The Toyota Camry Solara, also more commonly known as the Toyota Solara, is a mid-size coupe/convertible designed and engineered by Toyota. Created to appeal to a demographic of more sport-minded drivers than those who prefer the Toyota Camry Sedan, the Camry Solara aspires to blend “sporty” looks and style with spacious practicality. The front-wheel drive Camry Solara is supposed to have a more sporty image than the Camry sedan. However, all models of the Camry Solara only feature the “Solara” portion of the name on exterior emblems, and the “Camry” portion of the name is rarely used when referring to the car in general.
Prior to the production of the Camry Solara, the 2-door version of the Toyota Camry was simply known as the Camry Coupé. It was added to the third generation Camry lineup in 1994 to compete with the Honda Accord and other cars in its class. However, due to it never being nearly as popular as the 4-door sedan of the Camry, the Camry Coupé was dropped in 1997.
In 1999, reviving the goal to compete with other similar coupés, Toyota launched the Camry Solara. Unlike the competing Honda Accord sedan and the Accord Coupe which are updated at the same time, the Solara’s development lags behind of that of the Camry sedan by a couple years. Instead of mirroring the now-fourth generation Camry’s appearance, the Solara had its own unique design with a swooped roofline, heavily creased sides, and unique front and rear fascia. The second generation, based on the 2002 Camry sedan, debuted in 2004.
When the Camry sedan entered its seventh generation, there were no plans to update the Camry Solara to that platform. The Solara sold below expectations, as it inherited the unexciting handling from its Camry parent.Without a major update in the works, that left the Solara underpowered compared to the new iteration of the sedan. The Solara coupe was discontinued after the 2008 model year, though it was rumored that the coupe would be revived in 2010 albeit on a different platform. The Solara convertible, which accounts for the majority of sales, continued to be produced. Then, in June 2009, Toyota announced that the convertible would be discontinued.