Disappointing and expensive to maintain in the long run
Panel warning lights.
First of all, let me say that the 1999 Cougar was "Love at First Sight". The Laser Red paint and those wheels!!! OMG My heart would actually race when I would see one. HAD TO HAVE IT!
Those contoured back seats got rave reviews from passengers.
Have owned multiple Ford products after two bad GM experiences (Buick & Olds). Owned a Mustang (notoriously bad in snow) until I needed to put a car seat in the back, and those Mustang doors were killing the back of my legs so a got a Mom-mobile... Escort Wagon. That stupid looking little 4 cylinder car was an amazing vehicle. Good on gas, loads of pick up and I climbed snowy hills and let SUV 4-wheel drives eating my dust (I mean snow).
Kept the Escort in the family, but bought the Cougar when I no longer needed the child seat. The Escort ROCKS... no kidding. I was amazed. I was used to a V-8 or 6 cylinder. The salesman made me drive that Escort and it was a blast... so fun... quick... peppy, but I became a true believer during bad snow storms. When you have your baby in the car and you walk out of a shopping mall only to find that a blizzard hit... I wasn't sure my heart could take it. The snow was coming down so hard that it was blinding! Headlights made matters worse, and street lights were out in some places. That night I thanked Ford for making that Escort Wagon and thanked the Lord for getting us home safely. We kept the Escort until 2008 and sold it to someone who was desperate for an inexpensive car... that bad baby is still running!!!
Now, back to the Cougar... constantly replaced front brakes and rotors. Tires were expensive and not readily available most places, and I always needed a front end alignment due to constantly needing brakes, rotors and tires. Didn't have a shake free ride at higher speeds, which is such a bummer when you're driving a really beautiful, flashy looking car. Loved the lines on the car, loved its appearance both coming and going. Didn't like those stupid plastic vents under the front bumper that had to be reattached all the time.
The gas gauge is ALWAYS wrong in the Ford cars. I reset my mileage indicator at every fill-up... even now that I have a VW... it's become a habit after years of Ford ownership, but I do it now just to gauge how good my mileage is on a tank of gas, because of how expensive gas is.
Panel warning lights on the Cougar never gave a true indication of a problem... it was usually a problem with the warning lights EXCEPT for when the ALTERNATOR light came on and it was all over when that happened. I was stranded and angry.
Cup holder was stupid, but a minor inconvenience.
When the alternator went, I just lost it because it was also time for new rotors and front brakes again. Lucky for me, I was stranded on a road where there was a VW dealership. I walked there, they towed my car, gave me $2,000 for it in 2006 (thieves!!!), but I drove away in a Jetta. I bought it because of all the advertised safety features, it was the right size for toting around teenagers and when I did some serious highway driving... well!!! That's when you really appreciate that German engineering.
Now, looking at my Jetta doesn't give me that emotional reaction I had to the Cougar, but it's a classy looking car... very shiny black paint and with the chrome grill on the front... so European looking... so I've grown up and I'm loving the Jetta but it is a bit overpriced. Depending on how it wears over the years... if I'm not completely happy, I may go back to an Escort Sedan. My Jetta doesn't do snowy hills very well, which came as a major shock to me.
Oh, and yes... those Lincoln/Mercury dealerships are snobs. I can't tell you how much time I spent sitting around their service department time and time again. Car was never ready when promised and I always got that fake smile from everybody who passed me by because I became a fixture there. I held my tongue and patience every single time, except for once, and I just had to "go off" on the owner. He gave me some minor compensation for my inconvenience, so right then I knew I would never buy a Merc again.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 14th July, 2009