ADR 85: Every car affected by Australia’s strict new side impact safety rules

adr-85:-every-car-affected-by-australia’s-strict-new-side-impact-safety-rules

Australia will be the first country to introduce new pole side impact safety regulations for existing vehicles, starting this November. Here’s everything you need to know.

Stricter side impact safety regulations coming into effect for existing cars, SUVs, and utes over the next two to 14 months are set to kill off – or force updates to – a number of Australia’s best-known models, from the Nissan GT-R supercar to the Volkswagen Amarok ute.

Here’s what you need to know about the new regulations, officially known as “Australian Design Rule 85/00 – Pole Side Impact Performance” (or ADR 85).


What is ADR 85, and when does it come into effect?

Proposed by Australia at the United Nations’ World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in March 2010, the new regulations – known within Australian law only as ADR 85 – are designed to reduce serious injuries and fatalities from side-impact crashes with poles, trees and other narrow road objects.

ADR 85 came into effect for newly-introduced passenger cars and SUVs on 1 November 2017, with “light goods” commercial vehicles (utes and vans) with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) below 3.5 tonnes following on 1 July 2018.

Meanwhile, existing passenger cars that first entered production prior to 1 November 2017 won’t be required to comply with the new regulations until 1 November 2021, while sub-3500kg-GVM “light goods” commercial vehicles put into production before 1 July 2018 are only required to comply with ADR 85 from 1 November 2022.

These respective November 2021 and 2022 deadlines refer to the dates individual examples of vehicles are certified as compliant with Australian Design Rule (ADR) standards, rather than when they rolled off the assembly line.

Vehicles manufactured before these dates can still be sold legally in Australia (until 30 June 2022 for passenger vehicles), provided they are certified as compliant with Australian Design Rules prior to the passenger car, SUV or commercial vehicle’s respective cut-off date.

The aforementioned dates make Australia the first to implement the tough new side impact rules, with Japan introducing the laws for new-model passenger cars in 2018, and Europe set to follow in the coming years. Japan and the US have yet to set dates for existing models to comply the regulations.


Which models will be axed under ADR 85?

The effect of ADR 85 on Australia’s new-car market first came to light through Lexus, with the Japanese brand announcing it would discontinue the IS mid-size sedan, RC mid-size coupe and CT small car locally from November 2021, citing the need for structural changes to meet the regulations that reportedly would have been prohibitively expensive to engineer.

“As part of this transformative period, we do have to say goodbye to the IS, RC and CT from November due to regulation changes that come into effect before all other global markets here in Australia” Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson told Australian media in June.

“The reality is [the decision was] around a new [Australian Design Rule] that’s coming into effect in Australia … and for us to keep selling those cars that would have required a design change.”

The introduction of the new side impact regulations will also mark the end of the Nissan GT-R supercar (detailed here) and Mitsubishi Mirage city car (covered in more depth here), along with the Alpine sports car brand (more details here).

While the Mirage is set to be discontinued, Mitsubishi’s Express van (and its Renault Trafic twin) will remain on sale beyond November 2022, despite earning a shock zero-star safety rating earlier this year.


Which other models will be affected by ADR 85?

While not discontinued entirely from local showrooms, a number of models will require engineering and structural changes to meet the new regulations, or will experience an interruption in sales as a result of ADR 85’s introduction.

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series

Toyota Australia has confirmed its legendary LandCruiser 70 Series off-roader will require updates to comply with ADR 85 – with the dual-cab ute, four-door ‘wagon’ and Troop Carrier bodies likely to be the focus of the upgrades, given the single-cab ute underwent significant structural changes to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2016.

However, it’s not clear what updates will be required to allow the 70 Series to meet the regulations, nor is it clear exactly when they will arrive – though the first examples must be certified locally by 1 November 2022 for the vehicle to remain on sale.

Click here to read the full story.

Fiat 500C and Abarth 595C

The convertible versions of the Fiat 500 ‘micro’ car and its sporty Abarth 595 hot hatch twin will be affected by the regulations. Drive understands the vehicles are slated to be re-engineered in time for the November 2021 deadline, with an interruption to sales not expected.

Volkswagen Amarok and Skoda Fabia

First introduced in Australia in 2011, the current Volkswagen Amarok has not received upgrades to comply with the new side impact regulations.

However, given the rules only apply to existing commercial vehicles granted compliance from 1 November 2022, and a new-generation Amarok is due locally in 2023, a decision has been made not to update to the current model – though it’s likely there will be a gap between models in showrooms of a few months.

Meanwhile, the city-sized Skoda Fabia wagon will also fall foul of the regulations from this November, though Skoda Australia representatives indicated to Drive that stock is expected to dry up before the rules come into force. A new, fully-compliant Fabia hatchback will go on sale locally in early 2022, though rumours suggest a new-generation wagon may not arrive until 2023.

Other affected models include:

  • Kia Rio and Stonic: Compliance forms to approve updates for these vehicles to meet ADR 85 have been filed with the Department of Infrastructure, and are expected to be approved before November 1, with no impact on buyers.
  • Kia Picanto and Stinger: Upgrades for these models have been developed and approved, with both now compliant with ADR 85, ahead of the deadline. Sales of new models won’t be affected.
  • Honda Civic and HR-V: Current-generation versions don’t comply with ADR 85, however the 1 November 2021 deadline aligns with the introduction of all-new Civic and HR-V models, meaning no interruption to sales, according to Honda Australia. Vehicles granted compliance prior to November 1 can still be sold after the deadline.
  • Mazda CX-9: Updates are required to certify the SUV with ADR 85, though these will be completed before 1 November.

Brands that are otherwise unaffected (aside from the aforementioned vehicles) include:

Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz (cars and vans), MG, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Skoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen


Will your next car be affected by the regulations? Which cars are you sad to see go away? Let us know in the comments below.

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