THE 1993 Dodge Colt GL sedan is plaid shirts and blue jeans, funky sneakers and cotton socks. Everyday is Saturday for the Colt. If you love it for nothing else, you've got to love it for that.

It's such a friendly, easy car to drive, this newest of the Colts. It's a no-brainer in the best sense of the term. I mean, you get up late on a Saturday and look around for something to wear. Whatcha gonna put on? Those jeans, yeah; and those sneakers, that shirt and, if it's cold outside, that old leather jacket.

Same thing with the Colt, which makes a perfect second car or a perfect first car, if you can't or don't want to spend money for something more expensive. You just hop into the little old Colt and go wherever you've got to go. Wear a suit, if you must. But feel free to strip off your business stuff on the way home. The Colt ain't impressed by pin stripes.

Background: Lord, talk about the resurrection of a car so ugly it made death look good! The old Colt, particularly the old Colt hatchback, was one of the dumpiest-looking little cars around. Everything about it said "economy." Instead of plaid shirts and jeans, it was more like sackcloth and ashes.

The new Colt GL sedan and its siblings are entirely different. They darned sure look better with their neatly rounded bodies, accented by whimsical rear ends and cheeky faces.

Besides improved looks, the new Colt also has improved cabin space and outward visibility, and improved mechanicals, such as the independent rear suspension system that gives the car the feel of a more expensive sports machine when going around curves.

The 1993 Colt, made for Chrysler Corp. by Mitsubishi Motors Corp., is a small, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger deal that comes with two doors or four doors. The two-door model replaces the hatchback and is available only with the standard 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 12-valve, 92-horsepower engine. The tested top-line Colt GL sedan comes with a standard 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve, 113-horsepower engine.

Complaints: Where's the air bag, huh? The new Colt sedan weighs 76 pounds less than the old model, and the new Colt coupe comes in 120 pounds lighter than the discontinued hatchback. You'd figure that, in this car, Mitsubishi could offer a little supplementary restraint.

Also, road noise was a tad high, but it wasn't critical or anything.

Praise: Just a total hoot to drive! Even without the air bag, the new Colt ought to go on the list of anyone looking for a top-notch, economy commuter car. Though lighter than previous Colts, the new car is much tighter, which makes you feel that you have total control over whatever the car is going to do. The tested Colt GL sedan came equipped with optional anti-lock brakes.

Head-turning quotient: Teeny-weeny knockout.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride and handling were first-class, especially for a small car. Acceleration in the test m odel was good at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. But the car, equipped with a standard five-speed manual transmission, got its windshield dusted in the 65-mph highway zones. Braking -- standard front discs, rear drum with anti-lock option -- was excellent.

Sound system: Four-speaker, electronic AM/FM stereo radio and cassette, installed by Mitsubishi. Darned decent.

Mileage: About 31 per gallon (13.2-gallon tank, estimated 398-mile range on usable volume of regular unleaded), running mostly highway and driver only.

Price: Base price on the Colt GL sedan is $10,423. Dealer's invoice is $9,846. Price as tested is $12,642, including $1,819 in options and a $400 destination charge.

Purse-strings note: It's a buy. Note that, despite the absence of an air bag, insurance companies seem happy with the car, mostly because the kind of people who buy it tend not to be involved in fatal or injurious car crashes. The Colt has the lowest frequency of injury claims of any car in its class, according to an insurance survey by Kiplinger's magazine. Compare with Saturn SL, Chevrolet Geo Metro, Ford Escort, Honda Civic and Toyota Tercel, among others.