I purchase a 1999 Toyota Solara SE V6 5-speed. Although it was advertised as available I couldn't find one. So I wrote Toyota headquarters and they actually built one for me with the sunroof, bose system, lumbar seats and a dark gray interior color, (whereas the normal interior color is tan, to go with the dark blue exterior of that year). I loved that car and drove it from mile 3 to mile 297495, when an elderly lady ran into me and totaled it, December 18th, 2016. Some rescuers were confused when I said, "no my baby is gone". It took them a second to understand in my delusion and pain, that I was talking about my Solara. Reliability was phenomenal. Primarily timely oil changes every 3500 miles, didn't need a new clutch until I surpassed 235,000 miles. Other than brakes and other type wear items, it was virtually maintenance free. The interior was immaculate with little noticeable wear, the AC blew ice cold. When the woman hit me and spun me around like a top, the car slid, but never turned over. More than that, the engine was still turning with a chugging sound as if to say, "hey what happened buddy, let's get going". Those 17 years airbags and the pre-tensioner in the seat belt did their job. I'm alive to type this. I saw it days later at the tow yard, I could only cry, just cry. I had intended to beat the mileage record of my 1990 Honda, which was 307,000 miles. But we didn't get there. The worse thing I can't find a V6 5-speed Solara anywhere in the internet search. Even if I did, I would feel like a traitor because 'blueberry', that's what I called her, would be so mad at me, for even dating (I mean driving) another car. I miss her so much. :-(
I bought my 2000 Solara V6 SLE from a coworker about ten years ago with 118,000 miles on it. I now have a little over 400,000 miles and plan to keep driving it. I have changed the timing belt several times, the water pump and thermostat once (preventative maintenance), recently had the alternator rebuilt for the first time, changed the cam cover gaskets, and some suspension parts...CV joints, tie rods, and struts. The wheel bearings are original, never had to even turn the rotors, the AC still blows cold and has never had to be recharged, I had a partial change of automatic transmission fluid around 300,000 miles, use Penzoil 10W-30 and have never had any engine problems. I have changed the coolant several times and the radiator is still in good shape. I have changed the spark plugs about every 100,000 miles and they have always looked clean. The coils are original. The car uses about a quart of oil between 5,000-mile oil changes and I think some/most of that may be due to a worn cam or crank seal leak. I plan to change those seals during the next timing belt replacement. The check-engine light is on and probably due to a bad O2 sensor. The engine runs great and idles very smooth at 800 rpm. The body has a few dings here and there and the paint is beginning to deteriorate some on the plastic parts that get bugs...mirrors and front bumper. The paint on the metal parts still looks very good. The leather, the dash, instrument panel, headliner, carpet, etc. all look very good. I had to remove the driver side window motor once to lubricate the bearings. The volume knob on the CD player doesn't work quite right and the light that illuminates the gear position is burned out for "D" which I take as a testimony to how long the car has been in "Drive". The car gets 25mpg so it's had about 16,000 gallons of gasoline through it and the fuel filter is original....crazy. I attribute the condition and reliability of the car to Toyota quality but it's critical to always change the oil and air filter if one expects to take full advantage of the workmanship. I run the oil for 5,000 miles and the air filter for about 20,000 miles. It's also critical to change the timing belt every 100,000 miles. I also change the plugs when I change the timing belt. I have seen some people have had radiators to fail. Be sure and use antifreeze rated for Toyota radiators. I have also seen some reviewers who had to replace the starter. Mine is still going strong . 500,000?
STOP. Stop what you are doing, whether that be looking for a car, or changing your daughters soiled undergarments. THIS car is unstoppable in so many ways.
I rarely write reviews, but this car has come back from the grave and then some for many for so many years, I need to share the story with potential buyers. The year was 2003, my father wanted to buy a car that would last him for a couple years, while feeling a bit "sporty". I came home one day from school, to see a freshly waxed pearl forest green Solara SLE in our driveway. Over the next 4 years, my father drove the car daily (approximately 20miles) in harsh MI weather (for those of you that have not ventured into MI, look it up....intense cold, super humid swamp like summers...good times). Through these 4 years, the ONLY thing he had to do was oil changes, brakes, and tires. THATS. IT. Fastfoward to 2008, when I told my family and friends I was moving to California. I needed a car, and thankfully (and now I am celebrating it), I was able to "buy" the car off of my dad for a reasonable price. I had it shipped because at the time I thought putting miles on this car would be detrimental (laughing loudly as I type that). I moved to San Diego, and in 2009, I was car jacked. My green rocket ship, taken. After calming down, talking to the police, I called my insurance agency. My agent told me "THAT CAR IS PROBABLY IN TIJUANA NOW AS A PARTS CAR". Gee, thanks.... 2 weeks went with no word, and one night at 11:58pm, I got a call from an officer: "Mr Chase, we think we have your car...it's a the Casino in the parking lot". I couldn't make it out to the desert that night, so I had to go pick it up in the AM. When I pulled up to the police station, it was in the very back. Expecting a dilapidated carcass, I slowly peaked my head around the corner. To my surprise, the car was in the same condition I left it, minus the door lock (he had the keys so must have been tweeking when he took it), and he stole my ash tray. In 2010, I drove it to an offroad meet up of a friends. What I didn't realize, I had to drive off road in the desert to get to the his house! It handled fine, and as I drove it on the soft sand, baja trucks passing me gave me thumbs up. Fastforward to today: I moved up to the Bay area (San Francisco), to start a new job, and drove it the entire 10 hours with no problems. Of the time I have owned it, I have had: timing belt changed, tires, oil, shocks, and brakes. I painted (in a car booth) the hood and roof from sun damage, and touch up the silver on the grille once and a while. THATS IT. IT has been across the states, stolen, offroaded, use it to carry surf boards, and I've even towed a 1961 Buick Nailhead (motor for my other car) behind with NO PROBLEMS. 201,000 miles and riding like a dream! BEST CAR EVER.