The Technica version of the Plymouth Sapporo 2-door specialty hardtop coupe combines high technology, a rear hatch, comfort, and economy in a neat package tagged ''Made by Mitsubishi in Japan.''
Built on a 99.6-inch wheelbase, it is powered by a 2.6-liter, 4-cylinder engine with a choice of 5-speed manual transmission or 3-speed automatic.
Gimmicky to some, but true to its name, the Technica has graphic instrumentation, including a digital speedometer, liquid-crystal tachmeter, and a heated-air conditioner flow indicator that changes color with the temperature. Somehow, it seems as if the engineers and designers were ''reaching,'' and it didn't quite come off.
Even so, the car gives spirited, quiet performance on the road, and it zooms ahead when the accelerator pedal is kicked in a passing situation. The ride is firm, as befits a sporty hatchback like the Technica.
What does annoy, however, is an ever-present synthesized voice telling you: ''Fasten seat belt,'' ''Shift lever not in park,'' or ''headlamps on.'' Maybe the information is good to have, especially about the headlamps, but the ''voice'' takes on a nagging quality after a while. Is there no end to these ''talking'' cars?
The Techica package offers the buyer a sporty two-tone (silver and black) outside paint job.
Mileage is well under the figures claimed for the smaller, far-more-economical Colt, also built by Mitsubishi. In some forms, the Colt is said to get up to 50 miles a gallon on the highway.
The Technica, by actual measurement, is about half that figure. Base price of the Technica is $8,511.