It’s a sleek, rear-wheel drive saloon that looks nothing like its fussy predecessor
Toyota has opted for a radical rethink for the second generation of its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle. It’s now a sporty looking rear-wheel drive saloon that promises superior handling and driver enjoyment, as well as extra range over its predecessor.
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The first generation Mirai, launched in 2014, was a striking car to behold, but while its looks were certainly a conversation starter, they didn’t win that many fans. This all-new model bares absolutely no resemblance to the previous Mirai, and it’s all the better for it.
There’s definitely a whiff of Kia Stinger about it (even though that car is a liftback, not a saloon), but the Mirai certainly has its own thing going in terms of design. The bonnet is really long, the greenhouse placed way back, just like in big, luxury barges with a longitudinally-mounted internal combustion engine.
Toyota clearly wants the new Mirai to appeal to buyers who want a premium looking car and based on what we’ve seen in the press photos, they seem to have succeeded. It just looks like a big, expensive car with good proportions, restrained styling and little indication that it doesn’t burn petrol.
Move inside and the same air of quality persists. The layout is typically Toyota, but there’s also a bit of Lexus sprinkled in too. There are no analogue dials - the driver has an 8-inch fully-digital gauge cluster to provide information. The central part of the dash is dominated by a 12.3-inch display which seems to be placed quite high (thus improving safety since you don’t have to look down at it and take your eyes off the road).
Thankfully, it looks like Toyota decided to go with physical buttons for the climate controls, so you won’t have to operate the infotainment to change the temperature or enable the seat heaters. One cool design touch is how the centre console flows into the long, thin air vents - this is definitely an elegant way to integrate them.
Toyota opted to put a big wireless charging pad for smartphones right behind the gear selector and next to the two cupholders - manufacturers usually put it in a less visible place. Overall, the interior looks like a nice (and expensive) place to sit, complimented by tasteful bronze accents and matching contrasting stitching.
We’re pretty sure Toyota will give the new Mirai performance to match its sporty looks. All the manufacturer is currently saying is that this new model is stiffer than before and its centre of gravity is lower. But as of right now, it has shared next to no information about how it’s improved the fuel cell powertrain.
What Toyota does tell us is the new Mirai is 4,935 mm (195.8 inches) long, 1,885 mm (74.2 inches) wide and it sits on a 2,920 mm (114.9-inch) wheelbase. The wheels you see on the car in the press photos have 20-inch rims, to give you an idea of just how big this car is.
Range is said to have been improved by around 30 percent over the old Mirai FCEV. This means it should rise from 300 miles to roughly 400 miles in the new model. The official press blurb also tells us that the improved powertrain offers “ linear, smooth response when pulling away and an elegant driving feel, with unity between the driver’s throttle inputs and the car’s acceleration. “
The vehicle you see in the photos is not the final production spec; Toyota recently showed it off to members of the European motoring press at an event in the Netherlands where they called it a preview. However, it looks ready for production as is and we don’t expect it to change in any significant way before it goes on sale in late 2020.