Let’s talk about affordable used cars that’ll still make you look good. The Toyota Solara Convertible, however, will only make you look good… in Florida. It’s not that it’s an ugly car, it’s just that Toyota lopped the top off—for the sake of lopping the top off. And that kind of logic works only in the Sunshine State, where you will definitely look like you’re ballin’…
The second-generation 2004–2008 Toyota Solara Convertible is based on the Toyota K-Platform, which underpins the similar vintage Camry. Naturally, it shares most of the FWD Camry’s mechanicals: 155hp 2.4L 4-pot/210hp 3.3L V6, 5-speed manual (4-cyl only)/5-speed automatic. The suspension and steering were “specially tuned to provide lively handling response”, but that’s just marketing-speak for “we modified them to compensate for all the heavy chassis reinforcements that we had to add when we chopped the top off”. As you might expect, the Toyota Solara Convertible was not a sporty car by any stretch of the imagination. But it is remarkably comfortable on both the highway, and craptastic city streets.
Boring mechanical stuff aside, the 2004–2008 Toyota Solara Convertible was a comfortable, competent cruiser (with the V6), for the sort of person who loves worshiping the sun while they drive. And their friends can join in on the religious experience, because the Solara has an honest-to-God backseat. Complete with actual legroom, a place to put your feet, and nifty hydration holders cut into the side armrests. Plus, all the seats are cushy enough to receive a 4-star roadtrip rating.
On the styling front, the 2004–2008 Toyota Solara Convertible is a rather bulbous thing, with big headlights and round backend (think Kim Kardashian… with wheels). The bodykit on the Toyota Solara Sport looks like a bed ruffle on a queen size mattress, and it comes with no sporty mechanical enhancements whatsoever. But all of that is relative to the beholder, because this car does present as ‘upscale’ when you see it in person. And since it is a Toyota, people will think you’re stylish and smart… which is the whole point of Ballin’ on a Budget.
Toyota officials say there is a possibility the model will return one day, but as of this writing the only way to get a Toyota Solara is on the used car market. As stated in the title of this piece, the Toyota Solara Convertible will not break the bank, in fact its down right cheap when you consider its underpinnings are from the stalwart Camry. I have seen some used Solara Convertibles online ranging from $5600-$7800 depending on mileage and condition.