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Toyota Mirai: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2015

What Is It?

The Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen-powered sedan that has been in development for several years. Revealed in production form earlier this year, the Mirai is here in Detroit for only a few months before it goes on sale at a select few U.S. Toyota dealerships located in Southern California.

On the outside, the Mirai, which means "future" in Japanese, certainly has an unusual look, boasting a tall roof, large character lines down either side, a bizarre front bumper, and large taillights that stretch across the entirety of the car's rear end. Essentially, it looks like nothing else on the road, which is likely Toyota's goal, as the automaker is eager to drum up interest in hydrogen cars and fuel-cell technology. Interestingly, the Mirai's interior is surprisingly normal, save for the capacitive-touch center stack that takes the place of traditional buttons.

More important is what's under the Mirai's hood. That's where the sedan features a 152-horsepower fuel-cell motor, which is capable of traveling up to 430 miles on a single tank of hydrogen. If that sounds good, consider this: It takes just 3 minutes to refuel a hydrogen car, and the only emission is water. Unfortunately, sales will be very limited: Toyota plans to bring just 200 Mirai units to the U.S. this year, and they will only be sold in Southern California, which is the only part of the U.S. with hydrogen refueling stations.

How Much?

Prices start in the mid- to high-$50,000 range before government tax incentives.

When Can You Get It?

The Mirai is already on sale in Japan, and U.S. sales are expected to start this spring or summer.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

Simply put, there's nothing like it. While Honda has offered hydrogen cars in the past, its FCX Clarity models have been available for lease only. The Toyota Mirai is available to purchase, and it virtually doubles the FCX Clarity's 240-mile range. Styling is unusual, but we suspect that, regardless of its looks or price tag, early adopters of hydrogen technology will be interested in the Mirai. While Toyota plans to sell just 200 Mirai units this year, the car proves that hydrogen power may still have a future when it comes to automotive propulsion.

Other Cars to Consider

Chevrolet Volt -- If hydrogen isn't your thing, consider the newly revealed 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Shown off for the first time in Detroit, the latest Volt boasts a 50-mile pure electric range before a range-extending gasoline engine kicks in.

Nissan Leaf -- If you're not in Southern California and you don't want to spend nearly $60,000 on your earth-saving ride, consider a Nissan Leaf. It's fully electric, it starts under $30,000, and it boasts a practical 84-mile range.

Honda FCV Concept -- Honda showed off a futuristic hydrogen-powered concept car, dubbed the FCV Concept, in Detroit. It's not out yet, but Honda says sales should commence early next year. Its range figures will be similar to the Mirai's numbers.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Toyota Mirai: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader