I bought my '03 Solara from a private party. Within the ten months I had it, I put 34,000 miles on it. When I quit driving it, it has 237k miles! My car was my daily driver, about 80-100 miles a day from school/work to home. There was a major problem with the front end, and it would shake uncontrollably around 70mph, but I would just cruise at 80 to make the shaking go away. My heater was a LEMON, It took twenty minutes to warm up.
BIGGEST PROBLEM was, I had a had on collision with a full size pickup going 65mph. My car was totaled and I walked away with only bruises after spinning 5 times and etc. MY AIRBAGS DID NOT DEPLOY. I had a head on collision, I spun, hit things, my front of my car was demolished, yet my airbags DID NOT DEPLOY. Other than that, I actually was amazed at how it sustained the crash! My windshield and back glass shattered and came in the car, and my rearview mirror shattered and flew past me, and the panel that was on my ignition fell off. other than that, the interior looked as if I hadn't even been in a wreck, while the outside was pulverized. I had to put a quart of oil in it a week.
Personally, I would not buy one again because we had a lot of maintenance but it was used with high mileage, but if you want something SAFE for a teen or young driver, definitely get a Solara. Gas is amazing. I would be on EMPTY and only pay $25 and have full tank. I'm a very short girl (4'11) and I had virtually no blind spots.
Don't take me bad, I really like the car for both performance and exterior design. However, blind spot is really big problem, you should buy extra blind spot mirror. Don't trust advertised JBL sound system, I give a 6 on 10 scale. No trunk release inside the car, very inconvenient. Also, you can't read the sound system face plate when there is sunny because of the weird angle.
Just purchased with lots of miles. Car was a 1 owner with lots of TLC. Only complaints so far is the gas pedal sticks, and vibration in the steering wheel when applying the brakes. Overall very nice ride.