2021 Toyota Mirai (hydrogen electric car) interior, exterior (walkaround review)

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2021 Toyota Mirai (overview)

Hydrogen-powered cars are a small sub-niche among the niche of electric vehicles and the 2021 Toyota Mirai is the most stylish of the bunch. The Mirai—and its rivals, the Honda Clarity and the Hyundai Nexo—are powered by a fuel cell which creates electricity for its on-board electric motor by producing a chemical reaction that strips the hydrogen of its electrons. Water vapor is all that comes out of the Mirai's tailpipe and unlike a plug-in electric vehicle, the Mirai can be juiced with a tank of hydrogen in just a few minutes. In between fill ups, the Mirai delivers a premium experience, plenty of style, and a comfortable ride. Unfortunately, the Mirai is only on sale in California.


What's New for 2021?

The Toyota Mirai sees a complete overhaul for the 2021 model year as it enters its second generation. The most noticeable change is the complete revamp in exterior design. The 2020 Mirai looked like a close relative of the Toyota Prius, while the 2021 Mirai looks more like a Lexus. It grows in size and will be a few inches longer and wider than the Lexus GS. The styling change, however, isn’t the only revision–the Mirai also receives a more powerful fuel-cell powertrain and switches from front- to rear-wheel drive. In addition to the boost in power, the Mirai also gets an increase in range too and is now capable of driving up to 402 miles on a tank of hydrogen.

XLE, $50,455
Limited, $66,955

The Mirai is offered in either the base XLE trim or the loaded Limited guise, but we'd stick with the less expensive of the two. Standard interior features include heated and power-adjustable seats, keyless entry and ignition, faux-leather upholstery, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. All Mirai models come with a $15,000 fuel credit and 21 days of complimentary vehicle rentals for when travel dictates drives away from areas with hydrogen fueling stations.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Toyota Mirai is powered by what’s called a fuel-cell electric powertrain, meaning that hydrogen (which could actually come from cow manure, among other sources) is converted into electricity by the on-board fuel cell—essentially a chemical laboratory on wheels. Fuel cells create electricity by stripping electrons from hydrogen atoms; the hydrogen then bonds to oxygen to create water, while the electrons power the electric motor. The result is an electric vehicle that is fueled with hydrogen from a pump rather than electrons drawn from the nation's electrical power grid. The electric motor powering the Mirai produces 182 horsepower, all of which is sent through a one-speed direct-drive transmission to the rear wheels. Although Toyota claims the Mirai requires a leisurely 9.1-seconds to reach 60 mph, the immediate nature of the electric motor's power delivery makes it feel perkier than that when driving around town. Likewise, the rear-wheel drive chassis delivers a surprising level of athleticism while preserving a refined and composed ride.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA hasn't released estimates for the Mirai's fuel economy yet, but the previous generation model earned ratings of 67 MPGe for both city and highway driving. The Honda Clarity returns similar EPA estimates in city and highway driving at 68 and 67 MPGe, respectively. The more frugal of the two Nexo models comes in at 65 MPGe city, 58 MPGe highway. According to Toyota, the 2021 Mirai is good for up to 402 miles per fill-up of hydrogen.

2021 toyota mirai interior.

The 2021 Mirai boasts a snazzy cabin that matches its swoopy exterior. Copper-colored trim pieces highlight several curvy elements on the dash and door panels while the nearly all-digital instruments and large infotainment screen dominate the upper part of the dashboard. It's a futuristic and rich-looking design that's appropriate for a car with a $50,000 starting price. The more expensive Limited trim brings even more niceties than the standard XLE, including a moonroof, heated-and-ventilated front and rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control, and more.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Mirai comes stard with a large 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system similar to the one found in high-end versions of the Toyota Highlander SUV. Features such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, a 14-speaker JBL audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and in-dash navigation are all standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
Standard adaptive cruise control


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