2020 Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept
Previews the second-generation Toyota Mirai, now with a more conventional four-door designby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 11:03
The 2020 Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept is a show car that previews the second-generation Mirai. Introduced in 2015, the Toyota Mirai was the first hydrogen production model offered in North America. The 2020 Mirai Sedan Concept shows a completely redesigned model on the outside, now featuring a sportier body with a four-door sedan layout. The production model will arrive in late 2020.
Although it’s labeled as a concept car, this vehicle gives us serious hints as to what to expect from the production-ready second-gen Mirai. That’s because the car you’ll find in dealerships will be almost identical. The big news besides the new exterior design and the more refined interior is the Premium RWD Platform that replaces the old architecture. And yes, this means that the second-gen Mirai will drop the FWD layout in favor of a sportier RWD setup. Toyota also promises a 30 percent increase in driving range and increased hydrogen capacity.
2020 Toyota Mirai Sedan Concept
- Proper four-door sedan layout
- Massive Lexus-like front grille
- Twin headlamps
- Pointy nose
- Sleek profile
- Coupe-style roof
- Thin, horizontal taillights
- Integrated trunk lid spoiler
- Diffuser-like element
- Ready to go into production
Now a full-fledged sedan, it features a notably longer front hood and a much lower beltline
The Mirai Sedan Concept is a big departure from the first-generation Mirai. Not just in looks, but also in terms of body layout. The original Mirai features a somewhat unusual design with very tall side panels, a notchback style roof, and triangular taillights placed unusually low in the rear fascia. While decidedly modern and even somewhat futuristic here and there, the first-generation Mirai didn’t really fit alongside usual cars with widely accepted design features. Just like the Prius, it was of the "love it or leave it" variety. The Mirai Sedan Concept moves the Mirai away from that category and places it among the "socially acceptable" designs.
To better understand this we need to look at the concept’s profile. Now a full-fledged sedan, it features a notably longer front hood and a much lower beltline. The roof is still high, like on the first-gen Mirai, but it becomes sportier towards the back thanks to a coupe-style design. The big quarter windows and thin D-pillars are obviously reminiscent of the old model.
The massive front grille is inspired by recent Lexus models
Up front, only the slim headlamps and the trapezoidal center section of the bumper remind of the first-gen Mirai. But even these features have been redesigned. The headlamps are longer and more angular, and also extend further to the sides, along the edges of the hood. Below, the Mirai Sedan has an extra pair of slimmer lights that should be LED daytime running lights. These are separated by a slim body-colored strip from the bigger headlamps and the end result is very similar to the boomerang-shaped lights seen on some Lexus models.
The trapezoidal grille in the bumper is much larger than on the old Mirai. Clearly inspired by recent Toyota and Lexus models, it stretches from the "Toyota" emblem on the nose all the way to the splitter-like element at the bottom. Being an EV, the Mirai Sedan doesn’t need such a massive grille for cooling, but Toyota is obviously aiming to make an impression here. Unlike the old Mirai, this concept doesn’t have side intakes. The nose is rather bulky and extends in front of the rest of the fascia by a good couple of inches. It reminds me a bit of the third-generation Yaris, which also had a pointy, but smaller nose.
The Mirai Sedan even has a diffuser-like element and trim that replicates exhaust pipes
The rear end of the Mirai Sedan is also a massive departure from the old design. While the first-gen car looks downright unusual from behind, the Sedan Concept is a full-fledged sedan with conventional horizontal taillights, an integrated spoiler, and even a diffuser like element. Also inspired by Lexus models and large Toyota sedans, it features LED taillights that stretch over the entire width of the fascia, with really slim elements on each side of the "Toyota" badge. The lines that define the edges of the trapezoidal license place extend into the corners of the bumper to form a larger design element that mimics the shape of the front grille. The Mirai Sedan even has a diffuser-like element and trim that replicates exhaust pipes, even though this car doesn’t need them.
Overall, the Mirai Sedan looks more aerodynamic and emotional than its predecessor, without being too aggressive. Toyota also managed to avoid the dull looks specific to some hybrids and EVs without going over the top with overly futuristic lines.
- Clean and modern
- Continuous air-vent strip
- Digital instrument cluster
- Multi-function steering wheel
- 12.3-inch infotainment
- Contrast stitching
- Leather upholstery
- 14-speaker audio system
The dashboard features a continuous air-vent strip that extends from the top of the center console to the A/C vent on the passenger side
The interior of the Mirai Sedan Concept looks clean and modern. More importantly, it looks way better than the old Mirai, which had a rather cluttered center console. Also unlike the old Mirai, the concept has an actual instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. This feature makes the cabin look a lot more familiar and probably more appealing to customers. Although some automakers, mostly French, replaced instrument clusters with consoles placed on the center dash, it’s a feature that’s not exactly popular with consumers, so Toyota is probably trying to keep the Mirai as familiar as possible.
The instrument cluster itself is fully digital and quite large. Toyota says it has an eight-inch diagonal, but it looks a bit bigger than that. The infotainment display, on the other hand, has a 12.3-inch diagonal, so it’s on par with what you get in luxury cars. The good news is that Toyota confirmed that this feature will be standard in the production model.
The dashboard has an interesting flowing design with a continuous air-vent strip that extends from the top of the center console to the A/C vent on the passenger side. It looks pretty high-tech, although the off-set controls on the center stack aren’t as appealing. I can also see big cup holders and even a wireless charging tray in the center console, so the new Mirai should be good on the convenience front. Speaking of that, Toyota also promises a 14-speaker JBL sound system as standard.
The infotainment display has a 12.3-inch diagonal, so it's on par with what you get in luxury cars
The Japanese carmaker didn’t have much to say about other features, but the instrument cluster seems to have a good resolution, while the steering wheel packs loads of controls and features high-grip areas. The design of the door panels and the seats are far from special, but the contrast stitching and the leather inserts give them a premium look.
Since the exterior of the Mirai Sedan seems significantly longer and a tad wider than the old model, it’s safe to assume that passenger space has improved. No specs are available yet, but shoulder room should be better in the front and in the rear, while rear-seat legroom should be significantly better than the old model. Toyota also says that the Mirai Sedan has a more quieter interior thanks to enhanced insulation and a less noisy drivetrain.
- New RWD architecture
- Fuel cell drivetrain
- Hydrogen powered
- At least 150 horsepower
- More than 250 pound-feet of torque
- At least 400 miles of range
- Official details unknown
- The most efficient FCEV on the market?
The big news here is that the Mirai Sedan Concept rides on a new architecture.
Called the Premium RWD Platform, it's completely different from the architecture used for the first-generation Mirai.
Most notably, it has a rear-wheel-driven layout, whereas the first-gen Mirai has a FWD configuration.
Toyota has yet to unveil technical details of the drivetrain, but confirmed that the second-gen Mirai remains a hydrogen-powered vehicle. If you’re not familiar with the concept, the Mirai is basically an electric vehicle, but it doesn’t need to be plugged in to recharge. That’s because it features fuel cells that combine the hydrogen stored in a tank with oxygen from the air to produce electric current, heat, and water. The electric power feeds the motors, while water remains the only tailpipe emission.
But the lack of pollutant emissions isn’t the only advantage that comes with a hydrogen-powered car. Unlike an electric vehicle, which needs several hours to charge its batteries, a hydrogen car needs only about five minutes to fill up its tanks. That’s as much as you need to refuel a conventional (gas or diesel) automobile. What’s more, hydrogen can be produced locally and sustainably, although hydrogen fuelling stations aren’t as common as EV recharging stations in either North America or Europe.
Toyota didn’t say whether the new drivetrain is based on that in the previous Mirai. But since the new car rides on a brand-new platform, the Japanese firm probably redesigned almost every component from scratch. What we do know so far is that the Mirai Sedan will boast increased hydrogen storage capacity and a 30-percent increase in driving range. The first-generation Mirai is rated at 312 miles by the EPA (66 mpg combined equivalent), so the second-gen model should return more than 400 miles per single charge.
The first-generation Mirai features a fuel cell that generates 153 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque.
It remains unclear whether the new drivetrain is more potent, but don’t expect a significant increase in this department. The old Mirai needs around nine seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, a number that should remain relatively unchanged for the second-gen vehicle. Expect a top speed of around 110 mph.
Toyota used the launch of the Mirai Sedan Concept to brag about its FCEV technology and how hydrogen cars could become just as sustainable as electric vehicles. The Japanese firm says that it’s also testing fuel cell powertrains for class-eight semi-trucks that can pull up to 80,000 pounds, with a test fleet of Kenworth models already in use in and around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Although I’m not a fan of the old Prius design-wise, I really liked what Toyota did with the latest-generation hybrid and the first-gen Mirai. They’re not exactly beauty contest winners, but they look modern, they feel youthful, and boast a high-tech vibe. It’s exactly what I’m looking for in an electrified car, although I’m not against hybrid or EV versions of more common nameplates.
But I’m actually glad to see that Toyota redesigned the Mirai into a more common looking car. It doesn’t look as unique as its predecessor, but it’s recognizable as a regular sedan and it boasts a premium vibe that reminds me of Lexus vehicles. Could this be the solution to making the Mirai a more popular choice? It’s too early to answer this question, but I think Toyota is heading in the right direction.
Of course, it remains to be seen how much of this concept car will go into production, but we’re looking at a show car that looks ready to hit the assembly line without major changes.
Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Mirai.