I have a 2000 Mercury Cougar, V6, Auto. 112,000 miles.
My only real complaint is the sunroof, which broke 2 years ago thanks to a known design flaw that Ford refuses to recall. It's a $1,500+ repair job, which just isn't worth it for a sunroof. It was fixed for the 2001+ model years, but '99 and '00 owners are out of luck as far as Ford is concerned. (Find out more at www.cougarsunroof.com if you're interested.)
Other than that, I had a leaky gasket in the exhaust system around 30,000 miles or so. It wasn't a big deal (since what was leaking was exhaust -- which is just blown out of the tailpipe anyway), but it was under warranty so it was fixed.
Alternator was replaced around 60,000 miles or so (and surprisingly still fell under extended warranty, so all I had to pay was a deductible).
Brake rotors have been resurfaced, but have not needed replacement.
There are a couple of minor annoyances. First, the cup holder is not just useless -- it's almost guaranteed to spill your drink when you make a right turn. Second, to open the hatch you have to lift as you push the button on the remote -- if you wait so much as a second between pushing the button and trying to lift the hatch, it will catch again. This is probably because it's so heavy, just hitting the release doesn't allow it to rise high enough to avoid catching. Not a big deal, but it is annoying and it makes the inside hatch release useless (there's no way to push it and then get back to the hatch in time to lift it -- you have to use the key or the remote).
With the exception of the sunroof issue, I have been very happy with this car. The sunroof is just a bad design that was fixed for later years. Shame on Ford for not recalling/fixing the problem -- or at the very least, allowing owners to have it repaired for just the cost of labor.
Ironically, when I bought the Cougar, it had been previously returned to the dealership under the Lemon Law. Apparently, there was a "constant vibration" that the previous owner could not get fixed. After about 6 months I felt a vibration, but got the wheels balanced and it went away. Now the only time it returns is when I go too long without having the wheels balanced and tires rotated.
99 V6 auto owner here, I've had about $9000 worth of repairs in the last 2 years, but most of that has been my fault from over-driving it. just figured I'd check in and let all you people with flickering lights to have the negative voltage Diode checked, it is Fuse D1 in the power distribution box. unfortunately, it is also fun to find at a dealer since it has been discontinued, there are only about 10 left in the country at dealers. good luck.
I also own a 99 V6 automatic cougar and now a manual one as well. The only things that are my biggest problem is in the automatic the transmission is broken. It's missing 2nd gear and it doesn't even go into overdrive. I've had for a little over a year and still haven't replaced it b/c of the cost. Also, I have the same problems with the starter grinding out. I was told it was the flywheel and that some teeth on it were missing/chipped. The trunk problem is also wrong, but it doesn't bother me much.
I had the problem with it shaking uncontrollably as mentioned above but I got new back tires and that has seemed to fix it. Other than those I love my cougar but I also hate them for their troubles.
Wow, at least I'm not alone out there. I've had just about all the problems people talk about.
The engine on night light
Moonroof problems (I'm afraid to open it for fear it'll break)
I've been experiencing starter problems for a while. I just today took it in to get it repaired and they called with the flywheel issue...sigh. It was only going to cost around $300 to repair. Now the flywheel costs an additional $150 and they told me they're going to have to remove the transmission to fix that. Lord only knows how much labor is going to be on that.
The only pro is it gets far better gas mileage than my truck. Can't win em' all.
I have a 99 Cougar V-6, 5 speed that I bought new. It had over 120,000 miles on it before I started having major problems. I am at 210,000 right now. I found that the low coolant light comes on when the windshield washer tank is low (found it by accident).
Also, the problem with the trunk was fixed by the dealer by adding a second coil spring next to the latch. I was told that it should have had two initially.
I have a 99 Cougar V6. I bought it new and it now has 97k on it. It still runs like a striped a-- and it uses no oil, 29+ mpg on interstate.
Like almost everyone, I have had to replace the alternator twice, believe me that is a chore. I have had to replace brakes 3 or 4 times and of course my sun roof is broken; it works good as a speedometer cause when you hit 70 mph it starts to flop. It knows 70 is over the regular speed limit.
Someone mentioned that they were having a problem with the left front wheel. Like maybe it was broken or cracked. Mine has started that, it sounds like the wheel is warped. Anyway I would buy it again.
V6 99 Cougar owner here. I love my Cougar; it is a bit wrecked from the previous owner falling asleep on freeway. Ha well yeah I've experienced a couple of the problems some of you people have been saying up there.
The signals have stopped working, but do work occasionally.
My driver's window just gave out; won't go up, pretty much sucks, and the sunroof problem I had, but was just a fuse, but the weird thing is I have to turn my radio to zero to open it..
And the front cup holder; yeah it is pretty useless. Stupid cup holder design.
The trunk locking up in a milliseconds is so annoying. I know how you all feel.. but other than that, I love my Cougar.
Oh the HORROR!! I have a green 2000 v6 cougar. The special edition one with leather seats. I would encourage anyone in their right mind not to ever EVER buy this car. It's like a beauty queen with bipolar disorder... fun to look at, but you start to see issues after a few days. So lets begin.
-After getting her I realized that she wasn't starting correctly. She got a new alternator. Ofcourse with that we had to get a new battery. Luckily my dad worked at the dealership so they did that for free.
-New brakes basically every 2 years since I've had her. Front brakes are the worst. HORRIBLE break dust! You have to clean the rims almost constantly.
-New cadalitic converter. To pass emissions.
-Coolant light is constantly on even though there is plenty of coolant. Apparently this is due to an issue with the 'sensor'. Expect every single sensor in your car to go out and to pay $200 to fix them.
-Check engine light on (this is due to a defect with the car, so this is all cougars from 1999 on... and no they won't recall them or fix them for free)
-Another new alternator, July 2007.
-AND ANOTHER new alternator, June 2008.
-Have to hold down the trunk button while pulling on the trunk to open it. If you lose your keyless entry you will never be able to open the trunk without another person being present.
-Uses Frion like crazy. Air conditioner has to be re-charged at least twice each summer even though there are no leaks.
-Bucket seats so only 4 people can sit in the car at once.
-Passenger window goes down very very very slowly.
-If you are sitting in the car for a while with the ignition off but with the keys in it and then you get out, the alarm goes off.
-If you have to jump start the car, the alarm goes off. After a while the alarm will stop, but the emergency flashers will stay on untill you turn off the car.
-And, ofcourse, THE CRAPPIEST CUP HOLDER IN THE WORLD!!! If I have a drink in the car and I turn a corner at 15mph it spills all over me.
That's all I can think of right now but I'm sure I could go on.