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Ford Cougar

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Ford Cougar

Ford Cougar (Europe)
Manufacturer Ford Europe
Also called Mercury Cougar
Production 1998–2002
Assembly Flat Rock, Michigan, United States/Köln, Germany
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact car
Body style 2-door coupé
Related Ford Mondeo
Engine 2.0 L Zetec
2.5 L Duratec V6
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,704 mm (106.5 in)
Length 4,699 mm (185.0 in)
Width 1,769 mm (69.6 in)
Height 1,308 mm (51.5 in)
Predecessor Ford Probe

The Ford Cougar is a large coupé car that was produced between 1998 and 2002 by Ford Europe, and sold in the United States from 1999 to 2002 as the Mercury Cougar. The car was originally intended to be the third-generation Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the United States, 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 premièred 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 forebearer, the Capri, Cougar sales were never brisk, despite good reports of the model as a "driver's car".

Like its (indirect) predecessor, the Ford Probe, the 1998 Cougar was sold and built in the United States. Cars destined to be sold in Europe and the UK were finished in Ford's Köln plant in Germany, where the cars had European specification lighting installed, Ford badges applied (and in the case of UK and Australian cars, converted to right-hand-drive); in the US it had different branding, in this case being branded as the Mercury Cougar, while in Europe and Australia it was known as the Ford Cougar.

In the United Kingdom, Ford unveiled the car at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1998.

The television advertisements featured the silver model driven by Dennis Hopper due to his appearance in the film Easy Rider.[1] At the same time Steppenwolf's 1968 hit "Born To Be Wild" played, as this was featured in the film and the same scene the advertisement re-created.

The Cougar was retired from the European market in 2002.[2] After the first two years of production, it was reported that only 12,000 units had been sold in the United Kingdom.[3] In Australia, the Cougar would continue well into 2003.



The Cougar came equipped with the 2.0-litre 16-valve 2.0 L Zetec or 2.5-litre 24-valve Duratec V6 engines with two specification levels, largely equivalent to a Mondeo Ghia (standard) and Ghia X (simply X).[4] Manual and automatic transmissions were available. All variants came with 16-in alloy wheels as standard.

Ford Cougar rear three-quarter view

The 2.0-litre version had 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) as standard, while the 2.5 was rated at 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp).[5]


2.0 16V 2.5-L 24-V 2.5-L 24-V (Automatic)
Engine Zetec Duratec
Cylinders/Valves R4/16 V6/24
Displacement 1988 cc 2544 cc (from 06.2000 = 2495 cc)
Max. power 96 kW (131 PS; 129 hp) @ 5600 rpm 125 kW (170 PS; 168 hp) @ 6250 rpm
Max torque 178 N·m (131 lb·ft) @ 4000 rpm 220 N·m (160 lb·ft) @ 4250 rpm
Drive Front wheel drive
0–100 km/h 10,3 s 8,6 s 10,4 s
Top speed 209 km/h (130 mph) 225 km/h (140 mph) 206 km/h (128 mph)
Weight EU norm 1,315 kg (2,899 lb) 1,390 kg (3,064 lb) 1,410 kg (3,109 lb)
CO2 Emission 202 g/km 228 g/km 240 g/km
Years 1998–2002 1998–2002 1998–2002


The car has been described by critics as "[putting] its power down effectively and [tackling] twisty roads with confidence."[6] The standard wheels had 215 mm-width tyres which greatly contributed to its cornering abilities.


An "X pack" was available on the larger engine; this included leather upholstered and heated front seats with six-way electric adjustment for the driver's seat and a Ford RDS6000 six-speaker radio with six-CD autochanger.[7]

Available at an extra cost and not included in the "X pack" were heated windscreen, electric tilt, slide sunroof, and metallic paint.[7]

Safety and security

The standard safety kit includes driver, passenger, and side airbags, plus ABS brakes and seat belts that reduce chest injuries. The Cougar is well-protected against theft and break-in due to an engine immobiliser, remote-control central and double locking systems, and an alarm.[8]


  1. ^ CARkeys - Ford Cougar V6
  2. ^ What Car? - USED Ford Cougar (98-02): Which one should I get?
  3. ^ Honest John - Ford Cougar (1998 - 2000)
  4. ^ Channel 4 Car - Ford Cougar (1998-2001) Review: On the road
  5. ^ UK Cougar - Technical Specifications
  6. ^ - Car reviews; Ford Cougar (98-02): Handling
  7. ^ a b UK Cougar - About the Cougar
  8. ^ Channel 4 Car - Ford Cougar (1998-2001) Review: Safety and Security
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