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Mercury Cougar



  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Good to hear from you!

    Glad to know that someone is out there protecting my old butt from Communist domination.

    Have some kimchi for me :--p

    Skip G.
  • ellusionzellusionz Posts: 5
    I am considering buying a new Cougar next year as my first car, well first time actually buying my own car. I was wondering a few things about it...
    1) In an Edmunds review, it said the there was only a lil difference between the I4 and V6 speed or something. So is it worth the extra cash to get the V6, or will my speeding craze be satisfied with the I4?
    2) Is the Cougar really reliable? I'm just afraid of it breaking down all the time, and some reviews I've read don't say very many good things about it.
    I may have more questions soon, thanks for any info and advice you can give me :)

    And incase any of you wanted to know, my list of cars I'm deciding between for now is Mazda Protege, Honda Civic, Mercury Cougar, Volkswagen Golf, and Hyundai Tiburon. Yea I know they are almost no where close, but pricing them with options I want (Cougar and Golf do go a lil higher) come into my spending range.
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    The comparison that Edmund's did was the I4 stick vs. the V6 automatic. The 6 stick is much quicker than the 4. It's said the the 4 handles a little better because of the lighter front end providing better balance, but personally, I wouldn't give up the power for nuthin!!!

    As far as comparisons are concerned, review all of the back posts here in Edmund's. Obviously, we're biased toward the Cougar, but there are a lot of good reasons listed.

    A car choice is a complex decision based on what you really want in a car, and how much you're willing to pay for it.

    In most of our cases, we decided that the Cougar gave the best combination of looks, performance, and practicality (huge hatch & cargo space, useable rear seats, etc...).

    In short, "The most bang for the buck."

    Skip G
  • campbe11campbe11 Posts: 2
    Hey folks,

    I was one of the original posters in this topic (under another name then) when we were itching to get our hands on the cougar when they came out 3 years ago. After 3 years and 53,000 miles, my thoughts:

    Ford decided to something else was job #1. In the last 8 months I have had an alternator go ( and take my battery with it), needed wheel bearings replaced, and have had an issue with the engine light mysteriously coming on. The first two are not things that should not be happening in a (fairly) new car. Has anyone else had similar experiences?

    On the positive side, I still do love to drive it. I'll be making a couple 600+ mile trips in it over the next couple months. I have found it comfortable for trips like that.

    Anyway, good to see folks like badulah and gustafsc still posting.
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Good to hear from one of the old timers!! What was your original handle? There's still a few of us pioneers around. Some have drifted away, but we still get a lot of new owners dropping in, so the group stays active.

    As you say, even after a few years, the cat is still fun to drive. An alternator going, while not a happy event, can happen. Sounds like you lost one of the diodes. Wheel bearings are a different story. Was there any analysis as to why they went out so soon? Bad part to begin with? Bad lubricating job during assembly? It'd be interesting to know.

    Skip G.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    I wouldn't really consider wheel bearings needing replacement after 53K miles unusual. It used to be in the "old days" people would repack wheel bearings once a year as a weekend maintenance project.

    My parents used to have rear bushings replaced all the time on their '88 and '92 Toyota Camrys. The Toyota dealer said this was a known problem with no permanent fix.

    If an alternator, wheel bearings, and an engine light were the only problems in 3yrs/53K miles that personally would not bother me.

    Have you had any other problems over the past 3 years? The Cougar Zn really intrigues me. How has structural integrity been (squeaks, rattles, vibrations, etc)?

  • campbe11campbe11 Posts: 2
    I'm just starting to get those little, quiet rattles you'd expect to get in a car this old in the area I live in (New England). I have one small one in the dash (when I hit a good bump) and another in a door. To hear them, I need the windows up and the radio off, so I don't consider them a problem. The entire package is still very sound. The problems I listed earlier have occured in the last eight months.

    The mechanic (not from a dealership) tried to be diplomatic about the bearings and said somebody probably had a bad day on the assembly line. I didn't want anymore information at the time. I asked a body shop guy at a dealership if they knew of any problems with alternators (I asked if the Contours experienced this), and he said they did. Just an anecdotal heads-up for you folks.

    Skip, I use to post to these topics as pcambel. I stopped about a year and a half ago but decided to stick my head back in to see what was up.
  • Hey gang,

    I thought I would let everyone know that my long awaited 2001 C2 Cougar has finally arrived!!!!!!!!!!

    I picked it up on Saturday and have loved every minute with the Cougar. It is a GREAT car! I just love the handling, looks, comfort, and room. Everyone loves how it looks and wants rides in it. Course they also want to drive it and that will NEVER happen! :)
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    We look forward to hearing more about your 2001 C2 Cougar experience. Happy Motoring!



    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    Thanks for the response on rattles, etc. I also live in a middle atlantic state and the roads are pretty rough from plowing, constant construction, etc. I am convinced cars in areas like ours live a much harder life than in other areas of the country.

    Of all the cars I've owned numerous rattles have developed in all of them within the first year of ownership. You would think that simply wouldn't be the case, but I suppose it is unavoidable. 3yrs, though, says great things about the build of the car.

    My local dealer doesn't have any Zn models, but does have a few C2 and "standard" V6 models. I may have to head over later and take a look. $2,000 rebate is attractive as well :-)

    Thanks again!
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    Although I love the Cougar in any form, I highly suggest you at least test drive an MTX (Manual Transmission) before you by an automatic. The difference between the two is significant. Although smooth and responsive, the automatic does not take advantage of the Duratech's full potential.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564

    Thanks for the suggestion, it is much appreciated! My main concerns at this point are ABS and traction control. Unfortunately none of the 8 Cougars at my local dealer have these options. It seems odd they would have convenience group, sport group, leather, sunroof, power seat, but no ABS/traction.

    Guess I'll need to start browsing around at other dealers...
  • stageleftstageleft Posts: 391
    It is odd that they would have removed ABS as a standard feature on the V6's. I recently read an article about the new 2001-2002 which mentioned something about ABS not being standard. In 1998 when I bought my 1999 Cougar, ABS was standard with the V6 because of the added weight and HP.

    I got the Manual Transmission because I love to "row my own" and I also got the optional Traction Control with Limited Slip Differential because they are really helpful tools when driving to the limits of the car (and I only do that sparingly because of all the police presence lately).

    Rattles and squeaks are minimal, most occurring during the cold, Winter months, but all disappear when the car warms up. I do get the brake-crunch in reverse, but that's probably happened to everyone who owns a Cougar at least once, and there is no fix for surface rust on the rotors (which happens to all cars).

    I had the check engine light come on and stay on for a while during my first year of ownership, and it was odd. I got them to replace the O2 sensor and it was fine, but in year two, the engine light would flash at me if I revved past 5500 RPM, and go out again if I dropped below that. Turned out to be another sensor in the transmission. Never once interfered with the drivability of the Cat.

    The only other complaint I had with mine was the poor choice in tires that Mercury went with on the Cougar, but how were they to know? The previous generation Firestone Firehawks were awesome tires that definately lasted to their potential (I had them on a previous vehicle) but somewhere between 95 and 98, Firestone must have changed the compound. The stock tires started losing grip around 20K miles, and never consistently delivered good ride/performance quality after that. I took care of that last weekend though, when I replaced them with the other stock tire, the BFG Comp T/A VR4's, which are much better tires, to be honest.

    I've replaced the stock air filter and box with an open element air filter, which you can get at, and I've replaced the stock exhaust with the Borla dual, which absolutely gives the Cat the growl it deserves.

    Other than that, I have the convenience group, the sport group, leather, and I just recently replaced the stereo head unit with an aftermarket unit, rendering my 6-disc CD changer moot, but really improved the overall sound quality - even with the stock speakers!

    Anyway, I LOVE my Cougar and still haven't seen anything coming out that I would be willing to drive on a regular basis (that I can afford) other than it.

    Take care, and Happy Cougaring!
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361

    ABS & Traction control were never standard w/V6/MTX. Ordered mine 7/98, and deferred on those options. Still have the original Cougar pamphlet listing them as options.

    Skip G.
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I've got tons!!!! From what i've read on various message boards and numerous reviews, "noises" and "rattles" are very commen in Cougars. It's still a fun car to drive, but the noises are annoying as hell. I live in the south where the roads are very smooth and still hear all kinds of rattles in my dash. I think burnsmr4 can back me on this rattle topic.

    ryster: what kind of cars have you owned that started rattling within 1 year of ownership? The Cougar is a first for me.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    Let me start by saying that I get new vehicles alot, so that is why the list may seem long (I have yet to find my "dream" car). But here is the list of cars that rattled noticeably within the first year: Pontiac Grand Am, Pontiac Grand Prix, Volkswagen New Beetle, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Explorer (current vehicle; rattles only very minor at this point). I am starting to think I am cursed with rattles. I have friends and family who have vehicles that NEVER get rattles. Mine always do :(
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Just curious!!!

    I noticed all the cars(except Beetle) are domestic.......I wonder if you would experience rattles if you bought a non-domestic brand. I have owned Toyota Corollas, civics, accord and altima. Not one of these cars rattled. Just a thought.....I don't know if I was just lucky or what........
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    Hi!I have thought about that too. Being 6'5" tall, however, there are not too many import models I fit in. The new '02 Nissan Altima supposedly has a 2" increase in front leg room so it may be something to consider. The Cougar, though, has plenty of room for me hence my interest in it. My dad had a '98 Mystique that remained very rattle free in 40,000+ miles. His '00 Dodge Stratus is also rock solid at 14,000 miles. My Mom's '97 Explorer remained rattle free for 3 years and 32K miles (partly why I went for my '00 Explorer). I did test drive a '00 Accord coupe before I bought the Explorer and it had a bad dash rattle with only 20 miles on the odometer. I'm convinced I have a curse (or my expectations are way too high).
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I, myself, think I am too anal about stuff like that(rattles, noises and such). My wife looks at me like I'm a freak when we're driving down the road and I "think" I hear some weird noise and I turn the radio down and bend my head towards the dash. I think I need counseling!!!!
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    So far, the only rattles I've had are the CD's in the center console, and that's been right from the start.

    However, I don't think that that's a fault of the car, the CD boxes just aren't soft enough ;-)

    Skip G.
  • stageleftstageleft Posts: 391
    Gustafsc: ABS was never standard with the V6? I could have sworn ...

    Anyway, I knew Traction Control was an option from day one. Maybe the ABS is a "standard option" with the Sport or Convenience groups? Is that where I went wrong with my info?

    I don't wanna be wrong! LOL!

    Ryster, I'm 6'6", and you're right, the econo-coffins just don't do it for me in the roominess department, but the Cougar is nice and big in the front seats! I don't have too many rattles, and none of them are apparent on the highway. It's not until I hit the crappy roads that I drive on everyday, and I wouldn't consider them bad after three years of ownership (I drove off the lot in my Cat on July 10, 1998 - hard to believe it's been three years already, and I LOVE this car!)

    Anyway, I think that if you test drive one that has rattles, then try another one and perhaps it wont. It's like picking eggs at the grocery store - you have to check to see which ones are broken. :-)

    Take care, and Happy Cougaring!
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    I just wanted to thank you all for your responses re: the Cougar. This is by far the the best forum on this site!

    I have run and rerun the numbers for a Cougar several times now, and there simply is no way I feel comfortable buying one right now. With the Firestone/rollover dilemma still fresh in the minds of consumers, the trade-in value of my Explorer has plummeted. It has depreciated close to 50% in less than one year. Granted they aren't known for their stellar resale, but there has definitely been an accelerated loss.

    If Mercury were to offer a 0.9% for 60month program like Ford has been known to do, it would be very possible. The current $2K rebate with conventional financing isn't enough to comfort the blow of having to roll over $3.5K from the Explorer.

    The Cougar is still on the top of my list should the market change. Things should really get interesting in the next 6 weeks as the end of the model year approaches.
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    Those two options go together. I've got the V6, MTX, Sport & Convience packs. No ABS or Traction Control.

    Skip G
  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961

    Have you checked out the Cougar Support Group's threads on this site? If not, we are located in the Owner's Club area. Just about everyone in this thread also posts in the CSG's threads along with numerous others. We also have a web site:
  • dmitcheldmitchel Posts: 7
    On June 6th my car rolled back when I left it running (I *thought* in park)
    while I got out and opened the garage door... as I am unlocking the garage I hear gravel moving and look back to see my car impaling the drivers door on a telephone pole.

    It was late and after I realized that there really was damage - the door would not come close to closing! The outside looked fine - but the inside door panel was tweaked and it was totally out of alignment.

    This is a leased car btw...
    OH MY! It is late at night and I am stunned and heart broken - I LOVE THIS CAR - it does not even have 4000 miles on it!

    Early the next morning I am on the phone to my insurance company... the beginning of my horrors...

    First it took my insurance company from the 7th of June until the 24th to get an appraiser out so the car could be towed to a body shop... the body shop recommended to me by the dealership...

    Here we are on the 17th of July and I still am without my car...

    So I am on the phone forever today with Ford ....

    Asking -
    1. Is it true that a door must be ordered raw and painted at the auto body shop and
    2. Is it reasonable to believe that the door came from the factory without the molding
    3. Is the fact that I have been without a car for 40 days "normal"

    And the answer is - "We are really sorry and yes the door and the molding were ordered separately and the door had to be painted at the body shop and while there is not a "back order" on the molding - there is a delay...

    Huh? This is never going to be the same I fear - and worse - when will I have my car again?

  • badulahbadulah Posts: 961
    O Brother!! Don't you just love FMC's "Customer (we don't care) Hot Line"? I have dealt with them in the past. Although they were VERY polite, they didn't help me one bit.

    Hopefully things will go smoothly and you will have your Kitty back in a few days. I have my fingers crossed for you.
  • dmitcheldmitchel Posts: 7
    a a a a!

    YES - they really were polite - and useless!

    sigh... and I am still cat-less!

    ALSO - anyone else annoyed with the placement of the fuse box where the left foot pedal is?

    AND the lame feature of not being able to remove the ashtray while the car is in park?

    OR the blind spots on either side...

    I love the car - don't get me wrong - just in missing it I am dwelling on the negative!
  • lmigliorelmigliore Posts: 148
    dmitchel, you hit the one true weak point of the Cougar: you can't see out the back of the thing to either side. Eventually, one learns to drive very carefully in traffic and only cuts off a few people every day...

    Add seeing out the back and 50 horsepower and the cat is pure gold.
  • gustafscgustafsc Posts: 361
    You might consider using the side mirror a lot more. Set it to cover the blind area, glance to see what you can see, and then look into the mirror. No cutting people off!!!!

    Also, if you're really paying attention to what's going on around you, you'll know if anybody's there in the first place.

    Try driving a truck with absolutely no rear or side vision, and you'll get used to using the mirrors real fast.

    Skip G
  • dmitcheldmitchel Posts: 7
    I DO use the side mirrors - all the time as well as the rear view mirror - but there are still blind spots - and if you are driving at a steady speed on a multi-lane freeway and all traffic is about the same pace - it is very easy to forget that someone crept into a blind spot on one side or the other. I am a fanatic about checking all mirrors before I move - and I have had some scary moments getting used to knowing for certain - that no matter what - I have blind spots. I think it is better to know that than to not - I love the car - but it could be an issue they should look into for future designs.
This discussion has been closed.