Ultimate Makeover: Toyota's 2021 Mirai Concept Is a Sexy New RWD Sport Sedan
Four-doors. Rear-Drive. Swoopy coupe-like looks. A Toyota badge. Hear all these things and your mind start imagining all sorts of possibilities. A sedan based on the 86 platform? A rebirth of a popular nameplate like the Chaser or Altezza.
Unfortunately that's not exactly what the big T's latest concept car is hinting at. Instead, the just unveiled 2021 Mirai Sedan Concept represents a dramatic reinvention of one of Toyota's must unusual alternative fuel vehicles.
It goes without saying that battery electric vehicles have become the primary path forward on the move away from internal combustion engines, but Toyota and Honda have continued exploring the idea of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with Honda's Clarity and Toyota's Mirai.
Running on compressed hydrogen fuel rather than gasoline, the current Mirai first went on sale back in 2015 and just as notable as its unique fuel source was its looks—which to put it lightly wasn't the most elegant or attractive looking car on the road.
Toyota though isn't giving up on its hydrogen fuel cell program, and if the concept car is anything to go by the second generation Mirai might just represent the largest leap in style and performance that any car has ever had from one generation to another.
Not only does the 2021 Mirai Concept not look anything like the first generation car, it also moves to larger rear wheel drive platform that it shares with certain Lexus products like the new LS. The idea is to present to the Mirai as stylish and better performing machine that buyers will choose not just because of its eco-friendly hydrogen powertrain.
No official specs on the car have been released at this point, but Toyota is promising at least a 30% increase in range along with improved interior space, handling and acceleration that will come from the bigger platform.
Hydrogen vehicles offer numerous benefits over both internal combustion and battery electric vehicles as the feature both zero emisisons and the driving characteristics of an EV but with the short fueling times of a gas car. The biggest thing holding them is the lack of fueling infrastructure to support them. Right now hydrogen fueling stations can really only be found in certain parts of California, and making the fuel as common as gasoline would be a huge undertaking.
While it's officially being called a concept, Toyota says the second generation Mirai will go on sale in late 2020 and if it looks similar to the concept version and drives as well as Toyota is claiming it may just be exactly the spark the hydrogen car movement needs.
Want to hear about more new RWD cars coming from Japan in the future? Check out what Mazda is working on.