Review By Veeno Dewan
You may not be too familiar with The Toyota Mirai, its not a gasoline, hybrid or fully electric (EV) vehicle, but the latest version of Toyotas hydrogen fuel-cell powered four door sedan. It is what termed as a FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) powered by a hydrogen fuel cell energy storage system. How it works is basically – the fuel cell technology combines hydrogen from a storage tank with oxygen drawn from the atmosphere to produce electricity, that drives the electric motors that motivate the car. The only emission is clean water! Not only is that .impressive, but the Mirai is has a driving range at an incredible 674 kilometres and only takes five minutes to fill full tank of hydrogen!
Power is rated at a modest 151 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is via a one-speed direct-drive system to the rear wheels, and there is still an electric battery component that aids the Mirai in all-out acceleration. Note that there are only a handful of hydrogen filling stations in B.C for now.
For 2022, the Mirai enters its second-generation based on the Lexus LS sedan platform with rear-wheel-drive, while the previous generation was front-wheel drive. It is also roomier than its predecessor and also features an upgraded infotainment system with a large 12.3-inch touchscreen. Models range from the $50,000 XLE with features such as Premium Audio with Remote including: Embedded Navigation, 12.3” Touchscreen Display, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® Compatibility, Heated Front Softex Seats,19” inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels, LED Headlamps, Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross Traffic Brake Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.5+ , Qi-Compatible Wireless Smartphone Charging and more.
The Mirai Limited ($76,950) adds panoramic moonroof, multi-colour interior ambient lighting, all- round 8-way (front) power heated and ventilated seats, Perforated SofTex®-Trim for the seats, 20” inch Chrome Wheels, Three-Zone Automatic Climate Control Power Rear Trunk Door Advanced Park and more.
Interior wise, there is a suitably futuristic design to echo the exterior, with curvy elements on the dash and door panels. Nice carbon- fibre look trim pieces, and capacitive-touch console switches highlight the dash with its big touchscreen, and all-digital instruments. There is plethora of soft touch premium materials and expected luxury touches. You can fit four people inside in relative comfort, the front seats are roomy and supportive, but the rear does not have a middle seat. However, you do gain: cup holders, power outlets (both USB and 12V), climate control vents, seat heaters, and a big armrest console bin – a feature that’s disappointingly absent in the front. But the rear seats do not fold or even provide a ski pass-through). The compartment for the trunk is reasonably roomy at 362 L.
Safety is very high, Toyota’s Safety Sense semi-autonomous features have also been upgraded to 2.5+ status, which means they now include emergency steering assist, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Lane pedestrian detection, cyclist detection departure alert with steering assist, sway warning system, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, road sign assist, and more. Also, note that Toyota has made the Mirai’s hydrogen fuel system as safe as possible, with crash-resistant composite hydrogen tanks, collision-sensing fuel cut-off valves, and multiple hydrogen sensors to detect any possible leaks or problems.
On the road, the Mirai drives very much like an EV with just some whooshing and whirring from the hydrogen system. Acceleration is instant due to the electric motor format and actually feels faster than the modest with a 0–100 km/h at about 9- seconds Toyota claims. The Mirai is a relatively heavy car and feels it, with a very solid, stable planted feel. It does have a good degree of agility in the corners where the weight enables it to remain composed with a real big car-like smooth and refined ride on all surfaces. Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption rate for the Mirai of 0.93 kg of hydrogen per 100 km or compared to gasoline cars – L/100KM at 3.1/3.3 (City /highway.) which is excellent.
The Mirai is a big, luxurious car with Lexus like road manners and refinement It’s not super fast but makes up for that in refinement and comfort. Powered by a bountiful hydrogen, the Mirai needs no fossil fuel whatso ever! Producing only pure water.as a by -product!
A decision on buying the Mirai however need to be carefully weighed up. Unless you are close to one of the hydrogen filling stations, it needs thinking about. But the hope is that as the hydrogen filling station infrastructure become more common the Mirai will be the contender for the greenest car on the planet. A wonderful fuel efficient, luxurious vision of the future right here and right now.
2022 Toyota Mirai priced from $54,990 – $76,750
More info at www.toyota.ca