gods for that as previous posts haven't found a solution.

    Stereo sounds good to me although a slight hiss when volume is down and car is parked.

    I have noticed that the brakes have a slight squeel when backing up. Usually noticable when first starting up car and it is slightly cold or damp out.
  • My 99 Red Toyota Solara SLE's battery just died. Since the car is only 2 1/2 years old, it seems a little early for the battery to die.

    Anyone else experience this or have any other types of electrical/alternator problems??

  • decondecon Posts: 56
    I recently took my car into service for 30K.
    I told them about the rocking seat problem. They took it for a test drive and said there is a problem. I have a 2000 SLE. They are ordering the part and will fix it when it comes in. The reason it is loose is due to a loose seat rail. Only way to fix it, is to order that new part.
  • vz18wpvz18wp Posts: 20
    Hey webguyster...

    I have a 1999 SE V6 that had this problem. Took it into the dealership and they replaced the "lower seat frame assembly" under warranty. This was done back in January 2001.

    I think it is part # 72020-06020.

    Good luck.

    1999 DWP SE V6 with 37,000 smooth miles.
  • 2 1/2 years is as good as it gets with the cheap battery they give you with the car, especialkly with all the parasitic drain from the security system, and alarm, if you have one installed. I had 2 replacements the first year, and I am headed for another. When my lights start to dim at stop lights, I know it time to go in again, and get another $39 replacement battery. When I am out of warrenty, my Toyota Extra care deductible is $50, so I will replace with a better battery myself. My dealer installs Interstae batteries, an although they seem to be good batteries from the web sites, I would rather chance it with a Sears Die Hard, or some other large company that has a bigger selection than the dealer, and will be more customer focused when it comes to replacing the battery. I was amazed that Toyota replaced the batteries, as Dodge, aka. D/C, did not cover batteries or tires under bumper to bumper. They did reimburse me after a few phone calls, but it was a hassle. I will try to replace the seat frame b4 36,000 miles, as they have it documented since almost the day I bought the car. My problem has been that I cannot get the service guy or manager to sit in the car, and the mechanics find no problems and dismiss it as wear and tear. I weigh 165lbs, and I am not too big for the seat, where it may cause wear and tear. It has become more noticable to me since I have bruised/fractured a rib, and every little rock back and forth HURTS alot! I hate to we whiney, as the dealer I use is open until 12 midnight, and all the other dealers are about 15-20 miles away and require appointments.
  • My car has always had a slight left drift. The dealer has improved it, but it is still there, and I don't reallly notice it anymore. I am trying a different dealer for my next service, we'll see what happens. This is the only "defect" or problem I've ever had with the car in nearly 3 years.

    The JBL stereo is not the best I've heard, but I would never say it has too much bass. The relatively small speakers can't gereate much real bass anyway.

    If you think the JBL system has WAY too much bass then 1. The system is defective, or 2. your previous system had no bass and you got used to it.
  • I recently replaced my stock paper air filter with TRD's, and so far I am happy with the change. You really notice the difference more at highway speeds--acceleration is smoother and stronger. Not much difference on city streets, but idle coasting speeds are a bit faster, with less "resistance" to slowing. My concern was that there would be increased engine noise (I like the already quiet ride), but so far I am not bothered by any increase in noise. Has anyone else out there tried this upgrade?...Will see how it affects gas mileage, too.

    A side note: Does anyone feel and hear an intermittent mild "thump/jerk" when initially accelerating from stop? It is not a big deal, but I wish accelerating from stop would be smoother. I've got the rocking seat, too, and will take it into the dealer soon. Otherwise, great car!

    2001 SLE V6 DWP
    8000 miles
  • Mine gives a thump when coming to a stop at a red light. It feels like the tranny shifting too hard.Makes a DUNK noise. If it is night, the lights will dim when this happens. It is usually only when in 1 and 2nd gear back to 1st. It almost feels like the A/C compressor is on, but is is not. Is this the same thump you refer to??? Good luck with the rockin' chair...

    00 SE V6 Solara package #4, no alloy rim,:^( Black/Ivory

    P.S. Got an invite from a company probaly through Edmunds, for $75 for opinion on car designs. Anyone else go to one of these???
  • I don't even have 1000 miles on my car and I think I have the rocking chair problem. It squeaks and moves a little when I lean back in it. About the comments made here regarding bass, the stereo has more bass than the little speakers can handle. My previous systems were Nissan Bose and were of much higher quality. The JBL speakers distort way too easily, in my opinion. That is with the bass cut almost to the max. When the bass is flat (at zero) it should sound natural, and that is simply not the case with the JBL. I also feel that the car wanders a bit on the highway. The steering is definitely not tight on my Solara. The paint is average at best, it's a "regular guy car" paint job which is ok because it's not an expensive car. I wanted to put a really good shine on it, but it's just not going to happen. I guess I'm being critical, but I'm starting to notice the car's weaknesses at this point. Still the best for the price.
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