Used 2016 Toyota Mirai Sedan Review
The 2016 Toyota Mirai is a comfortable, high-tech sedan with more range than any plug-in electric vehicle, but its hydrogen fuel-cell power system limits initial availability to certain regions of California.
If Toyota has its way, the 2016 Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car could go down in popular history as the car that brought the future to us. Its name, after all, means "the future" in Japanese. Forget the Prius, the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3, Toyota executives say; the Mirai and its hydrogen fuel-cell technology is the first step in the next century of the automobile.
If you ask Toyota, the 2016 Mirai signals that the future is now.
The beauty of hydrogen fuel-cell cars is that they deliver all of the benefits of electric cars without being limited by a charging cord. The all-new 2016 Toyota Mirai sedan seeks to optimize this formula, promising a fuel-cell system that is lighter, smaller and less expensive than anything that's come before it. On the road, the Mirai delivers 300 miles of range, putting most plug-in electric cars to shame.
At the moment, however, the future is mostly confined to California, where the majority of just a handful of current public hydrogen stations are located. So it is with the 2016 Mirai, which is only available in the Golden State. Toyota says it has plans to sell the Mirai in the Northeast, too, pending the construction of new hydrogen stations between Massachusetts and New Jersey. But for the time being, California residence is a must for Mirai ownership.
If you've got that part down, and you're not overly concerned about hydrogen fuel safety (you shouldn't be), this Toyota is certainly a car worth considering. One question, of course, is how you feel about the polarizing exterior styling. Toyota designed the Mirai to stand out from the crowd, and it does so with a daring shape marked by radical angles, scoops, curves and accent lines. Inside, the Mirai's spaceship-like instrument layout makes another strong impression. There are just four seats, though; engineers decreed that the added weight of a fifth passenger would hurt both range and performance, so there's no middle seat in the back.
If you want your next car to have "hydrogen" written all over it, the Mirai is pretty much without competition. The only other fuel-cell vehicle in the retail market right now is the California-only Hyundai Tucson FCEV, and supplies are very limited. Honda plans to launch its own fuel-cell sedan sometime in 2016, but the next batch of fuel-cell vehicles will require a longer wait. For now, at least, the Edmunds "B" rated 2016 Toyota Mirai is indeed "the future" of hydrogen-powered cars.
trim levels & features
The 2016 Toyota Mirai is a four-door sedan with seating for four. It's available in a single trim level.
An official list of features was not available as of this writing, but we expect standard equipment on the 2016 Mirai to include 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED headlights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, neoprene-look cloth upholstery, eight-way heated power front seats with power lumbar adjustments, heated rear seats, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, a navigation system with a fuel-station finder, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity and a JBL audio system with satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary jack.
The Mirai's standard equipment list appropriately includes a number of high-tech items, including an 8-inch touchscreen interface.
Also standard are a 24-hour concierge service, 24-hour roadside service, three years of free maintenance and an 8-year or 100,000-mile warranty on all fuel-cell system components.
The sole option is a trunk-mounted power take-off system that enables the Mirai to serve as an emergency generator, providing up to 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity from a full load of hydrogen, sufficient to power a small home for up to a week, Toyota says.
performance & mpg
Driving the front wheels of the 2016 Toyota Mirai is a front-mounted electric motor that delivers 151 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. A Prius-sized 1.6-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery mounted behind the rear seats stores some of the juice generated by the fuel-cell system for use when an extra burst of power is needed.
In Edmunds track testing, a 2016 Mirai accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, beating the 2016 Prius by 1.1 seconds. Top speed is 111 mph. Toyota says the Mirai can travel about 300 miles on the 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of pressurized hydrogen it carries. With 1 kilogram of hydrogen delivering the same amount of energy as a gallon of regular gasoline, that's a fuel-efficiency equivalent of 60 mpg.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Mirai includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags and a rearview camera. Active safety equipment includes lane-departure alert, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control and a frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking. Special hydrogen sensors will issue warnings and shut down the hydrogen tanks' stop valves if they detect a hydrogen leak.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 2016 Mirai stopped from 60 mph in 130 feet, a longish distance that's nonetheless not unusual among hybrids and EVs.
Ride quality in the 2016 Toyota Mirai is smooth and comfortable. Thanks in part to the weight of the low-slung fuel-cell stack, the Mirai feels secure around the turns. Steering and suspension feedback are pretty numb, but this isn't a car you buy for the thrill of tearing through corners or dancing along tortuous mountain routes.
As in any electric car, all of the 2016 Toyota Mirai's torque is available as soon as you start pressing the accelerator, so the car feels rather quick from zero to 40 mph. Things slow down after that, so acceleration during highway passing can be relatively sluggish, but we suspect most drivers will be just fine with the Mirai's level of performance.
Some might find the 2016 Mirai's styling a bit too adventurous, but it certainly stands out in a crowd.
The brakes feel firm and sure, though, and while the Mirai's rather mild regenerative braking system won't let you slow the car almost to a dead stop without applying the brake pedal (as is the case with some electric cars), it also won't alarm you with an abrupt jerk when you lift off the accelerator pedal.
Without the background noise of an internal combustion engine, the Mirai's cabin remains fairly quiet. At lower speeds, the clicking hydrogen injectors, humming hydrogen pump and whining air compressor are faintly audible, but never intrusive.
Toyota lavished Lexus-like quality on the Mirai's cabin, with soft-touch materials at all the places where people come into contact with interior surfaces. Fit and finish is excellent. The instrumentation and controls are generally user-friendly, although the instrument panel can take a little getting used to, as it floats directly above the center stack on the top level of the Prius-like two-tier dash. There's nothing behind the steering wheel where the gauges usually reside.
There's a lot going on with the 2016 Mirai's dashboard.
The supportive front seats are roomy but still grippy, and there's plenty of head-, leg- and hiproom in all four seating positions. A large armrest with an integrated storage bin separates the heated rear seats. On the downside, the center console's storage compartments are fairly small, and the expanse of glossy plastic surrounding the climate controls is a magnet for fingerprints.
Because the car was designed from the start to be a fuel-cell vehicle, the bulky fuel tanks and battery don't intrude much into either cabin or trunk space. The Mirai's trunk isn't as large as that of most conventional cars its size, but it's still roomy enough to handle typical chores like grocery shopping or runs to Target.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.