You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2000 Toyota Camry Solara REVIEW logo 4/6/2017

Con: Expensive, Camry name doesn't inspire visions of excitement, no manual offered with SLE trim.

Pro: Roomy cabin, convertible version, reliable Camry genes, delectable V6.

Edmunds Say: A Camry with two fewer doors and possibly a foldable roof. There are worse things to drive.

What’s New: Solara four-cylinder models will achieve ultralow emission vehicle (ULEV) status. A convertible version is now offered for topless fun. SLE models get a JBL premium audio system as standard equipment, and an in-dash six-disc CD changer is optional. Two new exterior colors are offered.

Review: With its own sheetmetal, optional V6 power, and a tighter suspension, the Solara is more than just a two-door Camry. OK, so it's based on the Camry platform and uses the same engine and suspension components, but almost every aspect of this sporty looking car has been, how can we say...Solara-ized to give it more fun and less ho-hum.

Available in two basic trim levels, the SE or SLE, in both coupe and convertible formats. Toyota's Solara comes with either a 2.2-liter 135-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter 200-horsepower V6. Either motor can be had in the SE model, but the premium-grade SLE comes only with the V6 and automatic transmission. For buyers looking to get the maximum "sport" out of this sport coupe, the V6 and a five-speed manual can be had in the SE model. This V6/manual combination is particularly noteworthy since the Accord Coupe V6 does not offer a manual transmission.

For handling duty, Toyota took the Camry's basic suspension and made it stiffer by increasing the damping rates and adding a brace that joins the front strut towers together. It also reinforced the transom between the trunk and the passenger compartment and stiffened 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 new 2000 Celica.

The interior is typically Toyota, which is to say quiet and full of high-quality switchgear. The Solara generally contains more standard equipment than the Camry, such as tilt steering wheel, cruise control, a rear spoiler and fog lamps. The convertible version features a power folding top, automatic-down power rear-quarter windows and a glass backlight.

Safety is always high on Toyota's list of priorities, and the Solara's standard features reflect this philosophy. Included among them are driver and front-passenger airbags, driver and front-passenger seatbelt pre-tensioners, and antilock brakes (optional on four-cylinder models, standard with the V6). Optional side airbags can also be ordered. If you purchase an SLE model, traction control can be checked on the order sheet.

Ultimately, the Solara is a Camry with more aggressive styling and minor suspension differences, at the expense of Camry's two functional rear doors. This will be a fine choice for those looking for Camry's safety and reliability but seek a little something extra to whet their sass quotient.


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon