The new for `92 Eagle Summit represents a cross between a station wagonand a mini-van. Make that a mini mini-van or a micro mini-van, since it isconsiderably smaller than a Dodge Caravan or Plymouth Voyager, originators of that genre. It rides and handles like a wagon and seats far fewer people than a van-a mere four adults, or two adults and three kids in the back seat-but itlooks a bit like a mini-van because it has a side-opening sliding door.

Summit is built by Mitsubishi for Chrysler. It`s one of those phooey onthe Japanese except when they supply us with a vehicle we can`t afford tobuild ourselves type of situations. Mitsubishi builds a version of its owncalled Expo.

Regardless of its heritage or figuring out if its a van or a wagon,Summit leaves a bit to be desired. To understand Summit, you have to realizethat the bottom line with this vehicle is small.

Oddly, although it stands rather tall to allow great down-the-roadvisibility, it comes up short in interior roominess.

The side door might slide open, but it doesn`t slide back as far as itwould on a true mini-van. That leaves part of the door just resting there toobstruct getting into the back seat. And if the front-seat occupants slidetheir chairs rearward and tilt their seats back, the mere act of trying tooccupy the rear passenger area becomes a chore similar to trying to slip into your eighth grade graduation suit to attend your 25th high school classreunion.

For those who favor wagons for their non-people-hauling capabilities, the rear seat backs fold down to enlarge cargo carrying space. If more space isneeded, the rear seat is removable. A cover attached to the hatch lid and rearseat back hides goodies you may be transporting.

Summit features front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Our test vehiclewas the workhorse version complete with full-time all-wheel drive, a handysystem considering the weather in recent days. With snow in the forecast, the all-wheel drive Summit isn`t a bad addition in the driveway.

In summary, Summit is cute in trying to look like a van but act like awagon. It affords ample room up front for driver and passenger. Ride andhandling are better than average, and all-wheel drive helps reduce some of thereal or imagined fears of Snow Belt driving.

What you sacrifice is space and ease of entry into the back seat.

Summit is powered by a 1.8-liter, 113-horsepower, 16-valve four-cylinderengine teamed with five-speed manual. A 2.4-liter, 116-horsepower, eight-valvefour cylinder ($181) and four-speed automatic ($723) are optional. Our vehiclecame with the 2.4 and automatic, a combination EPA-rated at 19 m.p.g. city/23 highway.

The all-wheel-drive Summit wagon starts at $13,469. Standard equipmentincludes power brakes and steering, dual mirrors, bodyside moldings, mudguards and trip odometer. Most goodies are extra-cost options, includingantilock brakes, power doors and windows, air conditioning, tinted glass, AM/ FM stereo and rear-window defroster/washer/wiper.

Antilock brakes are a $913 option.