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Mercury/Ford Cougar
Mercury
aka Mercury Cougar (America)
Production 1999-2002
Class Compact Coupe
Body Style 3-Door Coupe
Length 185 in (470 cm)
Width 69.6 in (177 cm)
Height 52.2 in (133 cm)
Wheelbase 106.4 in (270 cm)
Weight 2892 lb (1312 kg)
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Engine 2.0 L Zetec I4
2.5 L Duratec V6
Power 130-170 hp
Similar Acura Integra Coupe
Honda Prelude
Platform CDW27

The Ford Cougar is a mid-sized coupé sold in the European market between 1999 and 2002. The car was named after a famous American muscle car from the Ford stable, the Mercury Cougar. It was originally intended to be the third generation Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the USA the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar.

The Cougar was Ford's second attempt to reintroduce a sports coupé in Europe, in the same vein as the successful but long-absent Capri – the first attempt having been the Mazda MX-6-based Probe. Just as the Capri had been based on the Cortina, the Cougar was based on the large family car available at the time, the Mondeo. It premiered in December 1998 to mixed reviews, partly due to the then-new and controversial New Edge styling – a crisp style which was subsequently applied to most of the Ford range. Unlike its famous forebear the Capri, Cougar sales were never brisk, despite good reports of the model as a "driver's car".

The Cougar came equipped with the 2.0L Zetec and 2.5L Duratec engines with two specification levels, broadly equivalent to a Mondeo Ghia (standard) and Ghia X (simply X) on which these cars were based.

When the Mk. 1 Mondeo was replaced with a new Mondeo, the Cougar was dropped in Europe. The car's cost and lack of a prestigious badge were amongst the problems; the success of the BMW 3-Series coupe proved there was a market for this kind of car.

Like its (indirect) predecessor, the Ford Probe, the 1999 Cougar was sold and built in the United States in addition to Europe, but in the US it had different branding; in this case being branded as the Mercury Cougar. This car was sold in Canada as the Ford Cougar as well as in France. The American Cougar was not a success either, and was discontinued in 2002.

Photos

Design quirks and oddities

Interestingly, Mercury also sold this generation of Cougar in America as the Mercury Cougar, but was not a sales success. For the 2001 model year, the Cougar was "updated" with new headlights, front and rear facsias, and updated interior trim. The 4-cylinder model was dropped for 2002, the last year before Ford's Restructuring plan decided to cancel the Cougar.


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