Two ecologists from Toyota: hydrogen Mirai and hybrid Prius

In the United States, buyers of such machines are given cash grants – from three to seven thousand dollars. Being environmentally friendly is prestigious, profitable and convenient? And what about the pleasure of driving? We try to answer these questions by testing two eco-models Toyota – the fourth-generation Prius hybrid and the Mirai sedan on fuel cells.

And he lost weight

– I wanted to spit on these hybrids at the current low prices for gasoline! I’ll still ride my Lincoln!

Impregnated with the sincere cynicism of the phrase of the driver of a small family transport company who met me at the airport in Los Angeles a few months ago, remembered here, on the training ground in the vicinity of Tokyo. At that moment, when in my palm was the key to the hybrid Prius. The next, the fourth is already a generation. He looked at Japanese engineers and marketers with smiling faces fixed on their faces, thinking about how they were going to sell their new creation. For example, this is the guy from the most environmentally friendly American state that so adores his ancient Lincoln Town Car at a cost of about 20 liters per hundred. After all, if you manage to convince those like him, the new hybrid will become a bestseller even in the era of cheap oil.

Yes, now the Prius is even more economical than before. The declared average fuel consumption is only two and a half liters per hundred. Even if the real grows to four, it’s still an excellent result. But a guy from California, while petrol is cheap, does not want to load his head with cares about ecology and economy, he also has comfort to serve. And in the past “Prius” and behind the wheel was a bit crowded, and behind the high passenger and did nothing at all.

Did the car built on the TNGA modular platform become more comfortable? If your height is above average, then the positive changes are felt right away, as soon as you sit behind the wheel or on the second row. The first impression: and in the shoulders is freer, and there are more places above the head, and it is not necessary to pinch your legs. It seems that the effect of increasing space is achieved not only due to the increased body dimensions and reduced dimensions of the main units and assemblies, but also thanks to the seats lower than before.

The car is now quite suitable for a taxi. It’s the taxi drivers who use cars around the clock, more than other traffic participants pollute the air. A Prius fourth generation and money will save, and harmful emissions will help dramatically reduce. Yes, and passengers to comfort is a sin to complain.

Today I was allowed to drive only a couple of laps on the track. All as before – silent start and smooth acceleration on electric traction. Then connect the gasoline engine. Only count on a fast overclocking is not necessary. Although the Prius also lost weight decently – a hundred kilograms, weight loss did not affect the dynamics. After all, the engineers of the company kept the balance, reducing the power of the power plant from 136 to 122 horses.

“Follow me,” warns the instructor on the walkie-talkie, heading the motorcade of several hybrids. “And do not you dare change the trajectory!” I pretend that I did not understand the far from perfect English of the Japanese overseer. I have my own trajectory! Sharp driving with steep turns. Similar freaks on the former Prius threatened to lose control of the car. But now you can allow yourself more – the reaction to provocation is absolutely calm, only light slips and minimal heels. The point here, by the way, is not only in the significantly increased rigidity of the body due to new tough steel grades and laser welding. In the rear suspension instead of the beam is now multi-lever. The steering system was also reconfigured, making it more responsive.

The fuel consumption in the more or less active style of movement, of course, is far from the declared – more than five liters. Trying to weave a circle around the track, meeting the record low standard?

– Get out! It’s time to change the car!

It seems that the Japanese have read my thoughts. Well, it remains to wait for a long test to check how much the Prius is green …

Let’s go without dirt!

Hydrogen sedan Mirai – the next dish of my eco-tasting. A car with zero exhaust (from the pipe in the rear bumper comes out steam) though launched into the series, but it still looks like some kind of alien from the future. And the exterior is futuristic, and inside the designers allowed to frolic: the front panel is done in a very avant-garde manner. Almost challenging combination of high-tech and minimalism.

But with ergonomics is not all right – it is not possible to get comfortable in a driver’s seat. The chair is set too high, and the steering wheel is smaller than in conventional cars. So what’s the deal? I address this issue to the engineers. Smiling nervously, they point with a gesture under the armchair – it was there that they hid the block with the fuel cells. So the pedestal for the seat turned out. But was it not possible in that case to remodel the steering column? My question puts the interlocutors at a dead end. It turns out that for the sake of economy they took a standard knot from Prius … But on the second row it is not so closely – as in a usual sedan of the middle class.

In motion, the Mirai is perceived as a classic electric car. Although he is in fact them and is. After a chemical reaction, hydrogen in fuel cells interacts with oxygen. As a result, water vapor is formed and electricity is generated, which then goes to a 154-horsepower electric motor. Ask: why then hydrogen? There are several answers in favor of gas. The main one is fast refueling, which does not take more than five minutes. Only hydrogen gas stations are still a bit even in the most environmentally concerned countries. For example, in Japan there are only 80 of them now. It remains to believe the promises: in five years, such refueling will become quite common in the country of the rising sun, and in California.

I have the same program – two laps on the track. I try to speed up quickly both from a place, so on the move. You always get smooth and smooth acceleration. Power mode does not change the character of Mirai much: it does not want to become an absolutely evil hydrogen car. Acceleration to a hundred – just under ten seconds.

But noise insulation, by the way, is not bad. And at some points here, at the training ground, there is an illusion of isolation from the outside world: as if you do not move around in space, and space spins around. But this is a polygon … On ordinary roads, such silence in the cabin, of course, will no longer be.

By the way, about the money. For Mirai dealers ask for $ 60,000. Three times more than for a similar in size car with a conventional gasoline engine. Here, even a subsidy of $ 7,000 can not awaken the desire to buy such a miracle of technology. You need to think ahead of time. Or very much to love nature?

Brief technical specification
Toyota Prius

Overall dimensions, cm 454,0х176,0х147,0
Wheelbase, cm 270,0`
The equipped weight, kg 1.280
Power of the power plant 122 hp
Drive type front
Average fuel consumption, l 2.5

Brief technical specification
Toyota Mirai

Overall dimensions, cm 489,0х181,5х153,5
Wheelbase, cm 278,0
The equipped weight, kg 1.850
Electric motor power 154 hp
The twisting moment of 335 Nanometers
Drive type front
Maximum speed, km / h 170
Acceleration from 0-100 km / h, from 9.6
Power reserve, km 550