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2022 Mitsubishi Mirage to be axed? Kia Picanto and MG 3 rival expected to be 'retired' over side impact rule

The current-look Mirage has been around since 2019 - but it's a much older car than that.

What could be the final passenger car sold by Mitsubishi Australia - the venerable Mirage city car - is set to be axed as a result of a change in safety rules.

The Mirage - which first went on sale here in 2013, and was facelifted in 2016 and then again in 2019 - will not continue past November 2021 due to the introduction of the strict new Australian Design Rule (ADR) 85/00, which is focused on side impact safety in the event of an accident.

The ADR 85 stipulation is a local rule that is focused on increased body strength or additional airbag protection in cars to offer better occupant safety and reduce severe injuries in side-impact crashes with immovable objects like poles and trees. 

The rule has been in place for passenger cars and SUVs from November 2017, and for commercial vehicles including vans and utes from November 2018, but a four-year grace period for older models is about to elapse, meaning a number of new cars that are built on older platforms are set to bite the dust in Australia.

The Mirage is just the latest on a list that comprises some big name models like the Lexus IS (which is built on a platform dating back to the mid-2000s), the RC coupe based on the same platform, and the smaller CT200h hybrid hatchback. The ancient Nissan GT-R supercar, which first launched in Australia 14 years ago, is also destined for the chopping block.  

For those cars, and the Mirage, to continue to be sold here would require design changes and re-engineering, which simply doesn’t make financial sense for cars that don’t sell in huge numbers, especially for a requirement in just one market.

Mitsubishi Australia says no decision has yet been made on the future of the Mirage, despite local reports saying the call to cull the car has already been made. 

“We’ve navigated our way around that with most of our models, but the Mirage is under threat,” said Catherine Humphreys-Scott, Mitsubishi Australia public relations manager.

“We’re not making an announcement at the moment - it’s under assessment. It’s our only vehicle affected [by ADR 85].”But it seems the writing is on the wall, as Ms Humphreys-Scott said the decision is going to be either a rectified version of the current car, or the end of the current Mirage “until the next one”.