Whereas a number of the MotorTrend staffers had been busy placing the hydrogen gasoline cell-powered 2021 Toyota Mirai through its paces at the test track, we used a second Mirai XLE as our each day driver, commuting round city and taking a brief (socially-distanced) street journey. On this lower-key time spent behind the Mirai’s wheel, we realized quite a bit in regards to the all-new fuel-cell automobile, a few of it good, a few of it not so nice. These are our key findings:
The 2021 Toyota Mirai may have been the Lexus Mirai
The very first thing that struck us is simply how good a automotive the Mirai is. Clearly, the outside styling is a large enchancment over the 2016–2020 Mirai (and let’s face it, visually talking there was nowhere to go however up), however we will’t assist however discover the clear Lexus vibe, and never simply due to the Mirai’s vaguely-Lexus-LS-like profile. Although we had been driving the lesser XLE mannequin, the cabin design and gentle faux-leather seats felt extra Lexus than Toyota to us, as did the ultra-quiet, baby-butt-smooth journey. After all, the Mirai isn’t really a Lexus, which implies we didn’t must put up with the hyper-annoying mouse-pad infotainment system, one thing that made us almost completely happy sufficient to forgive the shortage of a bodily quantity knob.
It’s quite a bit quieter than the outdated Mirai
Quiet is a relative time period when one is speaking a couple of automotive with electrical drive. Like a nuclear submarine, the Mirai retains its propulsion noises to a minimal, however the old Mirai emitted a seemingly random collection of clicks, buzzes and whirs from the hydrogen gasoline system. No extra—other than a bit of sigh as you shut it down, Toyota has managed to quell many of the pump and valve noises, and the 2021 Mirai doesn’t make rather more noise than a sometimes silent battery-powered electrical automotive.
The 2021 Toyota Mirai’s efficiency is … common
We timed the 2021 Toyota Mirai to 60 mph in 7.Four seconds, almost two seconds faster than Toyota’s personal 9.2-second estimate. Energy is reasonable: The electrical motor has 221 lb-ft of torque to inspire 4,243 kilos of Mirai, and it delivers that energy judiciously in order to not waste an excessive amount of hydrogen (extra on which in a second). Off-the-line acceleration is dealt with by the battery alone, and that holds again that preliminary dash. Like most EVs, the Mirai packs a robust mid-range however trails off at larger speeds.
The Toyota Mirai is healthier within the curves than we anticipated
The brand new Mirai is a correct rear-wheel-drive automobile, with its 182-hp electrical motor related to the rear axle. Toyota touts it as “a premium rear-wheel drive sports-luxury FCEV” (strive saying that ten instances quick once you’re drunk—and even sober), however in fact, we’re utilizing Toyota’s definition of sporty. We took the Mirai on a few our favourite curvy roads, and if pushed intentionally moderately than aggressively, it comes throughout as surprisingly competent and—dare we are saying it?—nearly pleasurable. There isn’t sufficient energy for tire-smoking tail-out motion, however pushed quickly the Mirai feels totally competent, and that’s a uncommon sensation in a green-themed Toyota.
… however driving it quick will value you
The issue with making fast curvy-road progress within the 2021 Toyota Mirai is that consumes hydrogen as if it had been the most typical factor within the Universe. Which it’s, however not essentially in kinds that may be readily delivered to the Mirai’s three-section gasoline tank. Mirai gasoline economic system is measured in MPGe—Miles Per Gallon Equal—and the EPA provides it a 74 MPGe mixed score, however driving quickly dropped our numbers down into the low 40s (and, on the steepest hills, down into the 20s), which has a tragic impact on vary. You may hustle the Mirai, but it surely dramatically shortens your tether.
The Toyota Mirai is at its finest in Los Angeles visitors
The 2021 Toyota Mirai is, at its coronary heart, a hybrid automotive. There’s a small 1.24 kWh battery—a tad extra capability than the one within the Prius hybrid—which acts as a buffer of kinds. The battery will get the Mirai rolling from relaxation earlier than the gasoline cell stack begins up, then assists with acceleration as wanted and appearing as sole energy when cruising at regular speeds. As with a hybrid or an EV, the battery prices because the automotive decelerates, and it may get juice from the gasoline cell stack as wanted. We anticipated gradual stop-and-go visitors to be the place the Mirai returned its finest gasoline economic system, however our in-town MPGe hovered round 70, under the XLE’s 76 MPGe estimate.
It was on LA’s viscous freeway visitors that the Mirai did its finest. If we picked our lane rigorously and saved up a gradual 30 or so, the place the battery may hold these low-rolling-resistance tires turning with out hydrogen assist, our common MPGe crept up into the low 80s. It’s as if the automotive was designed for California visitors … however in fact, California is the one state the place you will get a Mirai, or take pleasure in remotely handy entry to hydrogen gasoline.
402 miles of vary? Possibly not.
Toyota is touting a 402 mile vary for the Mirai XLE, whereas the Mirai Restricted is rated at 357 as a result of round 80 lbs extra weight and a extra aggressive tire. Which is neither right here nor there, as a result of the Mirai’s personal range-o-meter by no means confirmed us with greater than 262 miles being obtainable. Granted, we did some lead-footing, as is our job, however we additionally did our share of eco-cruising. It’s doable the common was gradual to replace; if we had been in a position to keep even a 70 MPGe common, the Mirai ought to handle near 400 miles. Nonetheless, we saved a cautious eye on that distance-to-empty age. “Vary nervousness” is usually a non-issue when there’s electrical energy ready at residence, however with the hydrogen fueling infrastructure nonetheless in its infancy, vary is rather more necessary.
The Mirai may get actually costly when and if it’s important to pay for the gasoline.
Hydrogen is pricey: We paid $16.70 per kilogram, and the Mirai’s tank holds 5.6 kg. For these of you not mathematically inclined, that’s a $93.52 fill-up in case your Mirai is operating on fumes. (Unhealthy alternative of phrases, maybe. Since hydrogen is gaseous, one may say the Mirai all the time runs on fumes.) From three-quarters of a tank, we paid almost $75 to refill. This received’t be a difficulty instantly, because the Mirai comes with $15,000 or three years’ value of free hydrogen. That’s sufficient for 160 full fills, and even when the Mirai had been to solely handle 250 miles per tank, would take you to round 37,500 miles. Hydrogen costs are anticipated to drop to $6-7/kg by 2024 or 2025, but when that doesn’t occur, your 2021 Toyota Mirai may begin to really feel an terrible lot like a 1974 Plymouth Fury.
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