2016 Toyota Mirai: Lexus Lite Interior
James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on May 17, 2016
If you're going to pay nearly $60,000 for a Toyota, it had better not have the interior of a $30,000 Prius. Thankfully, our long-term 2016 Toyota Mirai does not. Indeed, its cabin is what I would call "Lexus Lite," wherein it's a clear step above other Toyotas yet not quite to the level of the company's luxury division.
The materials themselves come pretty close to the exceptional Lexus norm, especially the leather-esque material that covers much of the doors and part of the dash (photo below). There is a rich, distinctive and slightly coarse texture to it that only Lexus does and it covers a nicely padded under-surface. Everything seems very well put together, too.
Caption: A closer look at the leather-like material that covers much of the doors and some of the dash. It's even a nice shade of dark blue.
Where it really differs from a Lexus is more related to style, design and technology choices than actual quality. The gloss black center console isn't cheap in look or feel, but it would also be out of a place in an IS 200t or NX 200t. The Toyota Entune touchscreen also wouldn't be found in a Lexus, which is a shame, since it's easier to use than Remote Touch and doesn't take up space on the center console with its silly joystick/touchpad controller.
One questionable area, though, is the SofTex simulated leather upholstery. Besides making things a bit swampy, it doesn't look or feel like the real cow-sourced stuff. Unlike Mercedes' superb MBTex, SofTex is unmistakably vinyl and is unlikely to fool your passengers. Now, Lexus offers something called NuLuxe simulated vinyl, but I've never had a chance to sample a so-equipped car to see how it compares.
Really, falling short of Lexus excellence shouldn't necessarily be considered a bad thing since it's a pretty high bar. Now, if the Mirai's cabin wasn't bolted to the same car as the future-tastic hydrogen fuel cells, it would be disappointing at $60,000. As it is, though, I think it's appropriate.
James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor