1996 Chrysler Cirrus Review

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$1,515 - $3,897

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Motor Trend's 1995 "Car of the Year" is an impressive effort by Chrysler Corporation. It looks great, once you get past the clownish nose, and has loads of interior space. With attractive styling, an ergonomically-correct cabin, and prices starting just shy of $18,000, the Cirrus is a hit with American consumers.

Much has been made about the back seat in this car, because another new sedan, and direct competitor, called the Mercury Mystique, is often criticized in comparison to the Cirrus for its cramped rear quarters. True, the Cirrus does have more rear legroom. However, the Cirrus' back seat is the more uncomfortable of the two, in our opinion. Why? Let us explain...

Our six-foot, 220-pound editor tried the rear seats in both the Cirrus LXi and the Mystique LS. The Cirrus had a low seat cushion; poorly formed and unsupportive. Legroom was generous, but thigh support was lacking, and our editor felt like he was eating his knees due to the low cushion. On the other hand, the Mystique had a high, firm cushion offering great support, but leg room was at such a premium that the fronts of his legs were in full contact with the front seat. The verdict for our editor? He wouldn't want to spend more than a couple of hours in either back seat, but found the supportive cushion of the Contour to be more comfortable than the low mushy seat of the Cirrus.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's see what's new for the Cirrus this year. Base LX models trade the formerly standard V6 engine for a 150-horsepower four-cylinder motor. This makes the Cirrus more affordable -- we'll see if it detracts from the driving experience when we can get behind the wheel of one. Rear seat head rests are added, and a HomeLink Transmitter will open your garage door. A power sunroof will join the options list later in the year. The torque converter on the Lxi's 2.5-liter V6 has been revised for better response. Four new exterior colors, one new interior color and chrome-plated wheels are also online for 1996.

What this car could use, as we discovered viewing a fully laden Cirrus zoom along the Interstate one day, is a load-leveling suspension. When filled to the brim with people and cargo, the Cirrus looks like some prehistoric amphibian as it makes its way along the road, snout pointed toward the heavens. Still, we like the Cirrus. Chrysler is making great strides in design and engineering, and we understand that quality has become a major priority at the company since a well-known consumer group pulled the plug on its endorsement of the LH-Series sedans and the Jeep Grand Cherokee due to low owner satisfaction scores. If the Cirrus fits your lifestyle, but is a tad too pricey, try the nearly identical Dodge Stratus.

1996 Highlights

Base LX model gets a four-cylinder engine. Uplevel LXi gets a revised torque converter for better V6 response. A power sunroof, chrome-plated aluminum wheels and new colors are available for 1996.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Chrysler Cirrus.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

I have just learned that our Cirrus with only 30,000 miles is in need of it's THIRD HEAD GASKET REPLACEMENT . Yes..THIRD! I called Chrysler and all they are going to do is charge us a % to have the head gasket replaced again.. and by the way, there IS NO GAURENTEE that the $$$ we put into it will be the end. After searching the web, I have learned the Chrysler Cirrus has te same engine as the Neon.. yes.. the neon which is known to have head gasket troubles.. and of course Chrysler DOES NOT stand behind their cars..Thank you Chrysler... And I hope this will help a future buyer from being scammed as we were.
currently looking
nice carnot reliable,01/08/2003
We bought this car after looking at another chrysler LX. We liked the leather and sound better. since the buy, we have had lots of problems. rear tail light quit working due to a corosive electrical plate($50). then the ABS went out($500plus). and now the brakes wont work half the time. when we press the peddle down every once in a while it just wont move. very dangerous! no one can figure it out without ripping into it deep and charging an arm and a 2 legs. very unsatisfied.
Glad We Bought the Extended Warranty!
The poor reliability of my V6 Cirrus LX will prevent me from ever buying Chrysler products again! The styling is great and it was fun to drive but it was often in the shop for MAJOR repairs. The entire air conditioning system was replaced over one extremely hot summer and the entire rack and pinion was also replaced. I'm glad we paid for the extended warranty when we bought the car new! At 70K miles the car began to lurch, accelerate, and die. Neither the dealer nor an independent shop could solve this problem. After $1000 I gave up and traded it in on a VW.
Piece of Crap
Never buy based upon "Car of The Year". This vehicle has been a huge disappointment,from a bad radiator at 40K (approx); a broken control arm bracket at 30K; leaking freeze plugs at 60K; car dies at idle and trys to at highway speeds (dealer twice has not been able to determine the cause), clunking noises in the front left suspension and in the right rear that no one has been able to fix, radio display that quit when new and now the replacement no longer works; an airconditioner unit that had a kinked metal tube that would not allow it to cool below 80, door panels where the paint scratches off around the hand rest...

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 Chrysler Cirrus features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Chrysler Cirrus

Used 1996 Chrysler Cirrus Overview

The Used 1996 Chrysler Cirrus is offered in the following submodels: Cirrus Sedan. Available styles include LXi 4dr Sedan, and LX 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chrysler Cirrus?

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Which used 1996 Chrysler Cirruses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Chrysler Cirrus for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Chrysler Cirrus.

Can't find a used 1996 Chrysler Cirruss you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chrysler Cirrus for sale - 3 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $8,903.

Find a used Chrysler for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,864.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chrysler Cirrus for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $13,913.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chrysler for sale - 9 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $16,694.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Chrysler Cirrus?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Chrysler Cirrus lease specials