Toyota Mirai (2023) review: pleasant and capable, but with a hydrogen hangover
Over All Review
While the technology in Toyota’s first generation Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) was intriguing, the car was uninspired to drive, and refilling was a big headache – even in hydrogen-friendly California.
While the initial Mirai served its purpose, it was essentially an expensive and flawed hydrogen-powered Toyota Corolla.
In 2021, Toyota’s second generation Mirai hydrogen FCEV will be available, with sharp new aesthetics, a cheaper price, a better platform, longer range, and updated technology.
So, does this new Mirai address the previous car’s driving and packaging flaws, and, more crucially, has the dreadful hydrogen refuelling infrastructure improved in the last three years? To discover out, we drove a 2021 Toyota Mirai for a week.
The 2021 Mirai starts at $49,500 before incentives, which is $9,050 cheaper than the previous generation, and includes six years (or $15,000) of supplemental hydrogen.
It’s now larger, with five seats and built on the same RWD basis as the Lexus LS sedan. The range has grown by 30% over its predecessor, while power has climbed marginally to 182hp and 300ft-lb of torque.
The outside is contemporary and stylish, and the RWD proportions are superb. It’s a stunning vehicle from every viewpoint. You basically get a Lexus-like look minus the obnoxious spindle grille.
Cargo, Interior, and Comfortable
The Mirai has a stylish interior to match its swoopy design. Many curved components on the dash and door panels are highlighted by copper-colored trim pieces, while the virtually all-digital instruments and big infotainment screen dominate the upper portion of the dashboard. It has a modern and luxurious style that is fitting for a car with a starting price of $50,000. The Limited option adds even more features to the base XLE, such as a sunroof, heated and ventilated front and back seats, three-zone automatic temperature control, and more.
Connection and infotainment
The Mirai is equipped with a big 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. Among the standard features are a Wi-Fi hotspot, a 14-speaker JBL music system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and in-dash navigation, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Features for Driver Help and Safety
The Mirai, like the rest of the Toyota fleet, comes standard with a suite of driver-assistance systems. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites for more information on the Mirai’s crash-test results. The following are important safety features:
Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition is standard.
Lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance is standard.
Adaptive cruise control as standard
Price and availability of the Toyota Mirai
- $49,500 before incentives
- XLE and Limited trims
- 6 years (or $15,000) of free hydrogen
Toyota Mirai performance, range, and fuel economy
The Mirai, like other hydrogen FCEVs, mixes hydrogen stored in high-pressure tanks on board with oxygen in the air to create electricity on demand within a fuel cell.
This electricity is then stored in a tiny battery (similar to that of a hybrid car) and used to power an electric motor. Because water is the sole byproduct (or ‘waste’) of this process, hydrogen FCEVs emit no emissions.
The 2021 Mirai carries hydrogen in three tanks (rather than two before) for a range improvement of 357-402 miles (rather than 312mi previously) depending on trim.
It also has a 1.24KWh Li-ion battery pack (vs 1.6KWh nickel-metal hydride previously) and a more powerful 182hp / 300ft-lb motor (vs 152hp / 247ft-lb previously), allowing it to sprint from 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds. While not very impressive, there is enough of torque, so it does not feel sluggish.
Behind the wheel, it’s all about comfort over performance, and Toyota has you covered if that’s your thing.