2016 Toyota Mirai: Steering Heft and Parking Effort
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on June 22, 2016
Heavy steering can be good. And heavy steering can be bad. In the case of the 2016 Toyota Mirai it is both. Let me explain...
At highway speeds a nicely weighted steering wheel provides stability. Additional heft filters out unintentional inputs and seems to better keep the car tracking straight. And fewer steering corrections equates to more driver stamina and comfort. The Mirai does that right.
In low-speed situations a heavily weighted steering wheel is a negative attribute. Here the Mirai misses the mark. It requires a concerted effort to turn into parking spaces, for example. On multiple occasions the effort was such that I had to crank overly hard on the wheel to complete even simple maneuvers.
Not helping matters was the turning radius. It's big. The Mirai regularly forced me into five-point turns that other cars this size do in three.
Combined, the steering heft and large turning circle make the Mirai hard to park and generally cumbersome to maneuver in tight quarters. After a week in the Toyota I found these driving characteristics to be my least favorite. That is all.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,500 miles