2008 Toyota Camry Solara Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Toyota Camry Solara Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Camry Solara Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 210 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara

  • Compared to newer, sportier coupes, the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara is beginning to show its age; however, the competitively priced Solara convertible remains a good value for buyers who'd rather have a roomy backseat than a retractable hardtop.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Attractive cabin design with high-quality materials, spacious backseat, smooth and composed ride, tight build quality.

  • Cons

    Convertible's tonneau cover must be manually installed, sleepy reflexes through the corners, automatic transmission's sluggish response.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara coupe and convertible are unchanged.

Full 2008 Toyota Camry Solara Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara coupe and convertible are unchanged.


Usually, the two-door variants within a model line are flashier and sportier than their four-door counterparts. This was true of the Toyota Camry Solara coupe and convertible right after they were redesigned back in 2004. Since then, though, they've been upstaged by the Camry sedan, which grew more powerful in last year's overhaul. The injustice continues into 2008, as the Solara siblings stand pat while winds of change swirl around them. Rival import-brand manufacturers have launched better-performing, edgier-looking coupes, and relatively affordable hardtop convertibles are crowding into soft-top Solara price territory.

The Solara's diminishing appeal is due at least in part to its exterior styling, which although curvy and sophisticated, has never come across as trendy or youthful. This is particularly true when you look at the car from the back, as the rear deck appears to droop on both the coupe and the convertible. Another issue is the car's lack of verve once you're behind the wheel. The Solara coupe is fairly quick when equipped with the V6, but in the heavier convertible the engine's modest low-end torque and the transmission's slow responses noticeably detract from performance. And although handling is stable and predictable, the Camry Solara is not the sort of car you'll revel in driving briskly, given its soft suspension and minimal steering feedback.

That said, consumers less concerned about style or performance will undoubtedly see other merits to the Solara, particularly the convertible. Interior fit and finish is best-in-class, and the mix of metallic and satin finishes interspersed with high-quality plastics provides a distinctive, upscale appearance. Plus, the rear seat is quite spacious, making this one of the few four-seat convertibles (and coupes) that can comfortably accommodate a pair of adults in back. Compared to recently introduced hardtop entries like the Chrysler Sebring and Pontiac G6, the Solara convertible is better built and more refined overall. Convertibles like the Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder and Volkswagen Eos offer more in the way of personality, but none are as family-friendly as Toyota's drop top, and the VW gets fairly expensive when fully equipped.

Due to its high level of refinement and strong reputation for quality and reliability, the convertible remains a good choice. The case for the coupe version of the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara is less clear-cut, however. In addition to the usual alternatives like the Mustang and Eclipse, the new Nissan Altima coupe and redesigned Honda Accord coupe have raised the game among front-wheel-drive, midsize coupes. Not only are they as roomy and practical as the Solara, they're entertaining to drive and stylish to boot.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara is available as a midsize coupe or convertible. The Solara coupe seats five, while the convertible seats four and has a power-operated cloth top. Both coupe and convertible are offered in SE, Sport and SLE trim levels. Buyers have a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power on each trim of the coupe, but the V6 is standard on all convertibles.

The base SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control and a six-speaker stereo with an in-dash CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. The Sport version adds firmer suspension tuning, 17-inch wheels, an exterior body kit, xenon HID headlights, a charcoal interior color scheme with additional metallic trim, unique gauges and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The high-line SLE drops the Sport's extra body cladding and reverts to the SE's softer suspension settings, while adding a moonroof (coupe only), automatic climate control, wood-grain interior trim, a power driver seat, an upgraded JBL audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. SLE V6 models come with leather upholstery and heated front seats.

Xenon headlights are optional on the SLE, and many of this model's desirable features can be purchased as options on lower-line Solaras. The SLE alone is eligible for a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine for the Toyota Camry Solara coupe is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 157 horsepower and 158 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, either of which drives the front wheels. Optional on Solara coupes and standard on convertibles is a 3.3-liter V6 rated for 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard with the V6. The EPA rates four-cylinder coupes at 21-22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Upgrade to the V6 and you're looking at an 18/27 rating in the coupe and 18/26 in the convertible.


All 2008 Toyota Camry Solaras come standard with front-seat side airbags, a tire-pressure monitor and antilock disc brakes. Full-length side curtain airbags are standard on coupes. Stability and traction control are optional on all V6 models.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Solara earned a perfect five stars for its protection in frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it the top rating of "Good" for its performance in the frontal-offset crash test. In IIHS side-impact testing, the Solara rated "Acceptable" (second from the top). Notably, the IIHS used a Solara convertible rather than a coupe in both crash tests, so the car did not have the benefit of side curtain airbags in the side-impact test.

Interior Design and Special Features

All versions of the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara feature an upscale interior design with bright metallic accents and exceptional build and materials quality. Sport models get sharp-looking graphite accents, while top-of-the-line SLE versions add rich-looking wood-grain trim. The front seats offer plenty of room for even the tallest drivers, and while you wouldn't necessarily want to put four adults in the car for a road trip, the rear seats are plenty roomy for an afternoon drive. Once you undo the latches, the Solara convertible's power cloth top raises and lowers in just 10 seconds. This is quick but doesn't include the amount of time you'll spend getting out of the car and attaching the fussy vinyl tonneau cover. When not in use, the cover takes up space in the convertible's 11.7-cubic-foot trunk. The Camry Solara coupe has a 13.8-cubic-foot hold as well as a split-folding rear seat.

Driving Impressions

Both engines are smooth and refined, but acceleration is nothing special, even with the V6. The coupe, at least, feels reasonably spirited in six-cylinder form, but the engine's lack of low-end torque is readily apparent in the heavier convertible. The five-speed automatic doesn't help in this regard, as it tends to be indecisive and downshifts can be delayed and harsh. On the positive side, the Camry Solara delivers a composed ride that's still quite comfortable. The convertible is tuned more softly, but its relatively stiff structure is mostly free of cowl shake (a problem endemic to cars without a fixed roof). The added stiffness of the Sport model provides a higher level of control around turns, but overall the 2008 Toyota Solara prioritizes ride comfort well above sporting pursuits.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

In love

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SLE V6 2dr Coupe (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

I love this car. It's quiet,responsive and fun to drive. Only a few things I would change. The angle of the clock etc, I wish it were slightly angled toward the driver,it's flat across the front and hard to see when driving, and the snap for the buckle is too deep by the seat,a struggle to snap the seat buckle into it, it should be a few inches longer. That's it, again, I love my car.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

08 solara se 4 hardtop

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SE 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

I bought this car for a great price towards the end of February. It's not the top of the line model but it has the moonroof, 6 disc, and the alarm system. Yes, there is some tranny lag and no, I haven't yet taken it in for the re-flash as I don't think that it will affect it much anyway. I've found that the slow shifts do not occur when the shifter is in manual shift mode & I'm having a blast shifting in manual through town and when merging. Gas MPG has improved @30 MPG combined with 4200 miles which is very acceptable being that my 05 XB gets 33 mpg. The Solara rides very smooth, the front strut tie bar keeps the front end flat and the trunk is huge. Headlights are great & cd display dim.

Auto trans lags badly

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SE 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

The auto trans is very very slow to downshift, in fact, there is at least a 2-3 second lag when you push the accelerator, to the power getting to the wheels. The motors revs then trans engages. Dealer loaded the new ECM software, but it made little if any difference. Dealer said he did all he could and the trans is considered fixed and normal by Toyota. Sure shocks me if Toyota engineers consider this normal. If you get one, be careful when pulling into traffic or when quick acceleration is necessary. The trans will scare you. I won't keep this Toyota for 150K miles as I did with the car I sold to get this 08. Very disappointing.

Somewhat disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SE 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Disappointed that the new engine and trans needs a TSB update (0068-08) to fix poor shifting and acceleration. Disappointed that the radio display is very weak/dim and unviewable with sunglasses. Disappointed that the brakes grab and are noisy. Disappointed with rattles and squeaks that have already cropped up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SE 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Awesome purchase for the money. Lots of features for cheap. Alloys, fog lights, power everything, ABS, moonroof, steering wheel audio controls. Avg. 31 mpg in mixed driving so far. I'm 6'3" and have plenty of room. Can fit in backseat no problem. Very sufficeint power with the 4 cyl.

Love my solara

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Camry Solara SLE V6 2dr Coupe (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

I purchased the 2008 SLE V-6 just last week. I love it! After having a 4-Runner for 11 years, I knew buying another Toyota would be the right move. I never dreamed it would be such an awesome car to drive. The ride is very smooth and stable. The safety features make me feel as safe as when I drove my SUV. The pick-up it has is great, and the ride is just as comfortable on the highway as in the city. The trunk is huge. I love having a sporty car that is not "tiny". Good job again, Toyota

Talk About The 2008 Camry Solara

2008 Toyota Camry Solara Discussions See all Started By

I notice the 08 Camry Solara is out. Anyone knows when the 08 Camry will be out....

My grandmother is buying a 2008 Camry Solara and was considering buying the windscreen for her car but the dealership is charging her about 500 dollars to install it. They were wondering if it is easy...

I've just bought a 2008 Camry LE demo model with 8000km (~5000 miles) had it for a week and noticed the same thing; at first I thought it was the road surface since it happened to me twice on the sam?...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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