The Chrysler Cirrus is a mid-size four-door sedan that was intended to appeal to families as a good-looking, fun, and safe vehicle. It was designed by Michael Santoro in 1992 as a concept car, and it made its debut at the 1992 North American Auto Show. The Cirrus It was assembled in Sterling Heights, Michigan and it rolled off into the American and Canadian markets in 1995. Together with the Dodge Stratus and Plymouth Breeze, the Cirrus was known as one of the Cloud Cars because it had a name that referred to a meteorological term. Here’s a quick look at the Chrysler Cirrus and its transformations through the years.
Development and specs
The Chrysler Cirrus features flowing lines that seem to never end, and this helped the car veer away from the common three-box design where you could easily distinguish the breaks between the vehicle’s engine, passenger, and trunk compartments. The Cirrus also featured a cab-forward design, which can also be seen on vehicles that belonged to the larger LH platform. Apart from that, it features a long, slanted windshield and short overhangs. It also had wheels that were pushed further to the corners of the vehicle and this made the passenger cabin bigger than the usual. The initial concept car for the model was furnished with rear suicide doors, and it was powered by a 3.0 L two-stroke turbocharged engine that can churn out up to 400 hp. However, the market release was only powered by either the 2.4 L EDZ/EY& I4 or EDI/EDT I4 engine. It was also equipped with a 4-speed Ultradrive 41TE automatic transmission.
Entering the market
Upon release, the Cirrus was made available in two trim levels—LX (base) and LXi (luxury). Both trim levels featured a low, extended waterfall grille, sporty-looking twin-post side mirrors, fog lights, chrome bumper accents, an automatic transmission, etc. It was also one of the first Chrysler vehicles that featured the brand’s rose medallion logo, which had not been used for decades. In 1998, the model was dropped but it made a return just two years after to compensate for the demise of Plymouth.
Upgrades, changes, and transformations
Each year, the Cirrus received upgrades, changes, and transformations both major and minor. For instance, the 4-cylinder engine became standard in both the LX and LXi trims and the V6 engine became an option. Apart from that, there were also several changes in the interiors of the car.
The Malibu connection
Throughout its lifetime, the Chrysler Cirrus was often compared to other mid-size vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Contour. However, with its extended LH platform, the Cirrus was actually considered as a replacement for the Chrysler LeBaron, Chrysler Dynasty and Dodge Monaco. This directly puts the Cirrus in competition with more similar vehicles like the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, and Chevrolet Lumina.