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The Chrysler Cirrus proves big things really can come in smaller packages. On the outside, this stylish sedan falls into the compact class. But open the doors and you'll discover a surprisingly spacious layout that delivers nearly as much elbow-, leg- and shoulder-room as many midsize sedans. Chrysler's cab-forward design is especially appealing for those who don't want to sacrifice rear seat comfort. The Cirrus is one of the most stylish and well-equipped cars in its class, but it's one of the most affordable.
Cirrus LXi's 2.5-liter V6 is smooth and quiet. One reason is that the engine sits on improved motor mounts. It also appears that Chrysler has taken the time to beef up the sound-deadening insulation, which helps isolate road and tire noise as well as engine noise. Built by Mitsubishi Motors, the LXi's overhead-cam V6 produces 168 horsepower. Still, the Cirrus LXi is by no means the most aggressive performer in its class, taking about 10 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph.
In spite of its quiet ride, the LXi does not isolate the driver from the road and that's one of the best features of the Cirrus. You are readily in touch with what the car is doing at all times. Credit the independent front and rear suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars, and rack-and-pinion steering.
The antilock brakes proved comfortably sure-footed on wet and dreary Detroit highways. The braking system employs front discs and rear drums.
Headlight performance sometimes suffers with small, aerodynamic headlamps. This is a phenomenon we've noticed with many manufacturers as most people like modern stylish headlights, but few take lighting performance into consideration. As if to make up for it, fog lights come as standard equipment on the LXi.
Chrysler's Cirrus delivers a premium package without having to pay a premium price. Cirrus is a great-looking car that's roomy and loaded with lots of standard features. Add to that its attractive price and you've got a sedan that stands out among a strong field of competitors. Its cutting edge styling allows the Cirrus to stand out further.
Chrysler has been refining the Cirrus ever since its introduction. Noise, vibration and harshness have been reduced and performance has been increased. It also appears that Chrysler is making serious efforts to address some of the Cirrus's early quality problems. We hope to see this confirmed by results from independent surveys in upcoming months.
Plain and simple, Cirrus is a car that belongs on your shopping list if you're looking for an affordable sedan but want all the room and features of something bigger and more expensive.
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