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2021 Toyota Mirai: First Look

  • The Toyota Mirai has evolved into a sleek, premium, rear-wheel-drive sedan.

  • Toyota estimates a 30% increase in driving range over the first-generation Mirai, plus enhanced performance.

  • The second-generation Mirai will go on sale in the U.S. in late 2020.

When the Toyota Mirai hit the U.S. market as one of the first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles from a mainstream brand, it arrived in the form of a midsize sedan that kind of looked like a hatchback. With an all-new second-generation 2021 Mirai on the way, there’s no more ambiguity as to what it is. The Mirai is now a full-size premium sedan, and it’s still a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle — now with longer range and better performance.

Slick Sedan

The first-generation Toyota Mirai is a little oddly proportioned in order to package its hydrogen fuel cell engineering. The all-new Mirai is a much more conventionally shaped sedan with dimensions very similar to the Avalon. However, it doesn’t have much in common with the Avalon other than size. For starters, it’s a fuel cell vehicle, and it’s also rear-wheel drive, which is another thing that makes it different from its predecessor. Toyota is also referring to it as a premium sedan, which means it just might be competitive with some expensive, gas-powered luxury cars.

Toyota is intentionally making the new Mirai a much different car than the outgoing Mirai. With the first-generation Mirai, the only reason anyone really wanted it was because it was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, of which there are few options on the market. The new Mirai is appealing in a much different way.

"We have pursued making a car that customers feel like driving all the time, a car that has emotional and attractive design appeal as well as dynamic and responsive driving performance that can bring a smile to the faces of drivers," said Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Mirai. "I want customers to say, ‘I chose the Mirai not because it’s an FCEV, but because I really wanted this car, and it just happened to be an FCEV.’"

Premium Interior

The interior of the first-generation Mirai is very futuristic, and the interior in the new 2021 model is a bit more like a mainstream luxury car. For starters, the Mirai will now have five seats rather than four, making it a little more roomy and family friendly. You still get a little futuristic flair, but Toyota showed more restraint in the design of this new interior, and it goes a long way. Toyota is promising a quieter and more luxurious space in the new Mirai.

This sedan will have a standard 8-in digital combination meter and a 12.3-in TFT touchscreen with navigation and 14-speaker JBL premium audio. This interior looks so nice and is so well-appointed at the base level that it might get some conquest sales from drivers coming from a luxury brand looking for something more environmentally friendly. The new Mirai is luxurious enough that it could get away with wearing Lexus badges.

Hydrogen Power

Toyota hasn’t revealed much in the way of specifics for the new hydrogen fuel cell powertrain of the new Mirai. We don’t know horsepower or torque figures, and we don’t have an exact estimate on range. However, Toyota is predicting a 30% increase in driving range over the first-gen model. The 2019 Mirai has a range of 312 miles, and a 30% increase would be 405.6 miles. We can’t say for sure, but we’re expecting the range of the second-gen Mirai to cross the 400-mile mark.

Hydrogen power has some of the same advantages of battery-electric vehicles, like zero CO2 emissions, but hydrogen refueling stations obviously have a pretty limited infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as putting water in your tank. One advantage that hydrogen has over BEVs is a refueling time of only about five minutes.

With a sleek design, a premium interior and an interesting hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, the new second-generation Toyota Mirai will have a lot to offer. It will enter the market competing in a pretty different class than its predecessor, and it will be interesting to see if it makes a dent in the market of green premium sedans. Find a Toyota Mirai for sale

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