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Mercury Cougar

bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
edited March 2014 in Mercury
I spied the 1999 Mercury Cougar at the
Edmund's coverage of the Detroit Motor Show. I can
scarcely believe that FoMoCo has NO hatches in its
inventory. I guess that's why we (wife & I) test
drove the Contour 2 years ago when we were shopping
for her. ....ended up with a 96 Golf, an in-kind
replacement for her 89 Golf. All's well that ends

Not that she would have had anything to
do with a COUGAR, much too Boy-Toy for her tastes.
I want to see more though, imagine what an SVT
Cougar could do. It's a big step up from my CRX, I
was really thinking more along the lines of an
Integra GS-R. I think Honda calls them 3-door
coupes, silly rabbits.


  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Definitely too Boy-Toy! ;-)
  • garthgarth Posts: 66
    Don't fret, bnormann, you can suitably outfit an Integra for some boy-toy appeal: coffe-can tailpipe, dropped suspension with chrome wheels, huge off-center hood/roof stripe, shopping cart handle on therear decklid...
    If you have been reading magazine articles, which it doesn't seem like you have, you would no that it is one of the most sophisticated sport coupes that is coming to market in recent years. Sharp chiseled exterior, very luxurious for a economy car interior, and the latest safety features like side airbags, and traction control. And one of the best V-6 motors available today.
    Also being that it is engineered and tuned in Europe it gives a great ride for a sports-coupe and also predictable handling.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    Qoute the maven (carlady)

    "At the moment, the word hatchback brings to mind "fuv" -- family utility vehicles!"

    When you look at the VW Golf in these terms, I believe the current and most (all the good ones anyway, let's just ignore the painful '80s) of the past Cougars fall into the Boy-Toy category.

    I know the Golf is a frequent victim of youthful excess, but that doesn't make the base model anything but a "fffuv" (fairly fun family utility vehicle).

  • The VW Golf is considered by the auto world a hatchback. A car with 2-doors and a third door that opens way up is a HATCHBACK.

    How many hatchbacks do you know that are used or marketed as "family utility vehicles". NONE. One of the best hatchbacks in recent memory is the Ford Probe GT. ANd by no means is that a FUV. That was one of the highest performance hatchbacks available during the past several years. Also consider the Integra GS-R. Again, not a FUV. The Integra is also a all out pocket rocket performance car that is a hatchback. These two cars I have never yet seen being used as Family Utility Vehicles.
    The only FUV's I can think of are made by SAAB.
    The probe GT was extremely fun performance hatchback and the Cougar which basically replaces it is going to be an extremely fun performance hatchback, that is very refined and composed yet will carve backroads when asked to. That is not a definition of a Boy-Toy car.
  • Yes, based upon the European Ford Triplets, I am sure the new Couger will be a real drivers car. However, it is not an FUV, as carlady puts it. A hatchback is a car with a hatch that typically seems to dovetail at the end and might have a slant of say 45 degrees. Since there is no deviding wall between the cargo area and the rear seats, most hatchback allow you too fold down the rear seats. Due to this and the way a hatch opens there are just naturally utilitarian benefits. A Saab 900 is the only "car" I know that can carry a 7-foot couch. I love Golf's dearly, but from a designers stand point they are wagons. They have a tailgate and side windows just as a wagon would. By some strange occurance though, they have avoided this foopaw and are considered hatchbacks. Long live the hatchback!!!
  • Just got back from the Philadelphia Auto Show. And can I tell you that pictures do not do the car justice. It looks 100 times better in person than in pictures. The Cougar has so many nice details in the styling that can't be seen by looking at pictures. It does really have a nice hunkered down, euro look with a angry front-end.
    The interior is also beautiful, it would feel at home in a $35,000 sports-coupe.
  • Does anyone have any info on the availability and pricing of the new Cougar?

    Unfortunately, I missed seeing it at the LA auto show because they unveiled it the second week. From the pictures, it looks great - very European and aggressive but also luxurious and well equipped inside and out.

    I'm curious if it is roomier than the cancelled Probe GT, especially headroom in the front and back and legroom for the back seats. I know that it's based on the Contour, so I'm hoping it's not cramped like the Eclipse or Integra.

    I sold my Integra for those reasons and would enjoy moving up to a V6 more style and room.

    The latest I've heard is that it goes on sale in late May for between $16K and $22K. Can anyone update this info?

  • Could someone who has seen the '99 Cougar in person shed some light here?

    I was just re-reading the Feb.'98 Automobile magazine article on the Cougar which refers to it as a coupe, not a hatchback as the Probe it's replacing was.

    This may seem trivial to some, but a hatchback makes a much more versatile vehicle. It's an important selling point to the wife to get out of the four door rut and have something a lot more interesting without losing too much hauling capability.

    I can't quite tell from the pictures since car makers are getting good at disguising car configurations.

    Correct me if I'm wrong...I hope I am!

    P.S. If I'm right then we are in the wrong conference room.
  • The Mercury Cougar is a HATCHBACK, with 5 doors just as the probe was before it.
    Since everyone does think it looks good in pictures, I can tell you it looks even better in person. Two dimensional pictures give you a very different view of a car or anything for that matter. A up close and personal three dimensional view gives you a totally different view. The Cougar has so many nice creases and bulges and design cues that the magazine pictures don't show you. In person you can also see that the interior is also gorgeous. Finished in a grayish-black color it is very elegant and would look at home in a Toyota Celica. And as a current Ford Probe GT owner I can say without a doubt that the cougar does have more headroom front and back. But most importantly the Cougar has alot more rear seat legroom than the Probe has or for that matter even the Integra or Eclipse.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    Do you mean "3" doors?
  • enigma23enigma23 Posts: 36
    Yup, I meant 3 doors. Sorry, a blooper on my part.
  • Is the Ford Cougar like the the Ford Thunderbird (Mercury Cougar), or is it a brand new style of car? I saw a picture once, but couldn't tell much about it from the picture.


    Do you really think hatchbacks are better than 4 door cars. I like my hatchback, but I am realizing more and more that hatchbacks are smaller than they appear. I always have to borrow my parent's car when I need to use a trunk. After my freshman year at college, I'll get a newer car, but it will have to be bigger than my Ford Festiva hatchback (very reliable, but very small.)

    Also, there isn't very much room in the backseat of hatchbacks (or 2-3 door cars for that matter) as with 4 door cars.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    If the Festiva is your point of reference, sure, most sedans will have more room but some hatchbacks have four doors. My VW Golf seats three in the back comfortably (as long as one is a child!) and has plenty of cargo space.
  • Zacharylaurie,

    The new cougar is completely different, except for its name. It is a front-wheel drive hatchback instead of the rear-wheel drive coupe its replacing. The interior has become much smaller. Also, the engines are new. The Zetec 2L I4 will be standard on the base Cougar, while the 2.5L Duratec V6 will be optional on the base and standard on the higher-end LS model. The platform as well as the engines have been derived from the Contour/Mystique pair, so drive them if you haven't for a sample of the I4 and V6 power. This info. was taken from Motor Trend's first drive of the Cougar, so I don't claim to know any inside information. The Cougars should hit showrooms in May!
  • I really liked the Ford Thunderbird, but it sounds like the new Cougar is going to be really nice. Thanks for the info!
  • Is the T-Bird coming back to? I want my long hood/short trunk coupe back. Owned an '85 Olds Toronado and loved it, unfortunatly it was stolen so I have to find something to replace the '84 Caprice loner I have.
  • raytsuiraytsui Posts: 9
    This car sounds just about perfect. Take the already nimble FWD Contour chassis and its smooth/powerful engine (V6), add a sleek new body design, add a modern and expensive looking interior, price it in the low twenties and you have a recipe for a desirable car.

    I saw this thing at the auto show and it looks sweet. The front's and rear's aggressive looking. The interior looks like it belong in a $30000 car. And the "new edge" design is truly unique. And if it drives even as good as the Contour, you have the perfect fun car which is also practical.

    The only weird part is that Ford decided to call it the Cougar. To me, it really is a new Ford Probe. It has very little to do with the old Cougar (that's a good thing).

    Potential buyers should go straight for the V6 and the I4 engine doesn't do the styling justice. I hope Ford decides to let their SVT loose on this car. A 195 HP SVT Cougar would sure sound nice!!!
  • mbwelkermbwelker Posts: 3
    To Robberbarron,

    I've read in popular science that the T-bird is going to be re-introduced in late '99 or early 2K. This is just a rumor i think but I wouldn't put it past Ford to redsign the T-Bird. By the way, my dad used to build the T-Birds and Cougars at the Lorain, OH assembly plant.

    We also have an '89 Probe GL and it handles better than a Mustang GT! (although it is not as quick off the start) It corners like a dream! I am anxious to see if the Cougar, which Raytsui said is the next Probe (it pretty much is), can live up to what it's replacing.
  • Great to hear that the T-bird is coming back! I have a Ford Festiva now. Is the Cougar about the same size as this, or is it more like an Escort. Thanks!
  • mbwelkermbwelker Posts: 3
    The new Cougar is longer than the Escort. It is based on the Contour/Mystique platform. BTW, although it is shorter than the late model Cougars, it has more interior room.
  • temujin77temujin77 Posts: 1
    THe cougar looks so great. I'm looking to buy a new vehicle right now and I think it's it! I've always been a foreign (esp. German) car fan, but for some reason I'm hooked on the new design on the Cougar.

    Speaking of which, anyone know what's a reasonable range for the I-4 model with all the options? All I know is the dealer invoice price for the base I-4 is about US$14.8k, and the MSRP is US$16.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I hope you've had an opportunity to look at Edmunds new car pricing, temujin77. Click on New Car Pricing on the homepage, then choose the make and model you want.

    If you're in the market for a new car, I highly recommend reading our Consumer Advice information. I used it myself and it really made a difference when we bought our last car. The Smart Shoppers conference would also be a good stop!

  • badironbadiron Posts: 1
    I know they have made the new Cougars for the 25
    to 39 age group but even though my wife and I are
    50ish we test drove a few different models and once we drove the Cougar we both just loved it.
    WE are planning on getting one. We think it's a
    great looking & handling car. We weren't to crazy
    about the back seats however.
  • vanzuylenvanzuylen Posts: 1
    I test drove the 1999 Mercury Cougar last week, for a quick evaluation of the beast. It was an Automatic (4-Speed) V6 with fabric seats. (No manual transmission or leather version was in stock.) This is not your father's Cougar. :-)

    The "new edge" exterior, like it or not, is eye-catching and unique. It looks like a show car. Definitely something Mercury hasn't had in ages. (Ever?) It's definitely going to appeal to the younger crowd, as planned.

    The car handles nicely and feels extremely solid; good build. Corners quite well and steers predictably. Interior noise was at a minimum. The automatic shifted smoothly. The acceleration was fairly decent; nothing exceptional. I would have rather evaluated the 5-speed Manual. (I wouldn't even want to think about driving the I4 version.) The interior was very "modern" looking; some might think it isn't very friendly or comforting. Good use of contrasting colors and textures. The choice of materials could be improved; it seems slightly cheap. (See the 1999 Porsche 911 for a good implementation of "plastic" modern.) There was adequate room for my 6'3" frame in the driver’s seat. (I'm pretty much used to be wedged in cars, though.) The fabric seats are very firm and have good lateral support; they’re probably too firm for most. (Maybe the leather is better?) The rear seat area is, as expected, extremely small. Ergonomics are good; controls feel solid and are in natural places.

    So, what is this car's competition? I'm not really sure. The same slighty-odd market the Ford Probe had?

    If you only go by looks, maybe the smaller Mitsubishi Eclipse and lower-priced Hyundai Tiburon? Eliminating the looks, how about the Acura Integra Coupe, Toyota Celica, Honda Accord Coupe, Honda Prelude and Ford Escort ZX2?

    We'll see how this baby sells... so far the interest locally (S.F. Bay Area) has been good. But "first on the block" won't count later.

  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    ron, thanks for the insights! Are you in the market for a new Cougar or just looking?

  • manchildmanchild Posts: 18

    You might be happy to know that the Cougar is based on a European design -- the Ford Mondeo, which sells in this country as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique. I own a V6 Mystique, and it's a very solid car and a wonderful handler. You should definitely test drive it. I think you'd enjoy it.

    Lessee, we got the sedan (Contour/Mystique), the coupe (Cougar), and the performance model (Contour SVT). Now all Ford needs is a convertible on this platform, and it'll be set.
  • kjbadkjbad Posts: 7
    Just saw a white '99 Cougar V6...nice try, Ford, but I hope it handles a lot better than it looks. Does anybody think it strange that Mercury, of all FoMoCo divisions, would put their name on this car? How will they get younger drivers onto the same showroom with people who are there to look at a Grand Marquis and a Mountaineer? I think the hardest part will be convincing people that Mercury can be a sporty division again...
  • I think the new Cougar looks pretty neat. I like all of the new Ford designs, and all those from the last 10 years or so. I think the new Taurus, and the new Intrepid are the best looking cars on the road. If I was going to buy a new sporty car, I'd definately take a closer look at the Cougar (If I was buying used, it would definately be a Thunderbird!)
  • davembeerdavembeer Posts: 1
    kjbad; get a clue!
This discussion has been closed.