One of the few reviews about the Cooper, and it’s a great one.

>The inherent perkiness of the tiny hatchback is so infectious — as comedian Steve Martin once said about playing the banjo — one simply cannot be in a bad mood. There are other, far more pragmatic upsides as well. Weighing in at a flyweight 1,195 kilograms and powered by a minuscule 118-horsepower, 1.6-litre, DOHC four-banger, the new 2007 Cooper is exceedingly fuel efficient.

>So, are you starting to see why thoughts of nominating the Mini Cooper as the Official Car of the Utopian Ideal start to percolate? It’s cute as a bug, miserly at the gas pumps, zippy in traffic and easy to park, all for $25,900, which, while at the premium end of the subcompact market, is dirt cheap for a car that is for all intents and purposes a front-wheel-drive BMW.

It would seem that this reviewer is also a fan of the standard tranmission.

>Did I mention that it’s also plenty roomy, at least for those in the driver and shotgun seats? Ah, but there is a storm cloud on the horizon, one threatening the Mini Cooper’s sunny disposition — not to mention mine. And that storm cloud is the test vehicle’s optional ($1,390) six-speed automatic transmission.

>Call me a Luddite or an old fossil if you want, but Mini Coopers should be available only with a manual gearbox.

[ New MINI halfway to happy land ]