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Mini Ray Quick Review

By Barry Park, 21 Oct 2016 Car Reviews

Mini Ray

There’s now an even cheaper way to join the Mini club.


The Mini Ray is the new entry model to the three-and five-door coupe range. Priced from $29,000 via an introductory drive-away deal, it’s cheaper than the entry-level Mini Cooper.


  •      You can buy those classic Mini looks for about $2000 cheaper while the drive-away deal hangs around

  •      The ride on the 15-inch steel wheels with their high-profile sidewall tyres is pretty good for a traditionally hard-riding Mini

  •      The interior smacks of premium quality, with decent fit and finish around the cabin, and decent and tactile switchgear

  •      No-cost styling package adds pink, yellow or green highlights to the wing mirrors, black bonnet stripes and under the doors, giving the car a huge lift visually

  •      Auto does a good job of keeping the hard-working 1.2-litre engine on the boil

  •      Reversing sensors help you feel less nervous about reversing the Ray, as rearward vision is somewhat limited

Mini Ray front


  •      While the ride is good, there is a lot of road roar from the tyres over coarse-chip roads that are common in Australia

  •      The Hankook Kinergy tyres fitted to the 15-inch steel wheels on the  Mini Ray are also relatively low-grip. Do a U-turn and they will squeal in protest even at low speeds.

  •      The steel wheels are covered with plastic hubcaps, making the Ray look cheap. Alloys would be better visually

  •      The 75kW three-cylinder engine performs well when it is revving hard, but while you’re idling at the traffic lights or taking off slowly it vibrates noticeably

  •      The Ray is the only Mini to miss out on passenger-seat height adjustment

  •      Everything is manual. There’s no set-and-forget for the air-conditioning, if it rains you have to switch on the wipers, and if it gets dark you have to switch on the lights. On almost all other Minis, these chores are automatic

  •      The Ray is locked out of a number of optional packages that would make it a lot more liveable for an everyday commute

  •      On paper, the base Mini Cooper looks better value, rounding out to about $31,000 drive-away. The difference in equipment levels between it and the Ray make the cheaper Mini look over-priced


As prices for premium cars rise, the prices of posh ones fall. That brings the Audi A1 1.0 TFSI, priced from $28,250, into contention as a genuine Mini rival. It boasts a punchy 1.0-litre engine giving good fuel efficiency, and strong handling and refinement even on its base suspension. However, there’s no reversing camera and it is still hardly cheap.

The $21,000 Fiat 500 Lounge is a smaller alternative that tries to make the most of its boxy exterior. It rides a bit harshly, and prices jumped by $2000 earlier this year, so in terms of value for money it is what it is.

Hyundai will sell you a quirky, suicide-doored-but-only-on-one-side Veloster Plus coupe for $29,490. However, while its drive experience is somewhat on par with the Mini’s lack of low-down oomph, the cabin aesthetics aren’t the same. Renault, meanwhile, will happily sell you a Clio GT Premium for $29,900. It’s the most conventional of the premium car choices here, but looks good inside and out and comes with a perky turbo engine.