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Ballin' on a Budget: 2004-2008 Toyota Solara Convertible

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On: Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 9:09AM | By: Teddy Field

Ballin' on a Budget: 2004-2008 Toyota Solara Convertible

In this series, we usually talk about affordable 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 is 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 is 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.

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