2021 Toyota Mirai

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor
February 10, 2021

Buying tip

Don’t buy! While Toyota officially offers the option to buy the Mirai, its lease offers are typically far better—and with hydrogen technologies very much still in development, you don’t even want to think about resale value.

features & specs

Limited Sedan
XLE Sedan
MPG
67 city / 64 hwy
MPG
76 city / 71 hwy
MSRP
$66,000
MSRP
$49,500

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is stylish, serene, and tech-savvy. If it could refuel in more places—like outside the state of California—we’d be very keen on it.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Toyota Mirai? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, with space for up to five, plus a newfound emphasis on a luxurious ride and balanced handling. It goes up to 402 miles on a tank of hydrogen. The Mirai is only offered in specific areas of California where a hydrogen infrastructure supports it, and it compares to the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell and the Hyundai Nexo.

Is the 2021 Toyota Mirai a good car?

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The Mirai is a nicely styled, well-designed sedan with excellent ride comfort and very good steering and handling. The Mirai earns a TCC Rating of 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Toyota Mirai?

Everything. The 2021 version of the Mirai has nothing to do with its predecessor—except that it continues to showcase the potential of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

The Mirai has been reborn as a rear-wheel-drive sedan, with the platform borrowed from the latest Lexus LS luxury flagship. Its fast roofline, strong stance, and long-nose sport-sedan proportions, looks great from about every angle and is quite the turnaround from the gawky “Prius-plus” look of its front-wheel-drive predecessor.  

With the latest, more compact version of Toyota’s fuel-cell stack under the hood and a 1.2-kwh battery pack, the Mirai delivers 182 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque through a rear-mounted electric motor. Three cylindrical hydrogen tanks hold about 12 pounds (5.6 kilograms) of the lightest element, at about 10,000 psi. 

At about 196 inches long, the Mirai is roughly the same size on the outside as the very spacious Toyota Avalon, but in a real sense of space it feels barely Corolla-sized on the inside. The back seat simply isn’t enough for 6-footers. If that’s all good, the interior feels like a pleasing mashup of Toyota and Lexus themes, materials, and trims. 

How much does the 2021 Toyota Mirai?

The 2021 Mirai XLE costs $50,455, including the $955 destination charge. The Limited model costs $66,955 and adds perforated upholstery, heated and cooled seats all around, and a fold-down armrest/console in back. A full suite of active-safety features are included on all versions.

Where is the 2021 Toyota Mirai made?

In Japan.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Styling

The 2021 Toyota Mirai might just be the best-looking Toyota sedan today.

Is the 2021 Toyota Mirai a good-looking car?

Forget all about the Mirai’s gawky predecessor that closely aligned with the Prius. It’s simultaneously racy and restrained in the way that it teases a sporty profile but offers calming details up close, and it earns a bonus point for that combination, for a rating of 6. 

The toned-down look on the outside brings to mind the big Avalon sedan—if it were rebooted for rear-wheel-drive proportions. Inside, it’s hard to pin down the influences; the Mirai mashes up the best from Toyota and Lexus influences. A line of vents cuts diagonally down the instrument panel from the passenger door, with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen canted slightly toward the driver, and it brings to mind the cockpit layout of a sport sedan, only it’s a little too upright, and the choice of textures and soft-touch trims, in subdued yet contrasting hues, fit the billing of sporty yet mature.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Performance

The Mirai is graceful in every way, but not all that quick.

The Mirai might look like a sport sedan, but after a few minutes in the driver’s seat it’s abundantly clear that’s not the top billing. Leisurely acceleration deducts a point, but the exceptionally smooth, punchy delivery gains one, as does its great ride-and-handling balance, ending up at a 6.

Is the Mirai 4WD?

The Mirai is powered at the rear wheels by an electric motor making 182 hp and 221 lb-ft. It taps into energy produced by the latest version of Toyota’s fuel-cell stack on board, making the equivalent of 172 hp of power, in electrical form, as it’s fed a flow of hydrogen, producing water vapor. A 1.2-kwh lithium-ion battery pack acts as a buffer and booster, much as it might as part of a hybrid system. 

How fast is the Mirai?

The Mirai doesn’t sell you on hydrogen fuel-cell technology the way that, say, a Ludicrous-mode (or Plaid) Tesla might sell you on battery-electric tech. Toyota cites a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds—slower than most of today’s gas models in that metric, although it has a quiet, punchy responsiveness to the accelerator anywhere below about 50 mph. It’s all about smoothness in the way it responds to the accelerator, and in the way it rides and handles. 

The Mirai is gifted with some of the most precise-feeling steering we’ve experienced in the Toyota lineup—perhaps better than its Lexus cousins like the GS and LS. It borrows some of the fluidity and poise you’ll find in serious sport sedans—with plush ride quality for its 4,300 pounds.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Comfort & Quality

The Mirai’s cabin has a premium feel, but it’s tighter than expected.

The Mirai’s cabin keeps to most of the first impressions it makes. Top-notch fit and finish earn it a point but a perplexingly cramped back seat docks one—bringing us to a score of 5.

Technology flagships tend to focus all the budget on, unsurprisingly, the tech. Although the look is subdued, the textures and soft-touch surfaces match this car’s circa-$50,000 base price—all but the underwhelming SofTex synthetic leather.  

The Mirai’s seating is a different story. Front seats are supportive and comfortable, but with barely enough head room for 6-footers. In the process of reconciling a racy roofline with the space for three large hydrogen storage tanks, some seating space lost out. Sit in the back seat and although the cushions are short and leg room is tight, 6-footers will find the head room situation untenable. The trunk is just adequate at 9.6 cubic feet, and there’s no way to fold the back seats for more space. 

The cabin of the Mirai feels quiet, and tightly assembled. The fuel-cell components are a distant whir, and you hear the muted whine of electric motors on hard acceleration. Wind noise is well-hushed, too, although we noticed some full-body resonances over coarse surfaces that weren’t so Lexus-like.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Safety

The Toyota Mirai covers all the feature bases but hasn’t been crash-tested.

How safe is the Mirai?

The 2021 Toyota Mirai hasn’t been crash-tested or rated for occupant safety by either of the major U.S. organizations. And because of its very low production numbers it’s likely not to be. We refrain from rating it in this category. 

The Mirai includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, road-sign recognition, and blind-spot monitors, as well as eight airbags. A surround-view camera system is optional on the XLE but standard on the Limited, and the Limited trades out a digital rearview camera system of the sort that can be useful but also potentially disorienting to those with corrected vision.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Features

The Mirai is full-featured and luxurious but lacking in interface and infotainment.

An excellent set of standard features earns the Mirai a point, as does Toyota’s solid support and warranty on this leading-edge model, but a difficult infotainment system brings the total down to a 6.

The Mirai XLE comes with a set of features that’s in alignment with the car’s premium feel. Limited models add heated and cooled seats in the front and rear, plus perforated synthetic leather, and a fold-down armrest with climate and audio controls.

The 12.3-inch infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto compatibility, dynamic navigation, and 14 JBL speakers. It’s a low point of the entire experience with the Mirai—unintuitive, verging on frustrating, with a thin band of physical buttons just below and a confusing redundancy to some of the controls.

Toyota offers great support and warranty coverage on the Mirai, as it should—including up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, 3-year/35,000-mile coverage on about everything, and 8-year/100,000-mile coverage on powertrain, for the few who decide to buy. 

Which Toyota Mirai should I buy?

We really don’t think you should buy a Mirai. Although Toyota is again selling the Mirai, the resale value for such a vehicle is uncertain territory. Lease it.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Toyota Mirai?

The 2021 Toyota Mirai Limited is the top-spec model and costs $66,955—a whopping $16,500 more than the base Mirai XLE. Chrome wheels and optional paint colors could stretch the price up to $68,500.

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2021 Toyota Mirai

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Toyota Mirai has no tailpipe emissions, but not all hydrogen is green.

The Toyota Mirai has no tailpipe emissions, other than water vapor, and it offers a range of up to 402 miles. That makes it a 10 on our scale. 

The Mirai stores its hydrogen in three large carbon-fiber-composite cylindrical tanks. At about 10,000 psi, they require high-pressure hydrogen filling equipment only publicly available at 43 stations in California—primarily using hydrogen reformed with natural gas and creating emissions. Although this setup has the potential for more green hydrogen, created with renewable energy in the future, that potential hasn’t yet been realized.

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$49,500
MSRP based on XLE Sedan
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7.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 10
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