2021 Toyota Mirai First Drive: Hydrogen’s Never Looked This Good

Of the tons of of automobiles I’ve pushed for MotorTrend, none has felt fairly as unusual as the first-generation Toyota Mirai hydrogen-powered sedan. Lengthy treks to finicky fueling stations, distinct whirring sounds from the automotive’s fuel-cell system, and curious appears within the car parking zone marked the six months I spent with a 2016 Mirai. Imprecise dealing with, brakes that make a deflating noise, and a heavy really feel when cornering contrasted sharply with the automotive’s immediate energy supply off the road. Greater than three years later, I discover myself within the seat of the second-generation 2021 Toyota Mirai hoping it’s extra regular than its predecessor however simply as memorable.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Fueling the Modifications

Shedding its ungainly proportions, the brand new Mirai is longer, decrease, and wider than its predecessor. Now it appears like a barely snazzier Toyota Camry. Provided that SUVs are so popular, it begs the query if Toyota ought to have reshaped the Mirai right into a crossover for its second era. Toyota says the sedan body style matches the Mirai’s new mission: an extended driving vary and powerful efficiency. The truth is Toyota’s going to promote vastly extra Mirais in markets that want sedans.

The primary trace on the Mirai’s sportier intentions is the change from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive. Ditching the previous mannequin’s Prius V-based underpinnings, the second-generation Mirai sits on a shorter model of the platform that underpins the Lexus LS sedan. This setup allows a roomier cabin that seats 5 as an alternative of 4. Though weight has elevated barely, the Mirai now boasts a close to 50:50 weight distribution and a decrease middle of gravity.

Permitting the change to rear-drive is a smaller, lighter fuel-cell stack that mixes hydrogen with oxygen from the air, which produces an electrical present and water as a byproduct. This time round, Toyota managed to suit the stack beneath the hood as an alternative of awkwardly stuffing it beneath a raised part of the passenger compartment ground. The gas cell stack case integrates with the facility management unit, making issues much more compact. Delivering 182 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, the brand new Mirai makes 31 further horses however 26 fewer pound-feet of torque than its predecessor. Revised gearing, nevertheless, means torque to the wheels is elevated from the earlier era. Finishing the package deal is a brand new lithium-ion battery that shops extra electrical energy from the gas cell and from regenerative braking. It’s smaller than the previous Mirai’s nickel–steel hydride unit.

One other stunning benefit of the Mirai’s rear-drive setup is it frees up area to retailer extra hydrogen. The brand new Mirai shops a complete of 11 kilos of hydrogen in three tanks (as an alternative of 5 kilos in two just like the previous car): one mounted longitudinally within the middle of the automotive, one positioned transversely beneath the seat, and one under the battery. With this extra storage, in addition to by means of higher electrical administration, Toyota says it was in a position to enhance driving vary by 30 p.c.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Hydrogen Handler

The hassle has paid off, because the 2021 Toyota Mirai feels virtually like a totally totally different car. Though you gained’t mistake it for a sports activities automotive, its mild and exact dealing with makes driving on the freeway or a twisty street each snug and satisfying. It feels a lot lighter and nimbler round corners, too.

Perched on its Lexus-derived platform, the Mirai tackles most bumps on the street with poise. Street noise is nicely managed, and Toyota additionally makes certain to dam wind noise. Quieter air and hydrogen pumps translate to a extra subdued symphony contained in the cabin.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Gas-Cell Enjoyable

If the brand new Mirai has one driving attribute in widespread with its predecessor, it’s the automotive’s easy, immediate energy supply off the road. The hydrogen-powered Toyota gained’t stick you to the again of your seat like a Tesla does, nevertheless, and it’s not significantly quick as you demand extra momentum. Toyota estimates it takes 9.2 seconds to succeed in 60 mph from a standstill. Most drivers will discover the Mirai gives adequate energy for merging onto the freeway or passing different automobiles. As with modern battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the Mirai’s energy is delivered with none lag or clunkiness. Coming to a cease feels easy, too. The brand new Mirai’s brakes chunk instantly with a agency press of the pedal. This needs to be one of many greatest driving enhancements over the earlier mannequin.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Vary and Refueling

There at the moment are 43 open retail stations for hydrogen throughout California, up from 30 on the time we have been driving a first-gen Mirai. You’ll nonetheless need to examine the California Fuel Cell Partnership website to view the present provide of hydrogen gas at a given station, although. I revisited my favourite fueling station and observed a elaborate new nozzle and a brand new set of directions. Refueling the Mirai took a tiny bit longer than it might at a standard gasoline station. The opposite 49 states within the union share a sole public hydrogen station in Connecticut.

When you’re absolutely fueled up, you’ll be able to journey as much as 402 miles on a tank, in response to Toyota. We’ll need to conduct our personal check, because the earlier Mirai didn’t fairly reside as much as its official vary estimate in our real-world expertise. But when the brand new vary estimate is correct, the 2021 Mirai has a definite benefit over most BEVs, a class Toyota is making an attempt to conquest. Moreover, the Mirai’s estimated vary matches the EPA-rated driving vary of the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Hy-Finish Inside

Toyota additionally hopes the brand new Mirari steals prospects away from gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Curiously, Toyota particularly mentions the BMW 530e as a major competitor to its hydrogen-powered sedan. The automaker clearly has luxurious intentions with the brand new Mirai however on the identical time, Toyota says it needs to democratize its electrification expertise so it’s not simply out there to the prosperous.

The result’s a brand new Mirai with an upscale however not luxurious cabin—think Buick somewhat than Cadillac. Run your fingers throughout the dashboard, and also you’re handled to delicate, premium supplies. The swoopy dashboard, in addition to the piano-black trim on the middle console, harken again to the first-gen Mirai’s design. Additionally harking back to the previous mannequin: the low-set windshield and aspect home windows that present wonderful visibility. No supplies felt low cost on our XLE tester, and the artificial leather-based seats proved plush and cozy. One enjoyable factor concerning the Mirai: you’ll be able to push an H2O button everytime you need to purge water from the tailpipe. This implies you gained’t need to cope with water dripping onto your driveway once you get dwelling. There are some things we might change, although. Particularly, we had a tough time getting used to the shortage of a standard quantity knob, and we want the Mirai provided extra storage cubbies for smaller objects.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Not so Hy Pricing

Regardless of all of its upgrades, the brand new Mirai prices notably lower than its forebear, with the 2021 Mirai XLE beginning at $50,455—a lower of greater than $9,000.

It’s cheaper than the 2021 Hyundai Nexo, which begins at $59,960, too. The one different hydrogen automotive in the marketplace, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, is a lease-only mannequin. Toyota’s goal, the extra luxurious and highly effective BMW 530e, begins at $58,195.

Take note the Mirai’s worth doesn’t embody federal and state tax credit. California supplies a $4,500 rebate for Mirai consumers, topic to earnings necessities. The federal tax credit score is $8,000, however it expires on the finish of this 12 months, and it’s unclear if it is going to be renewed.

To sweeten the pot additional, Toyota is providing $15,000 of free hydrogen gas within the type of a pay as you go bank card (lasting three years for lessees, and 6 years for consumers). The automaker additionally gives 21 days of free automotive rental providers.



Patrons get premium options for the worth, too. Customary goodies embody synthetic-leather upholstery, heated entrance seats, an 8.0-inch instrument cluster show, energy driver and passenger seats, dual-zone automated local weather management, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and a 14-speaker JBL audio system. As in different Toyota fashions, the Mirai advantages from a full suite of ordinary security applied sciences. Moreover, the XLE’s $1,410 Superior Expertise package deal provides a 360-degree digicam, entrance and rear parking help with automated emergency braking, and illuminated footwells. You’ll need to improve to the Restricted mannequin, priced from $66,955, so as to add this stuff to the Mirai’s normal options record. The high-end Mirai additionally nets shoppers heated and ventilated entrance and rear seats, a rear touchscreen management panel, three-zone automated local weather management, ambient lighting, and a power-operated rear sunshade.

2021 Toyota Mirai: Time to Purchase and (Gas) Cell

The 2021 Toyota Mirai goes on sale in California on the finish of December. About 3,250 models will likely be rolled out within the state this calendar 12 months alone.

Toyota’s final objective was to make folks need the Mirai as a car, not only a fuel-cell car. Though the Mirai feels far more like a standard automotive than it did earlier than, it nonetheless faces difficulties within the market, comparable to America’s restricted hydrogen infrastructure. However there’s little doubt the Mirai is vastly improved, and it places Toyota one step nearer to the hydrogen future it envisions.

2021 Toyota Mirai
BASE PRICE $50,455
LAYOUT Rear-motor, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
MOTOR 182-hp/221 lb-ft AC permanent-magnet electrical
TRANSMISSION 1-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT 4,250-4,350 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 114.9 in
L x W x H 195.Eight x 74.2 x 57.9 in
0-60 MPH 9.2 sec (mfr est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.00 lb/mile (at car)
ON SALE December 2020

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