2001 Camry Solara New Car Test Drive
Toyota's Camry has become synonymous with solid, dependable transportation. Add gas, oil every now and then, and drive for the next decade, without worrying about a thing. Such steadfastness has made Camry America's best-selling car for two consecutive years. However, there's nothing particularly sexy about reliability, until now.
The Solara retains the Camry's smooth, quiet performance and appliance-style function, while serving up two-door swoopy coupe styling and a sporty edge. What's more, Toyota offers Solara with something that's hard to find in a mid-priced coupe: an optional manual transmission available with the optional V6 engine.
The Solara debuted for the 1999 model year, and little has changed for 2000. Underneath its exterior sheetmetal rest the basic mechanical underpinnings of a Camry, with some tweaking here and there. In an era when the coupe seems to be a vanishing breed, Toyota thinks it's found a niche with the stylish Solara.
The Solara come in three variants: an SE version with a base-level 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine; an SE version with a 3.0-liter V6, and the top-of-the-line SLE, featuring the V6, plus standard luxury appointments (most of which are optional on the SE V6) such as a premium JBL sound system, eight-way power adjustable seats, remote keyless entry, heated side-view mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The base transmission with both engines is a five-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic is optional.