Originally, the Cirrus was a concept car and debuted at the 1992 North American International Auto Show.
Three years later, Chrysler transferred the name Cirrus to the variant of the new midsize JA platform which replaced the LeBaron.
The Cirrus used Chrysler's then-new "cab-forward" design. "Cab-forward" was achieved by pushing the wheels to the corners of the car and brought the windshield's touchdown point near the centerline of the front wheels. By doing this, interior cabin space was greatly amplified.
In keeping with the sports/luxury image, the Cirrus standard features included twin-post, rear-view mirrors, fog lights integrated into the front bumper, chrome front and rear bumper trim, and a chrome (sometimes body-colored) vertical grille.
The Cirrus was marketed by Chrysler as the premium brand in the "cloud cars" trio. It was commonly advertised as the top-of-the-line, leather-trimmed LXi form, which had a Mitsubishi-sourced 2.5-litre V6 engine.
An entry-level LX model was offered, as a Plymouth variant of the JA was not originally planned. Ultimately, Plymouth did get the Breeze in 1996, but the Cirrus continued to be offered as an LX through 1997.
From 1995 to 1997, the Cirrus came in two trim levels: the entry-level LX and the luxury LXi.
For 1998, the LX model was dropped, but returned in 2000 to compensate for the Plymouth Breeze which was discontinued mid-way through the 2000 model year.
- LX • 1995–1997 — returned in 2000 when the Plymouth Breeze was discontinued
- LXi • 1995–2000
- 2.4L I4 (option on LX in 1996)
- 2.5L V6 (standard on LX and LXi)
- 1995: Chrysler Cirrus sedan launched in the United States and Canada.
- 1996: A DOHC 4-cylinder engine was available for 1996. The Chrysler-built 2.4L 4-cylinder which produced 150hp (112kW) was standard in the LX. Available only with a 4-speed automatic transmission as with the V6-powered Cirrus. The V6 was optional on LX models. Rear headrests were added this year.
- 1997: A new center console with storage and integrated armrests was made available for this year. The 4-cylinder engine was made standard in both models, with the V6 as an option.
- 1998: The 4-cylinder engine and the LX trim level are no longer available.
- 1999: A new open grille with Chrysler's new winged grille badge and chrome wheels was now standard. Sentry Key; a system that disables the ignition unless the proper key was now able to be installed. Alloy wheels also became an option on LXi, with 15-inch (380mm) wheel covers standard. Cirrus was the only one of the "cloud cars" to receive any form of facelift over the course of its production.
- 2000: The 4-cylinder engine was brought back, adding a 4-cylinder LX model to join the V6-powered LXi sedan. Rear child seat anchorages were added as a standard feature. Aluminum wheels and an 8-speaker AM/FM cassette stereo were now standard (previously optional). Last year of production.