A totally unbiased view. I bought this car new in 1987. I really wanted to buy a Monte Carlo, but GM was exempting that model from the attractive financing programs. There was another big factor... The price of the Cougar and the Monte were about the same, but the Chevrolet only had air conditioning, while the Cougar was VERY well equipped (for comparably priced models).
The 3.8 V6 has reasonably good performance, which is substantially better than the GM 3.8. The Automatic overdrive always has, and does buck at times, but there have been no problems with it.
Besides the things you would expect on a personal luxury car, it has power locks, windows, mirrors, driver's seat, cruise control, all of which still work.
Has a super digital speedometer, which displays miles or kilometers, trip meter, and has a real cool 'speed' setting, which gives you an alarm if you drive 5 MPH over the set speed. In its day, it was state of the art!
Rides and drives really nice, especially for the rear seat passengers. With all that stuff, you would think I would have encountered some kind of electrical demon, but... knock wood!
The window and door seals are well designed, and are quite hefty, keeping the interior very quiet. The seats are very comfortable, but the very high backs create a visibility problem. The dashboard has great visibility, and all the controls are easy to use, with minimal distraction.
What was really unusual about it, is that the power windows and seat control are on the center console. Confuses the mind of your passenger, and you have to be careful not to spill your drink on it, but I've always liked the location. I would highly recommend this car (or the similar Thunderbird model) to anyone who wants a classic rear wheel drive, personal luxury car.
Now the downsides, which are few. It is very long as compared to its width. It is nearly 2 feet longer than my full-size 1977 Dodge 'Hippie' van. Because of this, it has the turning circle of a U-Haul truck. It is also extremely hard to make turns with it. If you take the corner too fast, it is the most scary experience you will ever have in your car. The visibility is TERRIBLE, which can also be scary in tight quarters. The large, triangular rear windows are the biggest reason for this.
The headlight and marker lights are a real bear to change, but they don't often need changing. You also have the ongoing problem of condensation inside these assemblies, which have caused some discoloration of the lenses.
If you tilt the seat, or the seat back, to its full limit, it will jump the track, and you'll need a crowbar to get it back over. The inner part of the leather steering wheel is made of some kind of black, gooey, substance, which is now leaking out, and is like getting tar on your hands. Of course, I put a cover on it.
Parking is also an unpleasant experience! Sometimes I have to back up, and reposition it, even in a full size parking lot space. So not only is it hard to get into that space, you also need every inch of it! And if it's a REAL tight spot, you might have to go at it 3 times, both getting in, and backing out.
So there you go. A complete analysis of the good, the bad, and the ugly, of owning this car for 20 years.