The most important thing to me is even for a 10 plus year old car they look good, drive great n are the most reliable car especially for a convt you'll find. If you look closely n do u homework most cars over 6 yrs old start to show there serious drawbacks especially BMW's n MB. ( Sorry guys beautiful cars when new but expensive to maintain old, thats why they are so affordable) They Solara convt doesn't have this but warning they did have a faulty dashboard which they replaced on many cars. Though i just bought this n it runs like its new n not one ding on it n interior looks new. I had a 2001 for 3 yrs n it was great but this car is so much nicer n more power. I am thrilled n i have had many convt.
Allow me to start by saying that I'm not a Toyota person. The idea of a Corolla doesn't appeal to me whatsoever- but my dad (as most dads would feel) thought a Corolla would be a perfect car for me as a newbie driver. I 'lucked out' when a family member sold us their car and ended up with a little Mazda 3 that turned out to be a lemon, then my second car- a 4000lb land yatcht- a 2008 V6 Convertible Sebring that I put a lot of love into and learned how to park backwards due to it's 19' length. 5 years later (without any crashes or tickets) I can say I've gained some perspective for wanting to purchase a reliable car. Still, the matter remained that I wanted a car I could have FUN in. I don't want a cage- I want an experience, something with a little luxury- after all, I have to drive it to work and school through traffic- might as well enjoy it. Well I have to say, for a limited budget this car certainly fits the bill :) so I ended up trading my old land yacht in for a 2006 Toyota Solara Convertible SLE. If I had to compare it to other cars in the way it drives, I would say it's a combination of my dad's little black convertible CLK 320 and a larger sedan. It's no rocket, so don't expect pep- but it's as smooth as butter when it drives and offers a modest amount of acceleration in traffic. The first time I smashed the gas pedal I actually heard the V6 roar! The interior isn't particularly stunning- after all it's a 2006 model. Still, it offers a nice array of creature comforts, heated front seats, loudly annoying back-up sensors, auto-climate control (that's ICE cold), auto-light shut off (in case you leave your headlights on), DRL, auto-adjusting rear-view mirrors, etc. But it lacks a proper stereo-system, and there really are no modern substitutes except for the auxillary port work-around that has to be installed with some technical know-how (thank you dad). The biggest flaw in this car (imo) is the terrible blind-spots it has. Unless you're used to driving a convertible where the back window is often small and round, then prepare to adjust your driving style accordingly. I got used to it after a couple of days and now use my side-mirrors to navigate (along with those corner blind-spot mirrors). For some reason the designers brilliantly decided to put a raised bench seat in the back of the car and the headrests (along with any guests' heads) will ensure that you have 0 visibility when checking your back. It can be terrifying if you're not an attentive driver and try to make a lane change without triple checking your side mirrors and making a quick head-turn. But aside from that I really have no qualms with how it drives. My dad (who had driven this car for a while before trading it with me) noticed it had a bit of hesitance when it accelerated. When you hit the gas pedal, it was 1..2..*accelerates* Well he did some research and after cleaning the mass air-flow sensor, and the throttle body we both agreed it accelerates incredibly well now. It's very responsive!! I have to be careful because I don't even notice how fast I'm going- it drives so smoothly and accelerates so quickly. It's a far-cry from the clunky-chunky toss around the Sebring is. I'm so pleased with this car :) it's at 125,000 and since the previous owner was a meticulous guy he had already replaced the timing belt, water pump, convertible top, and got the recall on the dash which is now a new leather dash. He's definitely a keeper, and I feel very confident and safe driving this car. Not to mention the top is mechanic so there's NO noise and fuss when it goes down! <3 How great is that?? Much better than the expensive hydraulic top the Sebring has (which popped like an old man getting out of bed). One other issue (that has since been taken care of) was that these models' tops have been known to leak over time due to the piping in the trunk breaking that serves as a gutter for water to run off the top when it rains. My dad spent $200 getting the top sewn up by a upholsterer. He took it to the shop with the back bench removed and the guy went in there and fixed it all up. So I would strongly suggest that before you buy one of these cars (especially if it's over 100,000) make sure it was very well taken care of! That the dash was replaced, and that the timing belt and water-pump were already replaced thus sparing you the extra headache down the line. Prepare to possibly repair that top though as it's a design flaw of the Solara in whole. Expect to spend $500-$1000 fixing it up in general on top of the sticker price because of it's age, including adding to the sound system and making it modern-day functional. Also tinting is a MUST- the leather is prone to cracking and the leather on the door-panels is prone to warping.
2006 Toyota Camry Solara SLE V6 2dr Coupe (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
I was in the market for a used car that was not too big, too small, not a real expensive "luxury" model nor a real basic model with no frills. I knew I wanted leather interior, a power drivers seat, good acceleration,comfort, quiet interior and VG seat comfort so the search went on for about two months reading reviews and test driving used cars. A 2010 Lincoln MKZ caught my attention but I found that the seat was not as comfortable as I wanted and the three Ford service centers in my area stunk when it came to appointments and their attitude towards their customers. I then test drove a 2004 Solara SLE and I knew I had found the right car so the search began for the right Solara for me. I ended up driving 149 miles to a Toyota dealer in Georgia to look at a 2006 Solara SLE V6. Based on the CarFax and Autocheck reports and the overall condition of the vehicle, it seemed to have been pretty well maintained so I bought it and drove it home. (newer timing belt and water pump) I had my local Toyota dealer go over the car and it needed spark plugs and a battery. The $498 for spark plugs (mostly labor) was a shock but the irridium plugs do last for a very long time and I only put about 5,000 a year on a car so those are likely the last plugs to go in for me. The transmission felt sort of odd in the way it sometimes shifted when I coasted to a slow speed then reapplied pressure to the gas pedal so I mentioned that to the dealer and they cleared and updated the computer module to learn my driving habit and that did make a difference. The new plugs did improve the feeling of acceleration and I've been using 89 octane for the last two months then I plan on going to 87 soon to see if I feel a difference in performance. The car is comfortable, quiet inside, everything does what it's supposed to do and the styling is timeless IMHO. Driving around town is pleasurable but this vehicle really shines on the highway at higher speeds with enough reserve power to pass other vehicles that are already doing 70MPH even with the A/C on. Thank goodness I felt the 3.3 engine was mandatory for me. On a smooth road surface the car rides on a cloud and when there's a bump or rough road surface the "sport suspension" shows up but the bumps are cushioned. So if you want a big old luxury car ride or a real sports car ride this car may not be for you as it's a combination of both. There is some "road feel" through the steering wheel but not like a real sports model but overall this is a very nice vehicle and I'm not sorry that I bought it. Just be aware of the older Toyota "dashboard" problem with cracking or feeling sticky and the pulling the left on some model years that I've read about on-line. If the car pulls to the left don't rely on a wheel alignment to cure it. Find another Solara that doesn't pull to the left or that has a dashboard in better condition.