Most reviewers found that the four-cylinder powerplant is no match for the weight of the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara and complain that the V-6 is saddled with a sluggish automatic transmission.
According to Edmunds, the "standard engine for the Toyota Camry Solara coupe is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 157 horsepower and 158 pound-feet of torque." Kelley Blue Book calls the engine "robust" and says "it's surprisingly quick for its size." They point out, however, the "really big news for the Solara is its excellent 3.3-liter V6 engine, which boasts 210 horsepower;" Edmunds reports that powerplant, which produces "220 lb-ft of torque," is "optional on Solara coupes and standard on convertibles." They also note that the four-cylinder engine "can be paired with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, either of which drives the front wheels," while a "five-speed automatic is standard with the V6."
While the V-6 accelerates briskly, Edmunds finds it hobbled by the automatic's "sluggish response," explaining that the coupe is "fairly quick when equipped with the V6, but in the heavier convertible the engine's modest low-end torque and the transmission's slow responses noticeably detract from performance." Four-cylinder Toyota Camry Solara coupes paired with the automatic fare worse. ConsumerGuide says they "have leisurely takeoffs and just-adequate passing and merging power." For some, this may be sufficient, and the four-cylinder powerplant does have some advantage, as Kelley Blue Book points out: "Less-aggressive drivers will find the Camry Solara's four-cylinder engine both quiet and fuel-efficient." Because the writing was on the wall at Toyota, 2008 Solara coupes and convertibles didn't benefit from the Camry sedan's 2007 engine and transmission updates. However, the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara's automatic "has seamless acceleration with no jerkiness or delay in changing gear," according to The Auto Channel. One bright spot is that both engines use regular-grade gas. That's reassuring, considering ConsumerGuide averaged just 20.7 mpg over 6,755 miles in their test V-6 Solara convertible; in a Sport V-6 coupe, they "averaged 19.7 mpg including gas-eating performance tests."
According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2008 Toyota Camry Solara coupe with the four-cylinder and manual achieves 21/31 mpg; with the four-cylinder and automatic, 22/31 mpg; and with the V-6 and auto, 18/27 mpg. The 2008 Toyota Camry Solara convertible achieves 18/26 mpg.
In reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, the Toyota Camry Solara's suspension is found to be either too soft or too harsh. Sport models have firmer shocks, which ConsumerGuide says "adds to impact harshness"; as for the convertible, "Top up or down, the convertible exhibits pronounced body quake over uneven surfaces." The Auto Channel finds "Ruts and potholes jar the suspension." Non-Sport models, according to Edmunds, have stable and predictable handling, but "the Camry Solara is not the sort of car you'll revel in driving briskly, given its soft suspension and minimal steering feedback." ConsumerGuide mentions that both the coupe and convertible exhibit "light, numb steering." Edmunds sums it up well: "Overall, the 2008 Toyota [Camry] Solara prioritizes ride comfort well above sporting pursuits."
The 2008 Toyota Solara's braking performance is good all around. The Auto Channel writes, "The brakes are immediate, progressive and fade-free."