The new second-generation Toyota Mirai finally went on sale in December 2020. The name, which translates literally to ‘future’, is apt in many respects. The vehicle is among the first commercially-available vehicles to be based on a hydrogen engine. It boasts an impressive 528 mile range, and is limited to just fifteen in the UK this year (adding to the twelve released in the UK last year).
Given that this vehicle is such a trailblazer, you’d expect the manufacturer to be extremely discerning about what tyres they’re strapping to the underside of the vehicle. The newest model Mirai ships with Falken’s Azensis FK150s.
Of course, you needn’t buy a new-fangled hydrogen-powered car to get the benefit of these tyres; you can buy tyres online from reputable dealers at discounted rates, which allows you to save money on replacements, if you’ve got the skills needed to fit them yourself.
What’s driving the decision?
The new Azensis offers several distinct advantages over its predecessor. It’s been crafted to offer a more comfortable ride, and less noise. The asymmetrical tread pattern ensures that pressure is distributed evenly across the contact footprint, which helps to drive up speed and manoeuvrability, even when driving at high speeds. The rounded design allows for greater flexibility in the sidewall, which is part of the reason for the increased comfort and decreased noise.
Testing by AutoExpress revealed excellent performance in straight-line tests, but a weakness on dry roads, where it compared poorly in dry-road testing, dead last out of the roundup when it came to braking in dry conditions. Users on Tyrereviews are quick to praise the ride quality, which strikes a balance between comfort and sporty handling. However, many complained that the tyre needed replacing sooner than expected.
It remains to be seen whether Toyota’s gamble with experimental hydrogen fuel will ultimately pay off. The technology promises to be potentially cleaner than a traditional EV, as the driver can be sure that the electricity that ultimately powers the motor has come from a renewable source. However, the UK does not yet have a reliable infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations, which may make life difficult for those who take the leap early on.
The Mirai, for all its many virtues, has yet to win over motoring journalists, who point to the cost and the lacklustre handing as reasons to stay away. And yet these problems are likely to be addressed in subsequent iterations from Toyota, much as the company did with their other ground-breaking vehicles, like the Prius. If this current gamble proves successful, then those subsequent offerings might well ship with Azensis tyres, too.