The Toyota Mirai is a quiet, comfortable and very inexpensive vehicle to operate. There is a long list of various standard equipment that comes with it as well. The instant torque of the electric motor means it offers plenty of punch for overtaking. However, it is still quite difficult to recommend purchasing one, since there are very few filling stations available that will meet the specific circumstances for buyers to be able to run one of these vehicles. Even then they will pay dearly for the privilege. At this time, we simply cannot recommend purchasing one. However, we do applaud Toyota for offering the future in 2016 to the marketplace.
The Toyota Mirai is among the first of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being offered for sale in the UK. Mirai is the Japanese word for ‘future.’ It is all part of the auto maker’s plan for forging ahead by offering alternative fuels as soon as they can.
It is hydrogen in this case, which has the great advantage of being available at fuel stations in pressurised form just like diesel or petrol. That means that although an electric motor powers the Mirai, you have the ability to top it up in a couple of minutes just like a regular car. Its range is similar as well, at about 300 miles.
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Electricity is generated by the fuel cell through mixing oxygen and hydrogen and storing it inside the battery. The motor is powered like all of the other Toyota hybrids. What that means is that the only emission coming out of the tailpipe is water. Water is periodically purged from the system. There is even a button located on the dash, for getting rid of it whenever you want to. You just need to be sure it isn’t released right when you get home and are pulling into your garage.
The electric motor offers 335Nm and 152bhp of torque. However, the bulky motor, fuel cell, and batteries result in the car weighing around 1,850kg. This results in a top speed of 111 mph and 0 to 62 mph in 9.6 seconds. However, don’t let those figures fool you. The instant torque off of the line means that the Mirai feels plenty fast enough.
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In corners, the weight can be a problem, and the Mirai feels quite hefty there. It isn’t bad at all to drive. However, the hydrogen Toyota is best suited for motorways journeys and town driving rather than on twisting country roads. Its soft suspension does best on a route that is more relaxed.
Up front, the centre console unit, dashboard and steering wheel all feel like they are built well. However, the small buttons and touch interface are fiddly to use while on the move. We prefer to have an interface that is more logical. However, it’s quite a small niggle in all honesty.
That said, the biggest problem for Mirai comes when its rivals are considered. Nearly every car that is about the same size is a lot less expensive to purchase compared to the Toyota, with its £66,000 list price. That is more than twice what a rival car will cost, making any running cost savings practically negligible. If your purchasing decision is focused on the bottom line, then really it is impossible for us to recommend this expensive car to you. However, a proposed (but as yet unconfirmed) Government grant may result in a several thousand pound price reduction.
Even those people who are considering purchasing the car for its green credentials may need to think twice. Most hydrogen fuel is currently produced through using fossil fuels. This makes its claim of water-only coming out of the tailpipe somewhat questionable and you could also ask yourself if how the Toyota will fit into the quality used car market.