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1997 Chrysler Cirrus Review
Competes in a crowded market.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1997 Chrysler Cirrus classifies as a midsize sedan introduced by Chrysler in 1995. The Cirrus replaces the outdated Chrysler LeBaron sedan and uses a completely new platform. The Cirrus also sells outside the U.S., in Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.
The Cirrus stems from the Cirrus concept car shown at the 1992 North American Auto Show. The development for the car began in 1991 with the intent of making a car that was fun to drive, safe, and good looking. The original concept car uses rear suicide doors and the new cab-forward design. This design shows up in the production model as well.
Engines: 2.5-liter V-6, 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chrysler Cirrus LX, Chrysler Cirrus LXi
The 1997 Chrysler Cirrus LXi get chrome wheels as an option, while the LX features aluminum wheels as an option. The Cirrus LX also gets an optional Gold Package that adds lots of goodies to the car. Both models get an in-dash CD changer, along with a trip computer. As usual, it experiences some interior and exterior color changes as well.
The interior of the 1997 Chrysler Cirrus shows some changes too. A new center floor console comes in both models, together with armrests and a storage bin. The four-cylinder engine comes standard on both models, while the V-6 engine provides an option.
Both models of the 1997 Chrysler Cirrus have more or less the same exterior. They have sporty, black, twin-post side mirrors; fog lights; chrome bumper accents; a low extending waterfall grille with chrome or body color; and the same body side moldings.
The Chrysler Cirrus has a spacious interior despite its shorter length, thanks to its cab-forward design. Chrysler’s design gives the 1997 Chrysler Cirrus a long wheelbase and makes the interior spacious enough to accommodate five passengers with ease. Legroom and headroom seem ample at the front and rear, and the rear bench offers so much legroom that passengers can sit with legs crossed comfortably.
On the downside, the rear bench does not offer much shoulder width for three passengers, so they can get a little uncomfortable. Up front, the dashboard looks well designed with smooth-working light and wiper stalks, clear instrument gauges, and simple and easily accessible controls.
On the other hand, the 1997 Chrysler Cirrus has poor rear visibility because of the high rear ledge and the narrow back window. Visibility at the side and front remain good.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Chrysler Cirrus contains a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. An optional 2.5-liter V-6 engine delivers 168 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come with only a four-speed automatic transmission.
The V-6 engine offers fairly brisk acceleration, but the engine lacks power at lower speeds. For this reason, the Cirrus feels flat while passing on the highway or when it needs a quick burst of power. The four-cylinder engine offers strictly adequate acceleration, although the fuel economy improves.
In any case, the automatic transmission feels smooth, but it lags in response at times. Road noise seems prominent, and so does engine noise, especially when it is throttled hard. This applies to both engines.
The 1997 Chrysler Cirrus gets three out of five stars for driver safety and four stars for passenger safety during frontal-impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Smooth ride
- Nimble steering and handling
- Lots of passenger space
- Spacious trunk
You Won't Like
- Poor rear visibility
- Excessive road noise
Competes in a crowded market.
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