2008 Toyota Solara

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2008 Toyota Solara Review


Big coupes with long, heavy doors seem to go in and out of style like yesterday's fashions. For a time it appeared as though the SUV would spell the end of the coupe, but the desire for smaller, more maneuverable vehicles, coupled with gasoline at three bucks a gallon, has given new life to the genre, and the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara is poised to capitalize. Big enough to comfortably fit four adults and delivering a level of fit and finish befitting a Lexus, the Solara is well suited to compete with its primary rivals, the new Honda Accord Coupe and Ford Mustang V6. The new Nissan Altima Coupe also plays in the league, although with a decidedly sportier attitude.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like big, two-door coupes, your options are limited. The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara has all the personal style coupe drivers want, with the added bonus of a huge backseat area and strong resale value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you like to operate a clutch, the Solara's V6 models do not offer a manual transmission. The Solara's futuristic styling stands in sharp contrast to the uniform lines found on the Ford Mustang and the new Honda Accord Coupe.

What's New for 2008

After an extensive overhaul last year, there are no new changes for 2008.

Driving the Solara
Driving Impressions

The 2008 Toyota Solara is a superb road car; its smooth ride is neither mushy nor devoid of road feel. You may find the steering to...

... be a bit heavy in the turns, but the overall feeling it transmits is one of precision and control with no notable play. Power for the Solara is provided by a robust 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine; rated at 155 horsepower, it's surprisingly quick for its size and actually quite responsive when teamed with the standard five-speed manual transmission. The really big news for the Solara is its excellent 3.3-liter V6 engine, which boasts 210 horsepower. V6-powered Solara's have a five-speed sequential automatic transmission that allows you the option of manually selecting gears.

GPS Navigation
The optional GPS navigation system fits neatly into the dash and is both easy to operate and view.

Supportive Sport Seats
The Sport model's seats provide an extra measure of support.

2008 Toyota Solara Details
2008 Toyota Solara photo Interior

You won't find a roomier rear seat in any of the Solara's rivals, nor will you find such a large and accommodating trunk. The front seats provide excellent support for the legs, thighs and lower back and are covered in your choice of handsome woven cloth or real leather. The Solara's instrument panel is also logically arranged, with clearly marked gauges and intuitive functions for the audio and ventilation controls. Sport models feature metered gauges in hooded binnacles atop the center stack.


Toyota designed the Solara with an arc-shape theme that runs from the front bumper, up over the hood and down to the rear bumper. Massive jeweled headlamp lenses flank a prominent V-shaped grille, and integrated fog lights are set into an aggressive front air dam. The Solara's side windows are narrow, set off by a wavy beltline flowing from the tip of the front fender all the way to the trunk.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Camry Solara SE features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), air conditioning, overhead console, rear defroster, illuminated remote keyless entry, fog lights, dual power mirrors, power driver's seat with power lumbar support, AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer, front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, cruise control, tire pressure monitor, alloy wheels, power windows and trip computer. The Sport trim adds xenon headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear underbody spoilers, a rear deck spoiler, rocker moldings and a sport-tuned suspension.

Optional Equipment

Options vary by trim and include a four-speed automatic transmission, heated leather seats, power seats, power glass moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, navigation and a JBL audio system.

Under the Hood

Less-aggressive drivers will find the Camry Solara's four-cylinder engine both quiet and fuel-efficient. Though not whiplash inducing, the acceleration provided by this engine is more than adequate for everyday driving, and the choice of a manual transmission may even bring out the enthusiast in you. The V6 turns the Solara into a real performer without sacrificing too much in the way of fuel economy.

2.4-liter in-line 4
155 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
158 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 (manual), 22/31 (automatic)

3.3-liter V6
210 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
220 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?