Do you refuse to even turn the ignition key until assured the tissue box in the center console is full?

Do you carry an umbrella daily, just in case?

If either of the above apply, you`re a very practical person and a candidate for a 1992 Ford Tempo, the automaker`s compact, front-wheel-drive hauler of people and their possessions.

Tempo is what`s referred to as a functional, practical machine that will transport you from here to there without frequent pit stops for refueling. What you sacrifice for mileage is flair.

Tempo has grown a bit long in the tooth since arriving on the scene in mid-1983 as a 1984 model.

For 1992, Ford dipped into the fountain of youth and came up with a 3- liter, 135-horsepower, V-6 engine to give the old warrior a spark of life. The 3-liter V-6 gives consumers an option from the 2.3-liter, 96-h.p. 4- cylinder that`s standard in all but the GLS. We test drove a Tempo GLS, which has the V-6 as standard.

The V-6 is fairly quiet and responsive, but an engine alone can`t overcome Tempo`s shortcomings: drab styling, heaviness in the wheel, and sway/ pitch/roll/hokey-pokey in corners and turns despite a sports suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars and nitrogen shocks.

A 5-speed manual is standard, a 3-speed automatic optional. Our test car came with the optional automatic rated at 20 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway. With the 5-speed the rating is 21 and 28.

With the 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder engine, Tempo is underpowered. The V-6 gives Tempo some needed muscle to get you from here to there more quickly. It`s just not a very eventful trip.

A styling remake is coming in the 1994 model year through the efforts of Ford of Europe, which was charged with redoing the sheetmetal. One area needing work is the glass, namely the rear side window. In the 4-door GLS we test drove, there are three side windows, two normal size ones in the front and rear door and a tiny one in the rear roof pillar. That third small window keeps you from having to suffer with a blind spot when passing or merging, but in terms of styling it looks like an afterthought.

Spy photos of `94 prototypes make it difficult to tell how Ford will treat the windows.

Base price is $12,776.

Standard equipment in the GLS we test drove includes color-keyed grille/ bumpers/bodyside molding, a single manual left hand outside mirror, motorized safety belts, AM-FM stereo with cassette and digital clock, dual visor mirrors, trip odometer, manual air conditioning, power brakes and steering, side window de-misters, tinted glass, intermittent wipers and 15- inch all-season tires.

Anti-lock brakes aren`t offered, a competitive disadvantage since ABS is standard in the compact Pontiac Grand Am, Buick Skylark and Olds Achieva at rival General Motors Corp. You can get a driver-side air bag as an option in Tempo provided you order the GL or LX models. A driver-side air bag isn`t offered in the GM compacts. The GLS doesn`t offer the air bag because the 3- liter V-6 is standard and the bigger engine leaves no room for air-bag hardware.

Our test car added a preferred equipment package that included dual power mirrors, tilt steering, rear-window defroster, power locks, front and rear floor mats, cruise control and upgraded sound system for $1,182. Automatic transmission ran $563; 6-waypower driver`s seat, $305; power windows, $330; clearcoat metallic paint, $91; and front center arm rest, $59. With a $500 option discount and a $465 freight charge, the sticker totaled $15,271.

>> 1992 Ford Tempo
Wheelbase: 99.9 inches Length: 177 inches Engine: 3 liter, 135 h.p. V-6. Transmission: 3-speed automatic. Fuel economy: 21 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g highway. Base price: $12,776. Strong point: Decen power from a small car now that the V-6 is offered. Very functional in transporting 4 adults while obtaining respectable mileage. Weak point: Styling nothing to boast about. Antilock brakes not offered. No air bag when you order the 3 liter V-6. Eagerly awaits styling/safety system update coming in 1994. >>