Full 2007 Toyota Camry Solara Review
What's New for 2007
Although the Toyota Camry sedan is all-new this year, the 2007 Toyota Camry Solara remains largely unchanged mechanically. However, there are a few notable changes. The front and rear of the car have been restyled and LED taillamps and optional HID xenon headlights have been added. Inside, the car gets a new MP3 CD and satellite radio-capable stereo plus the expected auxiliary jack for connecting hand-held digital music players. Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity is new for 2007, as is voice activation for the optional navigation system. More safety features are also standard equipment this year, including a tire-pressure monitor, front side airbags and, for the coupe, side-curtain airbags. Engine power ratings have been revised due to new testing procedures, but actual performance is unaffected. Finally, the Solara Sport trim (previously called the SE Sport) gets an exclusive wheel design and is newly available on the convertible body style.
Introduced a number of years ago as more sophisticated and presumably sportier sisters to the Toyota Camry sedan, the Toyota Camry Solara coupe and convertible have quietly enjoyed similar reputations -- reliable, well built and pleasantly if not excitingly styled. For most family sedans, such qualities would be considered desirable, if not optimal, but when it comes to coupes and convertibles, you would hope that fun would figure in as well.
In actuality, the Camry Solara has never offered much in terms of excitement, but that hasn't prevented it from being a popular choice for a midsize two-door. The Solara's interior fit and finish is easily best in class. A mix of metallic and satin finishes interspersed with high-quality plastics gives these Toyota cars a distinctive, upscale appearance. Rear-seat room is generous and safety ratings and equipment are impressive.
If you're looking for a sporty coupe or convertible, the Solara isn't going to be your best choice. Something like a Ford Mustang or Mitsubishi Eclipse will be a much better fit. Alternately, you might want to check out Pontiac's G6 convertible; it features a retractable hardtop design. But if you value overall quality, value and comfort, there are few choices that put it all together as well as the 2007 Toyota Camry Solara.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Toyota Camry Solara is available as a midsize coupe or convertible. Both coupe and convertible are offered in SE, Sport and SLE trim levels. The base SE is well-equipped with 16-inch wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and a six-disc CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Convertibles also have a power-operated top. The Sport version adds a firmer suspension, 17-inch wheels, an exterior body kit, xenon HID headlights, graphite-style interior trim, a unique gauge cluster and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The top-of-the-line SLE adds automatic climate control, wood-grain trim, a power-adjustable driver seat, a moonroof (coupe only), a JBL premium audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and, on V6 models, leather seating. The SLE is also eligible for a navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard Camry Solara coupe engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 157 horsepower and 158 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Optional on coupes and standard on convertibles is a 3.3-liter V6 rated for 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. No manual transmission is available with this engine, but the automatic is a five-speed unit with a manual-shift gate for those who like to pick their own gears. The EPA mileage estimate for all V6 models is 21 city/29 highway. Four-cylinder versions with an automatic are estimated to get a commendable 25 city/34 highway -- opt for a manual transmission and the estimate goes down 1 mile per gallon for city driving.
All Solara models come standard with front and side-impact airbags, a tire-pressure monitor and antilock disc brakes. Full-length side curtain airbags are standard on coupes as well. A combined stability and traction control system is optional on SLE V6 models. NHTSA crash testing returned a perfect five-star rating across the board.
Interior Design and Special Features
All trim levels feature an upscale interior design with bright metallic accents and exceptional build quality. Sport models get sharp-looking graphite accents, while top-line SLE versions add premium wood trim. The front seats offer plenty of room for even the tallest drivers, but the rear seats are still better left for short trips. Buyers should note that coupes can seat three passengers in back, while the Camry Solara convertible can accommodate just two. The Solara convertible's standard power top raises and lowers in just 10 seconds and stows neatly under a tonneau cover that matches the color of the interior.
The 2007 Toyota Camry Solara's suspension tuning delivers a well-controlled ride that's still quite comfortable. The added stiffness of the Sport model gives it enough capability in the turns to have some fun while still maintaining the civilized ride quality of the other models. Power from the V6 is smoother than ever, but enthusiast drivers will be left wishing for a manual gearbox.