2021 Toyota Mirai first drive review: Like a hydrogen-powered Lexus

Victoria D. Doty

Just take off the Toyota badges and slap a major ol’ spindle grille on its nose, and this 2021 Mirai sedan could completely pass for a Lexus. Inside of and out, the new Mirai has a amount of design and refinement you wouldn’t anticipate for a mass-sector Toyota. And the […]

Just take off the Toyota badges and slap a major ol’ spindle grille on its nose, and this 2021 Mirai sedan could completely pass for a Lexus. Inside of and out, the new Mirai has a amount of design and refinement you wouldn’t anticipate for a mass-sector Toyota. And the Japanese automaker is hoping this high quality target will be sufficient to convince people to give hydrogen gasoline-cell electrical power a test.

“Mirai” indicates “upcoming” in Japanese, which I guess is very suitable, provided the automobile business adage that not only is hydrogen the gasoline of the upcoming, it always will be. In fact, with only about 50 filling stations in California (total with to some degree spotty trustworthiness), hydrogen as a gasoline resource will make a ton of sense on paper, but is even now out of arrive at for most folks. Even so, Toyota stays steadfast that this futuristic upcoming will futurize into fruition and the major investment decision into glowing-up the Mirai is evidence of the automaker’s commitment to hydrogen on a international scale.

For starters, just look at this matter. As significantly as the structure is anxious, the Mirai went from worst to initially like that (snaps fingers). Styling is subjective, natch, but I am likely to quantify this updo and say the 2021 Mirai is accurately six,243{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} greater searching than its predecessor, which was the ugliest car or truck on the sector. 

Design comparisons to the Kia Stinger are not unwarranted, which is a compliment in and of itself. Dimensionally, the Mirai is about the same sizing as a Stinger — 195.8 inches lengthy, 57.nine inches tall and seventy four.2 inches large. But contrary to the Kia, the Mirai is not a hatchback the battery and a single of the hydrogen gasoline tanks are positioned under and driving the rear seat. That indicates there is only nine.six cubic toes of cargo potential — approximately the same as the rear compartment of a Porsche Cayman. In other phrases, pack gentle, or just toss your baggage on the roomy rear seats.

Speaking of which, even though all Mirais have a 3-across bench in the again, the leading-stop Restricted has a substantial, fold-down heart console with a touchscreen that will allow travellers to control different local climate control and audio capabilities. You know, just like what you’d find in a Lexus.

The Mirai has a single of Toyota’s very best interiors.


Total, the Mirai’s interior is fantastic. The SofTex seats are heated and cooled for both front and rear travellers, even though the dashboard, door cards and heart console are lined with a lot more of this convincing fake-leather-based materials, earning them smooth and plush to the touch. All of the Mirai’s buttons look and feel like they belong in a Lexus, apart from for the stupid minimal equipment shifter, which appears and feels like it belongs in a last-era Prius. Oh, and there is no volume knob, which I assumed we as an automobile business made a decision was a lousy idea.

Every Mirai will get a lot of cabin-tech, with an 8-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen atop the heart stack. The onboard infotainment computer software is the same as what you may find in Toyotas like the new Highlander SUV, with a to some degree cluttered home display and heaps of menus and submenus. Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are typical, so you happen to be greater off sticking with a single of all those. Every Mirai also will come with embedded navigation, a JBL high quality audio technique, Amazon Alexa compatibility, wi-fi gadget charging and Wi-Fi.

A total bunch of driver-aid tech will come typical, too, by way of Toyota’s Protection Sense 2.five Furthermore suite. All Mirai versions get pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with steering assist, automatic higher-beam headlights, comprehensive-velocity adaptive cruise control, targeted visitors signal recognition and a single of the most aggressive lane-centering devices I have professional in a lengthy time. (I could not transform it off speedily sufficient.)


The Mirai’s rear-wheel-generate architecture is shared with the bigger Lexus LS (funny how that performs). That is a adjust from this model’s predecessor. Whilst swapping pushed axles from front to again might appear odd for a somewhat innocuous sedan like the Mirai, Toyota states it investigated front- and all-wheel-generate layouts and identified rear-generate to be the very best for packaging and efficiency. But no, the Mirai is not going to do a burnout. (I tried. Twice.)

Science time: A few carbon-fiber-bolstered hydrogen tanks ship gas into a gasoline-cell stack under the hood, which mixes with oxygen to generate electric power that powers a 1.24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and synchronous electrical motor. All advised, the motor makes a highest of 182 horsepower and 221 pound-toes of torque and the only byproduct of this gasoline-cell electrical power is water, which sprays out of a tailpipe even though you happen to be driving. You can also manually vacant the water reserve by pressing the H2O button on the dashboard to the left of the gauge cluster. I am not absolutely sure why you’d at any time do this by yourself when the car or truck will do it mechanically. Then all over again, even though testing a 2019 Mirai just lately, I did say to a good friend, “Hey, wanna see the car or truck pee?” So, yeah.

The Mirai Restricted will get these snazzy twenty-inch wheels.


Toyota states the foundation Mirai XLE has a range of 402 miles, which represents a thirty{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} improvement around the aged car or truck. The higher-stop Restricted is rated at 357 miles because of to its enhanced fat and bigger wheels, but which is even now a wonderful stage up from the aged, hideous Mirai’s 312-mile score. If you’d alternatively chat about efficiency in terms of miles for every gallon equivalent, the Mirai XLE will get seventy four MPGe combined even though the Restricted returns sixty five MPGe. For the sake of comparison, a 2021 Volvo S60 plug-in hybrid is rated at 69 MPGe.

The Mirai XLE weighs in at four,255 pounds, with the Restricted tipping the scales at four,335. With only 182 hp and 221 lb-ft of motivational power, the Mirai just isn’t accurately rapid. Toyota estimates a nine.2-next -to-60-mph time, which sounds about appropriate to me. Absolutely sure, you get the fast torque supply of an electrical motor, but which is even now a total lot of Mirai to go about.

After it is up and shifting, however, the Mirai is very excellent to generate. The steering is gentle and vague (it is a Toyota), but the impartial front and rear suspensions, as well as the ideal 50:50 fat distribution, suggest the Mirai is shockingly proficient on winding roadways. These Lexus underpinnings shine when the Mirai is just cruising on the highway, ensuing in a buttery clean trip, even on my Restricted tester’s upsized twenty-inch wheels with 245/forty five-series tires. The cabin is super tranquil at all periods and that JBL sound technique can effortlessly drown out any unusual gasoline-cell drivetrain sounds that might make its way into the cabin. I is not going to go so significantly as to call the Mirai sporty, even with these RWD bones, but all over again, if you advised me this was a Lexus, I might completely think you.

If you can get driving hydrogen life, the Mirai is a persuasive sedan.


Perhaps it ought to just be a Lexus, provided how the 2021 Mirai is priced. With a starting up MSRP of $50,455 which include $955 for destination, the new Mirai is a lot more than $nine,000 much less expensive than the aged model. But which is even now about as much as a new GS 350. Step up to the Mirai Restricted and you happen to be searching at $66,955. Adding in chrome wheels and a extravagant paint alternative brings that leading-stop MSRP to $sixty eight,five hundred.

Of system, all those quantities never convey to the comprehensive story. When you obtain or lease a new Mirai, Toyota will toss in as much as $15,000 in totally free hydrogen gasoline. And never forget about about the $8,000 federal tax credit rating, furthermore an added $four,five hundred from the state of California. That is a fantastic way to make a car or truck like the Mirai a lot more available to people who might be on the fence about having the plunge on hydrogen life. And hey, if this total gasoline-cell matter won’t pan out like Toyota hopes it will, just shove a V6 under the hood and call this lousy boy a Lexus.

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