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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

Toyota sold some 10,000 examples of the first-generation Mirai, which was itself a close relation of the third-generation Prius hybrid of 2010. This second one is aiming for many times that market success, though; and while the car is fuelled and powered the same way, it’s a markedly different car from its predecessor.

Owners of the first Mirai told its maker they wanted longer operating range, and better comfort and practicality, from their cars. At the same time, Toyota wanted to lure new Mirai owners with a car of significantly greater luxuriousness, material quality and static desirability than the original. One that could have the rounded appeal of a really upmarket product, and be desired for reasons besides its sustainability credentials.

Slightly drawn, shark-nosed front end, with its X-shaped sculpture, hints at several other Toyota production cars. It is perhaps a little aggressive for some tastes, but should certainly make the car recognisable on the road

All of which explains why the new Mirai shares a technical architecture not with a Prius but with a rear-driven Lexus LS limousine. The mixed-metal chassis platform has been braced, adapted and reinforced to account for the specific application of a fuel cell powertrain, getting die-cast suspension towers, special sills and ring-shaped bulkhead reinforcements for extra rigidity. Suspension is by steel coils and independent multiple links front and rear.

And so the Mirai becomes a full-sized luxury car: one that’s 85mm longer and 70mm wider than it was, with a wheelbase some 140mm longer also. It now comfortably eclipses the footprint of a current BMW 5 Series. As we’ll go on to explain, the Mirai has now got a proper five-seat cabin too, although boot space is a little more restricted than you might expect.

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In terms of technical layout, the Mirai has been widely redesigned. The hydrogen fuel cell that powers the car is all new. Smaller, 42% lighter and 12% more powerful than before, it has been moved from under the front seats to fit under the bonnet.

That stack takes compressed air from the atmosphere and combines it with compressed hydrogen gas stored in three separate tanks: two are arranged in a T shape within the wheelbase while the third is under the boot floor. They store up to 5.6kg of hydrogen – up from 5.0kg in the old car – which makes for a claimed WLTP range of up to 400 miles at just under 70mpkg of hydrogen; the Mk1 Mirai delivered 331 miles at just over 66mpkg. That’s quite something when you consider that the old model was not only smaller but officially 75kg lighter than the new one, and will also have presented less aerodynamic frontal area to the wind.

This car is propelled by a new electric motor that is housed just above the rear axle and channels its drive through a single-speed transmission. Its power is drawn primarily from the car’s fuel cell stack, but can be buffered and topped up by a 1.24kWh lithium ion battery that is located just above the drive motor and rear wheels.