Unlike the airplane of the same name, the newest sporty car in Dodge showrooms is not invisible to radar - something chronic speeders should bear in mind. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that this Dodge will bomb.
The Stealth car, introduced for 1991, is a joint design by Chrysler Corp. and Mitsubishi and is built entirely in Japan by Chrysler's longtime collaborator. So is the nearly identical 3000GT sold through Mitsubishi dealers. They replace the Mitsubishi Starion and Plymouth-Dodge Conquest.A two-plus-two hatchback, the Stealth is powerful, sure-footed, quiet-riding and luxurious but fairly heavy and not inexpensive. It is worth considering if you're shopping for a car like the Toyota Supra or Pontiac Trans Am.
It is available in four versions. The Stealth ES model, which we drove, has a 24-valve engine producing 222 horsepower. It starts at $18,384, including freight.
The R-T version, at $24,483, including freight, adds a special performance suspension that offers soft or firm shock absorber settings. It also includes air conditioning, antilock brakes, a rear spoiler and a better sound system. The top of the line R-T Turbo has, as the name implies, a 300 horsepower turbocharged version of the V-6, along with antilock brakes and still wider tires on 17-inch wheels. Chrysler claims 0-to-60-mph acceleration in the low five-second range. The price: $29,595, including freight.
It and the corresponding Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 are, in addition, the first production cars sold in the United States to have both four-wheel steering and all-wheel drive. The former, which aids in parking and improves high-speed handling, is something that people can do without. But the all-wheel drive is a welcome addition that helps transmit engine power to the road without spinning the tires.
Our test car showed unmistakable signs of "torque steer" on hard acceleration - a tugging on the steering wheel that afflicts many front-wheel-drive cars with high-powered engines.
A four-speed automatic transmission is available on all but the R-T Turbo version.
The Stealth's driver's seat lacks a straight up-and-down height adjustment; a knob wedged between the seat and door raises the rear of the bottom cushion only. We could not find a position at which there was any thigh support, something that would help avoid fatigue on long trips.
The Stealth's coolant temperature, oil pressure and voltage gauges are off to the right, rather than in front of the driver, and reflected sunlight sometimes obscures them. The steering wheel hides some controls. And, as is common in this type of car, the rear seat is cramped.
The Stealth has a driver's side air bag and manually operated lap and shoulder belts.