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The Toyota Mirai is unfairly getting lumped in with a lot of poor-selling cars for the wrong reasons. Look up “worst-selling cars” and there it is, among the worst. In fact, Toyota has only sold a few thousand of these sultry luxury sedans since the car was launched in 2015.

The Toyota Mirai isn’t a top seller, and that’s OK. It’s a shame that it falls on those lists. That’s a shame because it’s interesting, it has Lexus-like levels of fit and finish, an interesting if not beautiful design, and one of the most futuristic powertrains available today.

It’s not the car,  it’s the engine

A white Toyota Mirai parked in front of a luxury house
The 2023 Toyota Mirai is hydrogen-powered | Toyota

The problem isn’t the car, it’s how it’s powered The Mirai is a hydrogen-powered car. It is one of just three hydrogen-powered cars you can buy at a dealer. The Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity are the others. Chances are you’ve never seen one on the road. 

The U.S. has just 54 public hydrogen stations, and 53 are in California, and that’s one reason it’s only sold there. So, that’s a major obstacle to most people buying, (or leasing in the Honda’s case), one of these cars. But, if you live near a hydrogen station, it may be practical.

How does a hydrogen fuel cell engine work?

The Toyota Mirai fuel cell engine.
The 2023 Toyota Mirai fuel cell engine | Toyota

These hydrogen-powered cars use fuel cells to make electricity. Very basically, there are two electrodes, a negative and a positive, and then an anode. The hydrogen is fed to the anode and a catalyst that break up the protons and electrons, creating electricity. That electricity is send to an electric motor and a battery. The best part of a hydrogen car is that the only emissions are water. That’s one reason that many forklifts you’ll find in warehouses today aren’t gas-powered, they’re hydrogen-powered.

What that means for the Mirai is that it makes 182 horsepower and it gets 357 miles of range on a full tank, or up to 402 miles on the extended-range Mirai XLE. It’s also electric-car quiet since it’s basically electric. Also, it only takes about five minutes to fully fill a hydrogen tank.

What is the 2023 Toyota Mirai?

We’ll admit the Toyota Mirai is a strange car. It has some Toyota Crown styling elements, a grille that doesn’t really resemble its Toyota brethren, and a cabin that looks like it came from the Lexus store across the street. Its styling is both conservative and upscale like it was destined to be a Lexus but the company decided against that at the last minute.

It’s not super quick, like most electrics, but it reportedly will go from 0-60 mph in about 7.5 seconds, which is about as quick as a Chevy Tahoe SUV. It’s rear-wheel drive. It has Toyota’s latest Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ with adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

How much is a Toyota Mirai?

2022 Toyota Mirai hydrogen-powered sedan | Toyota

A Mirai starts at $50,595 for a well-equipped XLE version. The Limited is a more luxury-focused version, but it starts at $66,955 and has less range. Either way, the fuel cell powertrain has an impressive eight-year 100,000-mile warranty, and the battery is under warranty for 10 years or $150,000 miles. Though Toyota has only sold a few thousand Mirais since 2015, and only about 5,000 since a 2021 redesign, according to car sales tracking firm GoodCarBadCar, it is proving the hydrogen concept.

However, it does come with $15,000 in complimentary fuel, whether you lease or buy. Try getting that with a Camry.  


Does the 2022 Toyota Mirai Limited Accomplish Anything Useful With Its $66K Price Tag?