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

Nancy J. Delong

Consider off the Toyota badges and slap a significant ol’ spindle grille on its nose, and this 2021 Mirai sedan could fully go for a Lexus. Inside of and out, the new Mirai has a level of fashion and refinement you would not hope for a mass-current market Toyota. And the Japanese automaker is hoping this quality emphasis will be ample to persuade folks to give hydrogen fuel-cell electricity a consider.

“Mirai” implies “future” in Japanese, which I guess is pretty ideal, provided the auto field adage that not only is hydrogen the fuel of the future, it often will be. In fact, with only about 50 filling stations in California (full with fairly spotty trustworthiness), hydrogen as a fuel source helps make a ton of sense on paper, but is still out of arrive at for most individuals. Even so, Toyota stays steadfast that this futuristic future will futurize into fruition and the significant expenditure into glowing-up the Mirai is evidence of the automaker’s determination to hydrogen on a world scale.

For starters, just look at this point. As significantly as the style and design is anxious, the Mirai went from worst to 1st like that (snaps fingers). Styling is subjective, natch, but I am likely to quantify this updo and say the 2021 Mirai is specifically 6,243% improved searching than its predecessor, which was the ugliest motor vehicle on the current market. 

Design comparisons to the Kia Stinger are not unwarranted, which is a compliment in and of itself. Dimensionally, the Mirai is about the similar measurement as a Stinger — 195.eight inches extensive, fifty seven.9 inches tall and seventy four.2 inches broad. But as opposed to the Kia, the Mirai is not a hatchback the battery and just one of the hydrogen fuel tanks are positioned underneath and powering the rear seat. That implies you will find only 9.6 cubic toes of cargo ability — approximately the similar as the rear compartment of a Porsche Cayman. In other terms, pack mild, or just toss your baggage on the roomy rear seats.

Talking of which, although all Mirais have a a few-across bench in the back, the prime-close Limited has a significant, fold-down middle console with a touchscreen that enables travellers to management different local climate management and audio capabilities. You know, just like what you’d obtain in a Lexus.

The Mirai has just one of Toyota’s greatest interiors.


In general, the Mirai’s inside is excellent. The SofTex seats are heated and cooled for the two entrance and rear travellers, although the dashboard, doorway playing cards and middle console are lined with much more of this convincing fake-leather-based material, making them soft and plush to the contact. All of the Mirai’s buttons look and sense like they belong in a Lexus, apart from for the stupid minor equipment shifter, which looks and feels like it belongs in a past-generation Prius. Oh, and you will find no quantity knob, which I considered we as an auto field determined was a undesirable idea.

Just about every Mirai receives a lot of cabin-tech, with an eight-inch digital gauge cluster and a twelve.3-inch touchscreen atop the middle stack. The onboard infotainment software program is the similar as what you are going to obtain in Toyotas like the new Highlander SUV, with a fairly cluttered residence monitor and loads of menus and submenus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are conventional, so you are improved off sticking with just one of those people. Just about every Mirai also comes with embedded navigation, a JBL quality audio technique, Amazon Alexa compatibility, wi-fi device charging and Wi-Fi.

A complete bunch of driver-assistance tech comes conventional, far too, by way of Toyota’s Security Feeling 2.5 In addition suite. All Mirai styles get pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with steering guide, automatic significant-beam headlights, entire-pace adaptive cruise management, traffic indicator recognition and just one of the most intense lane-centering units I’ve professional in a extensive time. (I couldn’t transform it off swiftly ample.)


The Mirai’s rear-wheel-push architecture is shared with the greater Lexus LS (humorous how that performs). Which is a adjust from this model’s predecessor. Although swapping driven axles from entrance to back could possibly appear to be odd for a reasonably innocuous sedan like the Mirai, Toyota suggests it investigated entrance- and all-wheel-push layouts and uncovered rear-push to be the greatest for packaging and effectiveness. But no, the Mirai won’t do a burnout. (I attempted. Twice.)

Science time: Three carbon-fiber-bolstered hydrogen tanks send out fuel into a fuel-cell stack underneath the hood, which mixes with oxygen to generate electrical power that powers a 1.24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and synchronous electric powered motor. All advised, the motor generates a optimum of 182 horsepower and 221 pound-toes of torque and the only byproduct of this fuel-cell electricity is h2o, which sprays out of a tailpipe although you are driving. You can also manually vacant the h2o reserve by urgent the H2O button on the dashboard to the left of the gauge cluster. I am not absolutely sure why you’d ever do this by yourself when the motor vehicle will do it quickly. Then again, although tests a 2019 Mirai a short while ago, I did say to a good friend, “Hey, wanna see the motor vehicle pee?” So, yeah.

The Mirai Limited receives these snazzy twenty-inch wheels.


Toyota suggests the foundation Mirai XLE has a vary of 402 miles, which signifies a thirty% advancement above the aged motor vehicle. The higher-close Limited is rated at 357 miles thanks to its amplified pounds and greater wheels, but that is still a great action up from the aged, unattractive Mirai’s 312-mile rating. If you’d rather communicate about effectiveness in conditions of miles for each gallon equal, the Mirai XLE receives seventy four MPGe put together although the Limited returns sixty five MPGe. For the sake of comparison, a 2021 Volvo S60 plug-in hybrid is rated at sixty nine MPGe.

The Mirai XLE weighs in at 4,255 kilos, with the Limited tipping the scales at 4,335. With only 182 hp and 221 lb-ft of motivational pressure, the Mirai is just not specifically rapid. Toyota estimates a 9.2-2nd -to-sixty-mph time, which sounds about ideal to me. Positive, you get the fast torque delivery of an electric powered motor, but that is still a complete lot of Mirai to shift all over.

Once it’s up and shifting, nevertheless, the Mirai is pretty good to push. The steering is mild and obscure (it’s a Toyota), but the independent entrance and rear suspensions, as properly as the ideal 50:50 pounds distribution, suggest the Mirai is surprisingly capable on winding streets. Those Lexus underpinnings glow when the Mirai is just cruising on the highway, ensuing in a buttery smooth experience, even on my Limited tester’s upsized twenty-inch wheels with 245/45-series tires. The cabin is super tranquil at all moments and that JBL audio technique can effortlessly drown out any weird fuel-cell drivetrain sounds that could possibly make its way into the cabin. I won’t go so significantly as to get in touch with the Mirai sporty, even with these RWD bones, but again, if you advised me this was a Lexus, I would fully believe that you.

If you can get powering hydrogen lifetime, the Mirai is a compelling sedan.


Possibly it should really just be a Lexus, provided how the 2021 Mirai is priced. With a starting off MSRP of $50,455 like $955 for location, the new Mirai is much more than $9,000 less expensive than the aged design. But that is still about as a lot as a new GS 350. Stage up to the Mirai Limited and you are searching at $66,955. Adding in chrome wheels and a fancy paint alternative brings that prime-close MSRP to $68,500.

Of system, those people quantities don’t notify the entire story. When you invest in or lease a new Mirai, Toyota will toss in as a lot as $15,000 in cost-free hydrogen fuel. And don’t neglect about the $eight,000 federal tax credit, as well as an added $4,500 from the state of California. Which is a excellent way to make a motor vehicle like the Mirai much more obtainable to folks who could possibly be on the fence about using the plunge on hydrogen lifetime. And hey, if this complete fuel-cell point won’t pan out like Toyota hopes it will, just shove a V6 underneath the hood and get in touch with this undesirable boy a Lexus.

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