The 2018 Toyota Mirai is an electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell with a range of up to 300 miles. With only water vapor emitting from its tailpipe, the Mirai may seem the perfect alternative-energy car, but Honda’ s Clarity Fuel Cell offers more room, more power and a more pleasant ride.
You'll Like The 2018 Toyota Mirai If...
If you need to one-up your Prius and Bolt-driving green buddies, the hydrogen-powered 2018 Mirai is the car that can do it. Toyota picks up the fuel bill for the first three years, provided the total doesn’t exceed $15,000.
You May Not Like The 2018 Toyota Mirai If...
The Mirai isn’t particularly practical if you don’t live near a hydrogen refueling station and even less so if you need to travel long distances. You can get a Prius plug-in hybrid for a lot less, or the larger Honda Clarity Fuel Cell for about the same price.
The 2018 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle carries over unchanged.
If the 2018 Toyota Mirai’s interior seems unremarkable, it's because it bears a striking resemblance to the company’s other EVs and hybrids, most notably the Prius Prime. A large center-mounted infotainment screen with bright graphics is the focal point inside the car, above which resides a center-mounted instrument display. Below the infotainment screen reside a flurry of buttons and touch-activated climate controls, as well as the gear-selection lever. Seating for four is standard, with a center console dividing the rear seats. The front center console conceals a Qi wireless charging pad for smartphones so equipped.
The futuristic exterior of Toyota’s Mirai is partly stylistic and partly dictated by necessity. The two massive front intakes funnel cool air to the car’s three radiators (fuel cells produce a lot of heat), while the overall shape improves aerodynamics to help cheat the wind. While Toyota explained that the design theme of the Mirai is that of flowing water, with a rear end resembling a catamaran, most people will most likely mistake it for just another Prius Prime.
If you didn’t know hydrogen and oxygen were combining under the driver’s seat (that’s where the fuel cell is stored) to power the 2018 Toyota Mirai’s electric motor, you might easily think you were driving just another electric car. The absence of motor noise takes some getting used to, but the overall driving experience is very much like being behind the wheel of Toyota’s Prius hybrid, that is to say, pleasant but not thrilling. Push the button to “start” the car, shift the console lever into Drive and press the accelerator and off you go. As electric motors are pure torque, acceleration is brisk and the 2018 Toyota Mirai’s ride and handling feel very familiar. Also familiar are Toyota mainstays, like the Entune connectivity and slider-based climate controls. A large center-mounted screen displays usage and range, and is placed at the windshield’s base similar to the setup in the Prius.
As is the case with many fuel-cell vehicles, there is an option to lease. In the case of the 2018 Toyota Mirai, $2,499 will be due at signing, and the lease is $349 a month for 36 months with a 12,000-mile-per-year allowance. Unlike other FCVs, however, you can buy the new Mirai. While buying one would cost $59,250, and though the federal tax credit from last year has expired, California still offers a $5,000 rebate. As the Mirai is such a unique vehicle, resale information is still unavailable, but given Toyota’s reputation, we suspect as other FCVs come to market, the Mirai will hold its value better than most.
The 2018 Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle comes with numerous features as standard, many of which are aimed at making hydrogen life easier. Hydrogen fill-ups are free for three years. Entune comes standard, along with three years of Safety Connect (including the hydrogen-station map app). Also standard are dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 11-speaker JBL Premium audio with navigation, Smart Key with push-button start, 8-way-power driver’s and passenger seats with driver power-lumbar support, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and emergency braking, a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.
With a vehicle this specialized and with a premium price, it should come as no surprise that there are no factory options and just a few dealer add-ons.
Conveniently located beneath the center-console armrest, the Mirai’s Qi wireless charging pad makes it easy to store and charge your smartphone without a nasty tangle of cords and wires running from the 12-volt or USB sockets.
Calming fears around any new technology is always a good idea, so Toyota offers an extensive suite of services for future Mirai owners including a concierge service, a loner vehicle for when the car is in the shop, three years’ free fuel and an app for locating current and future hydrogen fuel stations.
Under the Hood
The 2018 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle doesn’t use an engine. At its heart it's an electric car, but instead of plugging into an outlet, owners fill the tank with hydrogen. That combines with oxygen to produce electricity, which powers the car's motor. The Mirai's electric motor uses an ECVT, a continuously variable automatic transmission, like the Prius. Refueling takes a mere five minutes.
Fuel cell stack, electric motor
247 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 67 MPGe (estimated), 312-mile range
In the 2018 Toyota Mirai, we get a glimpse of a future that could be, but probably won’t. That’s because the Mirai is an electric vehicle powered by hydrogen or, more precisely, by a hydrogen fuel cell. A fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and its only byproduct is water vapor. Sounds like the ideal answer to global warming and fossil-fuel dependence, no? Well, no. A limited number of refueling station operating only in Southern California and the fossil-fuel-intensive process needed to make hydrogen are two huge stumbling blocks, but it’s nice that Toyota offers a 4-passenger zero-emission car with a 300-mile range that can be leased for around $350 a month.