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The Ford Cougar was a large coupé car sold in the European market between 1998 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 Ford Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the United States, the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar. For more information, visit the Ford Cougar forum on TalkFord.com, the definitive resource site covering all Fords from the 1970's.
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".
Like its (indirect) predecessor, the Ford Probe, the 1998 Cougar was sold and built in the United States, Although cars destined to be sold in Europe and the UK were finished in Ford's Köln plant in Germany where the cars had European spec lighting installed, Ford badges applied and in the case of UK 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 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.
The Cougar came equipped with the 2.0 litre (16v) Zetec and 2.5 litre (24v) Duratec V6 engines with two specification levels, largely equivalent to a Mondeo Ghia (standard) and Ghia X (simply X). Manual and automatic transmissions were available for the 2.5 model. All variants came with 16" alloy wheels as standard.
The car has been described by critics as "[putting] its power down effectively and [tackling] twisty roads with confidence."<ref>Parkers.co.uk - Car reviews; Ford Cougar (98-02): Handling</ref> The standard wheels had 215mm width tyres which greatly contributed towards its cornering abilities.
An "X pack" was available on the larger engine, this included leather upholstered & heated front seats with 6 way electric adjustment for the drivers seat and a Ford RDS6000 6-Speaker CD Radio with 6-CD autochanger.
Safety and security
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, as well as an alarm.<ref>Channel 4 Car - Ford Cougar (1998-2001) Review: Safety and Security</ref>
Five colours were available in the UK.
- Ebony black
- Silver frost
- Melina blue (1998-2000 only)
- Amazon green (1998-2000 only)
- Dark tourmaline
When the Mk2 Mondeo was replaced with a new MK3 Mondeo, the Cougar was dropped in Europe in 2002.<ref>What Car? - USED Ford Cougar (98-02): Which one should I get?</ref> The car's cost and lack of a prestigious badge were amongst the problems; the success of the BMW 3-Series coupé proved there was a market for this kind of car.
After the first two years of production it was reported that only 12,000 units had been sold in the UK.<ref>Honest John - Ford Cougar (1998 - 2000)</ref>
Pages in category "Cougar"
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