1999 Toyota Camry Solara Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bob Storck Bob Storck Editor
October 12, 1998

MONTEREY, Calif. — For more than a decade now, Toyota has provided the Camry as an answer to most people’s day-to-day needs. Now the Camry Solara coupe arrives as the company's solution for those who don’t need the back seat but seek personal freedom in comfort. Its expressive styling is sporty with a touch of elegance. Fun-to-drive power and performance is complemented by luxury, comfort and convenience.

The re-emergence of upscale coupes on the market is a good indicator that car designers believe many parents are going to be tired of that van or sport-utility when the kids are gone. Coupes like Solara will allow folks the freedom, fun and style that they may have forsaken during their child-rearing and career-developing years.

Solara is aimed at buyers who are nostalgic for the sports cars of their youth but want more room and comfort. It benefits from the highest level of American influence of any Toyota vehicle, given the fact it takes full advantage of Toyota's North American engineering, styling and manufacturing facilities.

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North American coupe

Solara was engineered by Toyota jointly in Japan and at the company's Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was styled at Toyota's CALTY Design Center in Newport Beach, Calif., and is built at Toyota's plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Now Toyota’s West Virginia plant will make 360,000 automatic transmissions per year for North American-built Camrys. The transmission has been the final high-dollar component still imported for Toyota's No.1 selling car. TMMWV will begin producing four-cylinder engines this fall. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to add V-6 engine production. Toyota was the last of the major Japanese automakers to move engine and transmission production to this continent.

Solara is powered by either an inline-four or V-6 engine mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed electronically controlled transmission. The V-6 delivers good fuel economy, with an estimated EPA city/highway mileage of 21/28 with the manual. This follows the welcome trend back to manual transmissions for sporty vehicles.

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