For 2006, the Solara convertible adds a new lower-priced trim line, the SE V6, to the SLE V6 of 2005. The coupe remains unchanged, except that the four-speed automatic transmission used on the four-cylinder in 2005 is upgraded to a five-speed for 2006.
Although the two are basically the same car and built in the same plant, the convertible is engineered with chassis modifications for the structural rigidity necessitated by its lack of a solid roof.
The coupe starts with a base 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Coupe SE V6, Coupe SLE V6 and both convertible trim lines use a 3.3-litre V6 with a five-speed automatic.
The 2.4-litre Coupe SE includes CD player with six speakers and wheel-mounted audio controls, air conditioning, 60/40 folding rear seat, power locks, power windows, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, automatic headlamps and fog lamps.
The SE V6 Coupe adds CD/cassette, sport fabric seat material, power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, full skirt package and power sunroof.
The SLE V6 Coupe adds automatic climate control, heated leather seats, simulated woodgrain trim, anti-theft system, integrated garage door opener, cargo net, and curtain airbags.
The SE V6 convertible includes CD/cassette with six speakers, subwoofer and wheel-mounted controls, sport fabric seat material, fixed rear bench seat, power rear quarter windows, metallic dash inserts, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, automatic headlamps, fog lamps and power top.
The SLE V6 adds automatic climate control, heated leather seats, simulated woodgrain trim, integrated garage door opener, cargo net, and anti-theft system.
Based on the Camry, the Solara shares that model’s characteristics: a smooth, comfortable ride, roominess that even extends to the rear seat, and nimble handling. It improves on the vanilla Camry’s styling, though, with gorgeous lines that mimic the Lexus SC 430 but without that model’s price-tag. The convertible’s top is a single-button, ten-second operation, and comes with a glass rear window and headliner. The Chrysler Sebring convertible also lets the sun shine in, but the new Solara SE V6 undercuts the base Sebring by $1,315.