The rivals the new Mini has to beat

* Which cars does the new Mini have to beat to be best in class? * Faces competition from Audi, Fiat and Vauxhall * Rivals are priced from around £10k...

The rivals the new Mini has to beat

The Mini has been phenomenally successful in the UK, with many buyers seduced by its characterful looks and the possibilities for personalisation.

However, while this combination was fairly unheard of when the modern Mini first went on sale in 2001, rivals have done their best to copy and adapt this successful formula.

These are the main rivals that the 2014 version of the Mini hatchback has to tempt style-conscious buyers away from.

Audi A1

The Audi A1 doesn't have quite the same levels of cuteness as the previous Mini, but it comes with a hefty dose of class. The interior is a real highlight, with the cheapest Audi still getting expensive-feeling switches and materials. The previous Mini's cabin will have to go some way to beat it.

Where the Audi falls down is on practicality, but this is not an area the Mini has traditionally been strong in, either.

Citroen DS3

Citroen's DS3 is the stand-out star of the company's range in terms of sales, and it is another small car that majors on image over practicality.

It comes with a range of strong engines and the cabin is classy and attractive.

Its weakest point is the way it drives - the outgoing Mini had it beaten when it came to ride and handling enjoyment.

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500's cheeky retro styling and personalisation options have made it a huge hit with buyers. It's affordable, too, with the range starting at just over £10,000 and Target Prices from around £9600.

As with the Mini, the Fiat 500 is now available in several bodystyles, with a Convertible and an MPV version also on offer, while the 500 Abarth can rival the Cooper S for fun.

Vauxhall Adam

The Vauxhall Adam is the newest of the latest crop of customisable and image-led small cars on sale in the UK, but this doesn't mean it is the best.

In its favour, it is the most customisable of all the cars of this type, so buyers have a real opportunity to own a unique car depending on what styling options you go for.

Bad points include ride, handling and refinement; it is noisy on the motorway, and crashy and fidgety when driven over poor road surfaces.

Volkswagen Beetle

The Beetle might not be as customisable as other cars in this list, but it is definitely aimed at fashionable motorists. The second generation has toned down the cutesy styling compared to the bubbly first version, but it is still a stylish car with a notable nod to the Beetle heritage.

It's also a larger car, so it is a more realistic prospect than the other cars on this list if you want to squeeze passengers in the back, although it's still not exactly spacious inside. It's never been able to compete with the previous Mini dynamically, either.

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