Recommended. It’s a landmark car – the rest of the world just needs to catch up.
So, this isn’t your standard test drive review.
The Toyota Mirai is a world first, more specifically, it’s the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
Hydrogen tech isn’t particularly new, Toyota has been messing about with it for years, as have other manufacturers.
But now it’s a reality – you can go and buy a car that emits nothing but water.
That’s right – for those who’ve paid little attention to the development of this tech, nothing comes out of this car except for good old H2O.
How does it work? I hear you ask.
Well, oxygen from the air enters the Mirai’s air vents and feeds into the fuel cell stack.
The hydrogen is stored in high-pressure tanks and is sent into said stack.
The oxygen and hydrogen then react chemically (not unlike old fashioned internal combustion, really) to generate power in the form of electricity.
That power – 152bhp of it – turns the motor to spin the wheels, like in an electric car, and a battery, which helps acceleration, is also charged by deceleration.
And the only waste product is water. Not bad, eh?
You get around 300 miles between hydrogen fill-ups – much better than most electric cars – and the Mirai gets to 62mph in 9.6 seconds, going on to a top speed of 111mph, which is all pretty normal.
And it is all pretty normal, really. If you’ve ever been in or driven a Prius, you won’t feel out of place.
It feels and drives just like the hybrid Prius, really, or, indeed, much like electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf.
That means that power is rapid and instant, with no gears getting in the way of acceleration.
It’s a smooth ‘whoosh’ – and a thoroughly satisfying one. It’s a most space-age sound, for sure.
The Mirai handles very nicely as well, all in all it’s a decent drive and a decent family car.
In all respects it feels normal.
The inside is really cool. It fits the space age idea of what this car is all about, it’s bright and clean – very much a reflection of the technology – and there’s lots of room in the front and the back and the boot is big.
Otherwise you get a lot of the usual stuff – rear view camera, parking sensors, climate control, heated seats, a JBL sound system, sat nav and the like.
There are two problems at the moment.
The Mirai may well be the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car, but you try finding somewhere to fill it up.
The infrastructure isn’t there at all at the moment.
Second, it costs £66,000 - £61,000 with the Government’s £5,000 grant ¬– which means you’d have to do a serious number of miles to make it worth buying over a petrol, diesel, or even electric car.
But the Mirai is no less of a marvel – and it shows that we are tantalizingly close to propelling ourselves as we do now, but using nothing more than oxygen and hydrogen, producing nothing other than water.
We just need the infrastructure to catch up with the technology.
1. This is a glimpse of the future.
2. It feels and drives like a ‘normal’ car.
3. It shows that we’re not far away from another alternative mainstream fuel option.
We don't like:
1. The infrastructure is practically non-existent.
2. Pricey, at the moment.
3. Nothing else.
Most fun: There’s only one, but it’s good fun to pilot.
Most sensible: It doesn’t get much more sensible than a car that emits nothing other than water vapour.
Next: ratings and breakdown