2016 TOYOTA MIRAI UPDATE 2: MIRAI VS. CLARITY

The Toyota Mirai has a new competitor. In December, Honda rolled out the first copies of its Clarity Fuel Cell, taking aim at the Mirai, which is the only other hydrogen fuel cell sedan on the market. Here are a few ways the two vehicles compare:

DIMENSIONS

The two cars might look wildly different from one another, but the Clarity shares similar dimensions to the Mirai. It measures just 0.2 inch longer and 2.4 inches wider. The Mirai is 2.2 inches taller and has a wheelbase 1.1 inches longer.

CABIN LAYOUT

Step inside the Clarity, and you’re greeted with a spacious cabin. An open center console lets you store items between the two front seats, unlike the Mirai, which features a closed center console. Both models have special features that make them unique from other vehicles in their respective brands. For instance, suede fabric runs along the doors and the dashboard of the Clarity.

Although the Clarity offers an elegant and airy cabin, I personally prefer the futuristic feel of the Mirai’s interior. The unique buttonless touchpad area between the front seats is a clever way to operate climate controls, and carbon-fiber accents add a bit of extra personality. The infotainment screen juts out in front of the dashboard, and a digital instrument cluster is recessed deeper into the cabin, providing a multilayered look.

NUMBER OF SEATS

The Mirai boasts four very comfortable seats lined in SofTex, a synthetic leather material. That said, the Clarity has the obvious advantage here because it has a total of five leather-trimmed seats.

CONVENIENCE FEATURES

Both the Mirai and the Clarity come with heated front seats, but only the Mirai has heated rear seats. It’s a feature my passengers typically marvel at when they’re first introduced to the Mirai. However, the Clarity offers a head-up display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, features the Mirai doesn’t have.

PERFORMANCE

The Clarity produces 174 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque with help from an electric motor, lithium-ion battery, and fuel cell. Using its own electric motor, nickel-metal hydride battery, and fuel cell stack, the Mirai delivers 153 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque but weighs 55.5 pounds less. Although the Mirai has Prius-like driving characteristics, the Clarity feels much like a typical Honda in the way it steers.

RANGE

According to EPA figures, the Mirai can travel 312 miles on a single fill-up, and the Clarity is rated to travel 366 miles. Of course, range can vary greatly, and it’s hard to know how these numbers hold up in real driving scenarios until we’ve tested the cars for longer periods of time.

PRICE/RETAIL STRATEGY

Point: Mirai. Toyota is the only automaker that gives drivers the choice of buying or leasing its hydrogen vehicle. A 2017 Mirai is available to purchase for $58,365, and a new lease price has brought down the cost of the model to $349 a month with $2,499 due at signing for qualifying customers. Meanwhile, the Clarity Fuel Cell is only available for lease, at a price of $369 per month with $2,868 down. (These prices exclude green tax credits.) Both models offer $15,000 worth of fuel and 21 days of rental car service over the course of three years.

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