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Toyota Solara



  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Ok people, here's my dilemma: I'm basically looking for a solid, reliable car that would preferably be comfortably, roomy, and quiet.

    Basically my choices are set on either the Sebring Sedan, the Accord Sedan, or the Solara (I know the latter is a 2-door, but I dislike the coupe versions of the Accord and the Sebring).

    For the same price as a 4-cylinder Solara SE, I could get an Accord Special Edition V-6 with all the bells and whistles. I could also get a fully loaded Sebring, with a V-6 engine. My question is this: do you think that the Solara is still worth it, considering I'm not getting as much for my money (or so it seems) than the Sebring or Accord? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Like people always told me when I had my 1999 "award-winning Motor Trend Car of the Year" Chrysler 300M, some bad ones are bound to get through. Mine got through alright. I couldn't wait to get rid of before it hit 36,000 miles with NO warranty. Let me just say that no matter how "bad/cheap" you think the Solara is, there are WORSE cars out there in the same price category.

    As for the paint- a front bra works wonders if you do a lot of highway driving and want to avoid chips. These new cars with their aerodynamic shapes leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the front hood. I know the bra is a pain, but it does help. All depends on how much the chips bother you. As for the shine, well, you are new here! ;-)) Ever heard of Zaino? It's a polymer polish. Too detailed to go into here, but if you click on my name above, you'll see what a shine it gives. Check out the 300M and the Acura pics. Those are the cars that have Zaino. I've been using it since the summer of 1998.

    The instructions at may SEEM complicated, but they're not. The initial steps might be time-consuming, but after that, it's a BREEZE to keep the car looking like mine. I do NOT spend 24/7 keeping it like this. Not sure what color your car is, but the darker the better, although the Diamond White looks great too. Just ask automophile to send you the link to his pics. Maybe they're in his profile too.

    Anyway, rest assured, that in the long run, I think you made a good choice with the Solara.


    If you're retired and like to spend time hanging around the dealer while they TRY to fix minor and major problems, then by all means get the Sebring Sedan! They're probably the best deal out there right now with their gigantic rebates and deals, but unless you're keeping the car until it dies, their resale is for the birds!

    I'd say to stick with the Solara or the Honda. Their reliability is not even in the same category as the Sebring! Just my .02 cents.


  • I don't think you can compare the Solara to the Accord sedan. I tried to, and found out that the Solara is a much nicer car. As a matter of fact, I drove the Accord immediately after driving the Solara and there was no decision at that point. When comparing prices make sure you add on fog lights and a spoiler to the Honda. Because the Solara comes with fog lights and the spoiler is part of a package. Also, the Accord SE comes with the ugly black plastic "side sill" or whatever you call it along the bottom side of the car. CHEAP looking. I found that the Solara and Accord were comparbly priced, and as far as I know, you can't get a V6 SE. In order to compete with a Solara, you would have to get an EX Accord. The LX's and SE's are cheaper quality and noisier than the EX's, you can't put an LX or SE accord up against a Solara, the Solara will win. Have you driven all of these cars? That will make the decision for you. Maybe the noise and ride of the Accord won't bother you, but it bothered me.

    I won't put a bra on my car, because I think they're ugly. In response to the Zaino recommendation. I don't care what you polish a car with, Zaino will not make a Soalra look like a Jaguar paint job. I used to detail cars, professionally, and I have sold them for years. I do know cheap paint when I see it. I've seen Solaras shined up really nice, and I've seen Solaras polished with Zaino. Zaino makes the fair piant job on the Solara look as good as it's going to get. However, it's still shined up low quality paint. I'd rather have better, more durable paint, and use cheaper wax, wouldn't you? The paint on Solaras, and Accords for that matter, is on the lower end of the scale. If you want to see nice paint, go look at a Jaguar, Ferrari, Corvette, Mercedes, or BMW, then take a close look at a Solara. I know these cars are expensive, but they are excellent examples of nice paint jobs. I think it's great that you use Zaino, because it's top shelf stuff, but I don't think the Solara piant job warrants the use of such a high quality product. In short, the paint is cheap, soft, and thin for that matter. For such a high quality car they should step up a bit on the paint.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    I guess you can sum it up by saying - you get what you pay for?? Ever since they took the lead out of car paint, they haven't been as good. The Solara paint is probably no better or no worse than any other car in the same category/price range. I also have a 94 Toyota Corolla that sits outside 24/7 and goes to automatic car washes all the time in the winter. No problem with that paint at all. Very few chips on the hood and only a few on the bumpers from OTHER people.

    To each his own.

  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Thanks for your comments... what's this about the Accord SE being noisier than the EX? Unless Honda doesn't insulate their cars equally, this is strange.

    Although having a V6 is very nice, the current Toyota V6 doesn't impress me. I think I'd be very happy with the 4-cylinder. From what I've read here it's supposedly far better than its predecessor, and I've tried out the 2001 Solara with a 4-cylinder. I was impressed by the torque I got from it.

    It's alluring however, when you start comparing the two cars, and you can find so many more options in the Accord for just as much money.
  • Fastdriver,

    I agree with you completely. Paint on most of today's Japanese cars is not what it used to be. Toyota IS in line with the other Japanese car producers in regards to paint quality. However, would you agree with me that GM and Ford cars in the same price range have much thicker paint? I guess my real problem with Japanese cars today (and I don't mean to offend anybody who meticulously cares for their car's finish) is that how much of your time should be spent cleaning, polishing, and waxing your paint when every rock, pebble, or speck of dust that comes in contact with your car scratches the paint down to the primer? Does anybody here remember when you could rub out all but the worst scratches with some good polish? Does anybody else find these new finishes frustrating to maintain? I mean, I haven't resorted to Valium yet....


    I'm telling you, Honda doesn't insulate their cars equally for sound. Go drive an LX and an EX and see if they are the same. I know more than one Honda salesman that would state it. It really sucks, because I don't like a sunroof, so I would rather have an LX. Also, a fully loaded EX cost less than a fully loaded Solara. I think they are closer in price in their basic models, though. The new 2002 4 cyl. is good on gas and has decent power, better than last year's, try it you might like it. There is no contest in transmissions: Toyota makes a better tranny. They are smoother shifting and they last longer, don't believe me, ask your mechanic. All this being said (I know I talk to much) the EX Accord is a great car, second only to the Solara!!
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Thanks again... weird how Hondas would insulate their cars differently. I guess that would make it more complicated for the people assembling their cars.

    Toyota trannies are the best compared to Hondas. What about a Toyota engine? Is the 4-cylinder in the Solara as reliable as the Honda competitor?
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    Well, sorry to have to disagree with you again. While you only mention GM and Ford's paint, I'm not sure if you would include Chrysler here or not. Let me tell you, the paint on my 99 Chrysler 300M SUCKED! I had chips on the hood the FIRST week I had the car! It only got worse the 33 months that I had that car! The car was red, the chips were WHITE!! UGLY! I didn't have a bra for that car.

    So far, after 8 months and 10,400+ miles, on my 2001 Acura(Honda) CL-S, driving on the SAME roads/highways as the 300M, I have ONE chip at the very tip of the hood when something came flying on I-95 about a month ago and bounced off the hood and HIT the top of the car. I thought for sure from the sound of it, I would have a nice chip AND a dent on the roof! Not so. There is a slight dimple in the top, but with that Zaino shine, no one but me would even notice it. I only put the bra on the car if I'm going on a "long" trip on the highways. I think the Acura bra looks good. Fits nice and tight with no flapping.

    This is only my opinion. I'm not a car detailer. I know nothing about paint thickness. I don't know if foreign paint is thinner than American paint. All I know is my experience with these latest cars. There is someone at work who details/repairs/paints cars on the side. I'll ask him when I see him what he thinks. When he fixes a car, you could NEVER tell that it was ever fixed. He's a fanatic because he loves cars too.

    You really have me thinking about paint now. When I have time, I'll have to research this some more. Do foreign car companies use paint other than DuPont and PPG??

  • I have a 00 SLE. First problem just occurred. The automatic temperature control is not working properly. When I press the auto button, the fan used to come on initially at low speed, then progressively increase. Now, the fan speed that initially comes on is always the speed that was on when the system was turned off the last time. This speed does not change automatically at all at that point. Anyone else experience this problem?

    (Great car, but I love the 2002 taillights.)

  • Fastdriver, please note that I did not include Chrysler products in my statement, for many reasons. My comments on the low quality paint of Toyota and Honda in no way includes Lexus and Acura. Acura may be owned by Honda, but they are not the same product, nor is their paint the same quality. What would you say to me if said I had a Mercedes(Chrysler) and the paint is really nice on it? Also, I have no idea what kind of paint Honda or Toyota uses on their cars, I just know it's thin. Please ask your friend at work what he thinks, he may be able to help clarify some things.
  • Sound deadening materials cost money. There is less in a cheaper model than in a more expensive model of ANY car. This is one reason a Lexus ES300 is quieter than a Camry, why a Mercury is quieter than a Ford of the same basic model.

    Sound deadening is one of the first areas that the automakers cut back on with cheaper models. You can't take steel out of the body, but you can leave out the soft stuff. As fastdriver said "You get what you pay for", and automakers will do what they can to save pennies on a car.

    By the way, I have also been using the Zaino, and find that the polymer is so strong, that it seems to help the paint's durability while giving it an awsome shine. It sure keeps the bugs from sticking!
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273
    I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving and to take a moment to remember all of those affected by 9/11.

  • Spotted on Ebay! Very nice clean factory look that Toyota overlooked!

    What do you guys think?

  • pbcpbc Posts: 44
    Canc - When I was searching here in TO back in 1999, I found the cost of a fully loaded Accord V6 EX(?) to be only $1,000 less than the V6SLE? Now you say that the cost of a 4-CYL SE Solara is the same as the V6 fully loaded Accord? Wow.

    I remember also test driving the 4-CYL Accord and do recall being fairly impressed with the engine (for a 4 CYL it outperformed some 6's I've driven). Never drove the 4CYL Solara.

    I did find the Acord Coupe V6 was a sportier drive, but not as luxurious or quiet as the Solara. Both engines are almost identical on acceleration, HP, etc. At the end of the day it was a hard choice. I think a major factor was the 2.8% financing on the Solara vs the 8.9% on the Acord at the time which helped in the decision to buy the Solara!

    Can't go wrong either way. I didn't like the look of the 4-door Acord, but that is really a personal preference.

    It's a win-win situation.

    Although, I have to admit, today I'd have to take a long look at the 3.2 Type S 2 door Acura vs the SLE. I know it costs a bit more, but I like the look of the exterior and interior better than the Solara. But then I'd just be complaining even more about gas mileage b/c of the 260 HP!!!

    Paint - My next door neighbour has a black Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, and I have to say even his paint looks much nicer than mine side by side. Appears much smoother, less "swirls", not as dull. We both wash and wax with similar products (not ZAINO). I really think Toyota cheaped out considerably with the paint. Hambone, I even noticed a Lincoln LS on the road the other day, the paint looked excellent on that car as well.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    "We both wash and wax with similar products (not

    LOL........that's your mistake!! ;-)) J/K

  • canccanc Posts: 715
    "When I was searching here in TO back in 1999, I found the cost of a fully loaded Accord V6 EX(?) to be only $1,000 less than the V6SLE? Now you say that the cost of a 4-CYL SE Solara is the same as the V6 fully loaded Accord? Wow."

    Yeah, the SE costs $28,500 in Ontario, and the SLE is around $33,000. For $28,500, I could get an Accord SE with a V6. After what I've read on the Accord forums, however, this is another case of "you pay for what you get".
  • It's sounds like you really want an Accord. I almost bought one. When they are completely loaded, they are really nice. Does that price you got on the Honda include foglights and a spoiler? They would come on a fully loaded Solara, right? Oh, also keep in mind that an all-new Accord will be out within a year. I have read it will be released earlier than the typical September/October new models. The word is that it could come out as early as late spring. I wouldn't count on it, but I just thought I could help complicate your decision even further. I was ready to buy a Solara in the Summer and I am glad I waited for a 2002 because I got more horsepower, a more modern grill, headlights, and tailights, and also a power trunk release. Good luck, you really can't go wrong with either car.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    I went to a local Toyota dealership today and they had a 2002 red SLE V6 right there... I told the dealer I wanted an SE, but he still offered for me to sit in it to see how I could fit. I have to say that I did fit... and very well too. Wow this car is great. It really feels like you're getting in a Lexus or similar. Anyway, I have to say that the Accord has taken a backseat to the Solara. The latter has more distinctive styling, and seems to be better built, with better quality materials than the Accord. The Accord is less expensive, but I'd like to spend a bit more on this car to get what I want, since I'd like to keep it for a while.
  • ojcojc Posts: 31
    I had my Solara for 3 years and 32000 miles and rarely used premium. The times I did, my mileage was the same, 23-24 mpg, combined HWY/CITY in a SE-V6 5-speed. I am by no means a snail but not a flogger either. Nailing 4500+ rpm while passing/accelerating was a daily event. I was quite impressed with the mpg, AND the great (quiet) power, but unimpressed with the premium (91 oct) fuel as compared to reg (87 oct); there was no noticeable difference. Would the premium have saved an injector or piston job 60000-10000 miles from now? Maybe.

    At a cost of 18% more (our local Mobil is $1.12 reg and $1.32 prem), there was no increase in mileage by any degree, let alone going from 24 to 28 mpg. Certainly no increase in power from 197 HP to 223 HP (or from 167 to 197, if you will). By the way, that 18% increase in gas cost over 60,000 miles at 24 mpg would cost an extra $504, which could pay for an injector problem IF it occured and IF you had the car that long.

    My $0.02
  • I think Canc has finally seen the light!
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Thanks buddy... guess the "light" was "solarizing"!
  • I am looking for a 2002 SE 4 cyl. with ABS and side air bags. The dealer says it is nearly impossible to find with this configuration. I don't want to pay for 6 cyl. just to get what should be on any vehicle these days. Anyone with luck finding this combination? Thanks
  • Nope, I don't think you will find it. They pretty much come one way. I wanted a 6 cylinder without a roof. Nope, not happening, they're not building them. That really sucks, doesn't it? The side airbags are bogus, anyway. They're not the side-curtain ones that protect your head, they're real little ones that blow up near your hip. Also, anti-locks are highly overrated. If you don't believe me, next time your on ice press the pedal to the floor and see if you stop. All they do is send you flying front-end first into something. I hate them and don't want them. If you don't know how to stop a car in emergency situations, they are better to have. Race cars don't have them, do they? Anyway, the Accord EX 4 cyl. has both. Get the 6 cyl. Solara, it's REALLY quiet, smooth, and quick. You'll love it. Have you driven the six?
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    "Race cars don't have them, do they?"

    Probably not, but airplanes do...
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    I know we probably talked about this before, but the Honda people in their forums have been saying that Honda has gone down in quality recently. Would you say the same for Toyota? I'd say my current car, a 2001 Corolla, is a fine car, probably the best in its class, but that's just my opinion.
  • AnakinAnakin Posts: 410
    probably depends on who you ask.

    You have to remember that people often come to these forums to share problems, so naturally the ones having problems are going to complain about quality. So reading these forums will give you a sort of skewed perspective.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    I completely agree with you, but then again, there are very few problems posted on the Corolla, Camry, and even Solara board. If there are any problems, I consider them to be minor (such as rocking seats, or the flimsy plastic used for cupholders). I haven't heard of anyone that had a failed transmission or that the car blew up.

    Consumer Reports gives a very good rating to the Accord, and to the Camry, Solara and Corolla as well. I wonder if Consumer Reports is really the best source out there for an objective study of cars.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Hey guys (and girls),

    I went to a dealership in the city today, and happened to come across a beautiful 2000 Solara V6, with 30,000 kms. on it. The dealer told me it was an end of lease car that they just got a few days ago. The car seems to have been meticulously cared for, and they even added the wood accents package to it. It comes with a sunroof, fabric seats, alarm system, plus every other option standard on Solaras. It also has the diamond white pearl paint, which on quick inspection doesn't have any chips. The tires are not worn-out (they're Michelins btw), and the dealer is asking $23,900 CDN for it. I'm thinking I could make him an offer for $23,000 CDN. What do you think about all of this?

    I've been studying and drooling over Solaras for a long time now, but please let me know if something sounds fishy here, or if I should watch out for something. Many thanks in advance for all your help.
  • ejyejy Posts: 62
    I think that is reasonable. My Solara's trade in value is USD $13,630 and its a '99 with the same options as what you describe (except it is silverstream and has more miles)...

    Get a NADA (or equiv.) at your local bank and look the value up for your area.

    Good luck - these cars are like the energizer bunny, they keep going and going...

    '99 SE V6 5-Speed, 34k flawless miles and still like new.
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