2022 Toyota Mirai First Drive Review: Hydrogen Hopeful

Has any car received a glow-up quite as spectacular as the Toyota Mirai?

The first generation of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell car could charitably be described as “unique.” With awkward proportions and a face like a murderous toaster, a pretty car the last Mirai was not. Lay your eyes on the 2022 Toyota Mirai, however, and you’ll wonder which generous fairy godmother has turned the dowdy into the downright pretty.

This isn’t some fairy tale car, though. The Mirai is a hydrogen reality, a calm and composed cruiser capable of emitting nothing more than water. Unfortunately, the required infrastructure to make the Mirai viable for most people is still a pipe dream. That’s too bad, because in some alternate timeline, the fuel cell EVs lead the charge away from ICE, and the Mirai could have been at the front of the pack.

What’s new?

Toyota tossed out nearly everything from the original Mirai to produce version 2.0. It rides on a new platform, longer (by 3.3 inches / 84 millimeters), lower (2.5 in / 64 mm) and wider (2.7 in / 69 mm). This one sends its power rearwards too, making this the first rear-drive Toyota sedan in decades.

It’s a good-looking package, too. The improved proportions help, of course, but the lines are also speaking a whole new language. Thin headlights and a strongly creased grille give it some presence up front, and the flanks are clean of any fussy lines. Around back, the rear window extends almost to the rear spoiler which, combined with the full-width taillight design, evokes the Audi A8. That is not bad company to keep.

Toyota has also improved the Mirai’s power ratings. The electric motor now spits out 182 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Moreover, range is up: the XLE trim will hit 402 miles (647 kilometers), while the Limited you see here should hit 357 miles (575 km).

Loading …

2022 Toyota Mirai interior and comfort

The Mirai’s interior is an excellent space to spend time, a roomy cabin with lots of natural light. Sharing its platform with the Lexus LS, the Mirai offers an abundance of space for passengers up front. It’s not bad in the back either, with that stylish roofline still affording rear-seat passengers 37.4 inches (950 mm) of space.

SEE ALSO: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Second Drive Review: What’s in a Name?

The two-tone interior gives the Mirai a classy vibe, complete with copper accents to spruce it up. Toyota Canada warns us this is a pre-production unit, but everything feels well screwed together. Fiddly volume buttons aside, the rest of the center stack is laid out clearly—although this is a lot of piano black. I’m still not sold on the shifter location either which, like the Prius Prime, sits up on the dashboard.

In typical Toyota fashion, the front seats are built for long-distance comfort, with good lower back and thigh support. There’s not much lateral cushion, but something tells me Mirai buyers aren’t going to be too concerned with that.

Rear seat accommodations are less good. The outboard seats are fine, but the fifth perch in the center  gets subjected to a raised floor and seat cushion, severely limiting the space if you find yourself four-up. Sure, this is a five-seater, but that’s only if one of those seats doesn’t have any legs attached. At least the trunk is a useful 9.6 cubic feet (272 liters).

SEE ALSO: 2021 Toyota Prius Prime Review: Easy to Live With, Hard to Love

2022 Toyota Mirai technology and features

The Mirai runs a larger, 12.3-inch screen that it’s borrowed from the Toyota Highlander. That makes it fairly easy to read at a quick glance, but unfortunately this isn’t the excellent new user interface system from the 2022 Tundra. For reasons unknown, Toyota skipped out on a volume knob too, relegating audio control to fiddly little rectangular buttons below the screen. Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto compatibility are all standard. 

The smaller screen embedded within the instrument panel includes an ECO scoring system, which rates the driver’s fuel efficiency based on acceleration and braking smoothness.

This higher Limited trim adds more goodies on top, like a 360-degree camera, parking sensors at both ends, automated parking, heated and ventilated seats in both rows, head-up display, and more. There’s also a decent-sounding JBL sound system.

SEE ALSO: Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Tesla Model Y Comparison

2022 Toyota Mirai driving impressions

If you’ve driven an EV, then the Mirai will not be a surprise. The powertrain responds quickly, the near-instant torque making the quoted figures seem conservative. The Mirai isn’t that far off a Camry’s horsepower and torque, actually. Off the line it might even be quicker thanks to all that torque, though it loses steam much earlier than its ICE-powered sibling. The whole operation happens in near-silence too, quieter even still than your run-of-the-mill EV.

Naturally the suspension is tuned for comfort. On those big multi-spoke wheels, the Mirai still soaks up bumps well, with little jostle or noise making its way into the cabin. Since most of the weight is low down in the chassis, the handling is nice and secure. Wind noise on the highway is average.

I was only in the Mirai for a quick drive, and had a very strict distance limit to work with, so any test of its fuel efficiency was off the table.

Verdict: 2022 Toyota Mirai First Drive Review

The 2022 Toyota Mirai shouldn’t be a Toyota. It’s much more of a Lexus, with a serene in-cabin experience and wafty ride.

Overall, the Mirai comes off as very normal to drive around. Here’s a car that doesn’t change much of our established car patterns: there’s no charging, just head to a station and fill up. There’s just a problem with that: even in California, Quebec, and British Columbia—the main markets Toyota will sell the Mirai, at least initially—hydrogen stations are hardly plentiful. No wonder Toyota USA is offering up to $15,000 in free fuel.


FAQs

  • How much will the 2022 Toyota Mirai cost? 
    • Before any incentives, the 2022 Toyota Mirai XLE costs $50,525; the Limited, $67,025. Canadian prices were unavailable at time of writing.
  • Does the 2022 Toyota Mirai have free fuel?
    • Not quite. US customers who lease a Mirai get complimentary fuel for 36 months, or up to $15,000, whichever one comes first.
  • Is the 2022 Toyota Mirai all-wheel drive?
    • No, it rides on a rear-drive chassis.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.