Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Beauty, technology and a hint of the future come together in Toyota's new flagship sedan, the all-new 2021 Mirai. The 2016-2020 Mirai was the first production fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) offered for sale to retail customers in North America. Now, for 2021, Toyota has fully rebooted the Mirai as a premium rear-wheel drive sports-luxury FCEV with striking design, cutting-edge technology, more engaging driving performance and a significantly longer EPA-estimated range rating.
The model name, which means future in Japanese, is wholly appropriate, as the 2021 Mirai is powered by the latest evolution of the brand's advanced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) powertrain. The new Mirai is one part of an electrification strategy that also includes Toyota's current and future hybrids and upcoming battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Toyota put the auto industry on the road to modern electrification in 1997 with the first Prius hybrid and today remains the global leader in gas/electric hybrid sales.
Built on the rear-wheel drive GA-L platform that also underpins the larger Lexus LS sedan, the 2021 Toyota Mirai makes a major design departure from the front-wheel drive first-generation version. The body is lower, longer, and wider, with its bolder stance accentuated by standard 19-inch alloy wheels.
A more powerful fuel cell system provides a more engaging driving experience than its pioneering forerunner. The rear-wheel drive layout and four-wheel independent suspension deliver a true sports-luxury sedan driving feel, with greater handling agility than before, yet also with a more comfortable ride. The RWD layout also allowed for increased hydrogen storage to boost EPA-estimated range to 402 miles (Mirai XLE grade), a 30 percent increase over the first-generation Mirai.
The new Mirai's clean, modern profile was inspired by coupes, yet the new design is also more practical than before. Improved use of space enables a five-seat cabin versus the four-seat layout in the first-generation Mirai. The new Mirai's interior matches the elegant tone of the exterior.
The 2021 Mirai features more advanced user and safety tech, including Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+. This latest generation of Toyota's driver-assist technology suite includes Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic emergency braking, and Lane Keep Assist. In addition, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is standard on the 2021 Mirai.
Electrifying Design, Slippery Aero
The switch to a rear-wheel drive platform delivers a "twofer" in the 2021 Mirai. The new layout facilitates the coupe-like proportions and bolder stance. At the same time, the new platform allowed for a roomier cabin with more usable space on the inside and in the trunk. The result is neither "form follows function" nor the opposite; it is perhaps better described as "form marries function," and it's a beautiful marriage, indeed.
The 2021 Mirai conveys a sense of motion with a classic GT car stance (long-hood, sweeping roofline, short rear deck), rendered in a practical four-door sedan package. The cabin silhouette flows rearward with flush, smooth side surfaces, accented by a dynamic sculpted rocker area with a kickup near the rear wheel.
The body tapers to the rear and blends into an integrated rear spoiler. The effect is that of a single metal form sculpted into a bold shape. The Limited grade is equipped with an exclusive dual-panel panorama roof, which features fixed glass panels and a power sunshade.
The 2021 Mirai will be offered in five exterior colors: Black, Oxygen White, Supersonic Red, Hydro Blue, and Heavy Metal. Hydro Blue, exclusive to the Limited grade, is created with primer, silver base, clear, blue clear, and final clear layers.
The "function" aspect of Mirai manifests in a larger body with more passenger room. Wheelbase, height, length and width are all increased over the first-generation Mirai. Weight increases by just 176 lbs., yet weight distribution improves to near 50:50, and the center of gravity is lower to significantly enhance handling agility.