Used 2001 Toyota Camry Solara Convertible Review
A Camry with two fewer doors and possibly a foldable roof. There are worse things to drive.
With its own sheetmetal and a tighter suspension, the Solara is more than just a two-door Camry. Yes, it's based on the Camry platform and uses the same engine and basic components, but almost every aspect of this sporty-looking car has been, uh, Solara-ized to inject it with personality.
Available in two trim levels, SE or SLE, and in your choice of coupe or convertible formats, Solara looks like a promising package. Under the hood you will find either a 2.2-liter, 135-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter, 200-horsepower V6. Both motors can be had in the SE model, but the premium-grade SLE comes only with the V6 and an automatic transmission. For buyers looking to get the maximum "sport" out of the Solara, the SE V6 with a five-speed manual is your best bet. Note that the Honda Accord Coupe V6 does not offer a manual transmission, or a convertible top, for that matter. Yessireebob, Toyota does give the consumer a wide variety of choice.
For handling duty, Toyota takes the Camry's basic suspension and makes it stiffer by increasing the damping rates and adding a brace that joins the front strut towers together. It also reinforces the transom between the trunk and the passenger compartment and stiffens the front and rear suspension mounts for improved overall body rigidity. The Solara also features a steering system that is more sport-oriented than the Camry's. However, the Solara is still geared for comfort. If you're looking for true handling excellence, check out the Celica.
The interior is quiet and full of high-quality switchgear laid out in a logical manner. Cloth upholstery is standard, with leather available on SLE models. The pricey convertible features a power folding top, automatic-down power rear-quarter windows and a glass backlight with defogger.
Safety is high on Toyota's list of priorities when it comes to the Solara, but the stuff that matters is optional. Base SE models don't come with standard ABS. Optional side airbags can be ordered on any model. If you purchase an SLE model, traction control can be checked on the options sheet.
For 2001, Solara is largely unchanged. Top-level SLE models can be equipped with a new JBL audio system, so long as you opt for the leather package. The anti-theft and engine immobilizer system is restricted to SLEs, while SEs now come standard with a six-speaker cassette stereo. Twilight Blue Pearl paint is replaced by a new shade called Indigo Ink.Ultimately, the Solara is a two-door Camry with more aggressive styling and minor suspension differences. Style takes precedence over utility. This makes it a fine choice for those looking for Camry's spaciousness and reliability but who seek a little something whimsical.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.