A true grand tourer
New automatic gearbox fitted at 6,500 miles under warranty.
Ford will rue the day they did not offer the ST200 engine from the start.
The only Cougar model worth considering is the 24v X with leather seats. The 2.0 litre version is all show and no go and the seats in the cloth trimmed models are the most uncomfortable ever fitted to a car. Car and Driver magazine in the USA remarked that the comfort of the non-leather seats was "like sitting on four pine logs!"
The 2.5 V6 engine is a smooth performer until a note of harshness creeps in at higher revs. This engine does have an annoying tendency to hold onto revs after gearchanges. My Cougar has the four speed automatic box, and this unit appears to be well suited to the engines characteristics.
Fuel economy I have found to be outstanding. Keeping to UK speed limits on a run you should achieve between 33 to 35 mpg. Round town expect 24 to 28 mpg depending on your driving style and mood.
The ride is firm at low speeds but improves greatly the faster you go. Cougars exported from the US have the sports suspension package as standard. Corners can be taken at insane speeds such is the confidence this car inspires. Very high lateral G forces can be achieved and the Cougar is one of the quickest cars on a slalom course.
Don't be put off by the 2.5 V6 engine. It is very cheap to service and basically only requires oil changes up to 30,000 miles. The long life spark plugs are not replaced until 100,000 miles!
Unusually, my automatic gearbox dramatically failed at only 6,500 miles. Apart from that (and that was enough), nothing else has gone wrong. Remember, this is a car designed to survive a Chicago winter and a summer in Phoenix.
It is a beautiful looking car with a practical hatch arrangement. However the rear seats are only suitable for people under 5'8".
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 30th December, 2000