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Ford Cougar (Europe)
Ford Cougar
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1998-2002
Assembly United States/Germany
Predecessor Ford Probe
Class Coupé
Body style(s) 2-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Engine(s) 2.0 L Zetec
2.5 L Duratec V6
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic (V6 only)
Fuel capacity 60 L (16 US gal/13 imp gal)
Related Ford Puma, Ford Mondeo, Ford Ka (As stated by Ford on Ford Cougar Model box)

The Ford Cougar is 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 Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the United States, the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar.


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 forebearer, 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 specification 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 due to his appearance in the film Easy Rider.[1] At the same time Steppenwolf's 1968 hit "Born To Be Wild" played, as this was featured in the film and the same scene the advertisement re-created.



Ford Cougar rear 3/4 view

The Cougar came equipped with the 2.0 litre (16v) Zetec or 2.5 litre (24v) Duratec V6 engines with two specification levels, largely equivalent to a Mondeo Ghia (standard) and Ghia X (simply X).[2] Manual and automatic transmissions were available for the 2.5 model. All variants came with 16" alloy wheels as standard. The 2.0 litre version had 130 PS (96 kW/128 hp) as standard, while the 2.5 was rated at 170 PS (125 kW/168 hp).[3]


The car has been described by critics as "[putting] its power down effectively and [tackling] twisty roads with confidence."[4] The standard wheels had 215 mm width tyres which greatly contributed towards its cornering abilities.


An "X pack" was available on the larger engine; this included leather upholstered and heated front seats with 6 way electric adjustment for the drivers seat and a Ford RDS6000 6-speaker radio with 6-CD autochanger.[5]

Available at an extra cost and not included in the "X pack" were heated windscreen, electric tilt and slide sunroof and metallic paint.[5]

Safety and security

The 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.[6]

Colour options

Colour option available on the European continent only

Five colours were available in the UK, these were:[5]

  • Ebony black
  • Silver frost
  • Melina blue (1997-2000 only)
  • Amazon green (2000-2001 only)
  • Dark tourmaline (1998-2000 only)


When the Mk2 Mondeo was replaced with a new Mk3 Mondeo, the Cougar was dropped in Europe in 2002.[7] The car's cost and lack of a prestigious badge were amongst the problems; the success of the BMW 3-Series coupe 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 United Kingdom.[8]


  1. CARkeys - Ford Cougar V6
  2. Channel 4 Car - Ford Cougar (1998-2001) Review: On the road
  3. UK Cougar - Technical Specifications
  4. - Car reviews; Ford Cougar (98-02): Handling
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 UK Cougar - About the Cougar
  6. Channel 4 Car - Ford Cougar (1998-2001) Review: Safety and Security
  7. What Car? - USED Ford Cougar (98-02): Which one should I get?
  8. Honest John - Ford Cougar (1998 - 2000)

External links

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ford Cougar (Europe). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia