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Mercury Cougar, Hatchback
Jul 12, 2001 (5:35 am)
It is odd that they would have removed ABS as a standard feature on the V6's. I recently read an article about the new 2001-2002 which mentioned something about ABS not being standard. In 1998 when I bought my 1999 Cougar, ABS was standard with the V6 because of the added weight and HP.
I got the Manual Transmission because I love to "row my own" and I also got the optional Traction Control with Limited Slip Differential because they are really helpful tools when driving to the limits of the car (and I only do that sparingly because of all the police presence lately).
Rattles and squeaks are minimal, most occurring during the cold, Winter months, but all disappear when the car warms up. I do get the brake-crunch in reverse, but that's probably happened to everyone who owns a Cougar at least once, and there is no fix for surface rust on the rotors (which happens to all cars).
I had the check engine light come on and stay on for a while during my first year of ownership, and it was odd. I got them to replace the O2 sensor and it was fine, but in year two, the engine light would flash at me if I revved past 5500 RPM, and go out again if I dropped below that. Turned out to be another sensor in the transmission. Never once interfered with the drivability of the Cat.
The only other complaint I had with mine was the poor choice in tires that Mercury went with on the Cougar, but how were they to know? The previous generation Firestone Firehawks were awesome tires that definately lasted to their potential (I had them on a previous vehicle) but somewhere between 95 and 98, Firestone must have changed the compound. The stock tires started losing grip around 20K miles, and never consistently delivered good ride/performance quality after that. I took care of that last weekend though, when I replaced them with the other stock tire, the BFG Comp T/A VR4's, which are much better tires, to be honest.
I've replaced the stock air filter and box with an open element air filter, which you can get at www.kustomz.com, and I've replaced the stock exhaust with the Borla dual, which absolutely gives the Cat the growl it deserves.
Other than that, I have the convenience group, the sport group, leather, and I just recently replaced the stereo head unit with an aftermarket unit, rendering my 6-disc CD changer moot, but really improved the overall sound quality - even with the stock speakers!
Anyway, I LOVE my Cougar and still haven't seen anything coming out that I would be willing to drive on a regular basis (that I can afford) other than it.
Take care, and Happy Cougaring!
Jul 12, 2001 (6:26 am)
ABS & Traction control were never standard w/V6/MTX. Ordered mine 7/98, and deferred on those options. Still have the original Cougar pamphlet listing them as options.
#589 of 697 Rattles?
Jul 12, 2001 (7:53 am)
I've got tons!!!! From what i've read on various message boards and numerous reviews, "noises" and "rattles" are very commen in Cougars. It's still a fun car to drive, but the noises are annoying as hell. I live in the south where the roads are very smooth and still hear all kinds of rattles in my dash. I think burnsmr4 can back me on this rattle topic.
ryster: what kind of cars have you owned that started rattling within 1 year of ownership? The Cougar is a first for me.
Jul 12, 2001 (8:56 am)
Let me start by saying that I get new vehicles alot, so that is why the list may seem long (I have yet to find my "dream" car). But here is the list of cars that rattled noticeably within the first year: Pontiac Grand Am, Pontiac Grand Prix, Volkswagen New Beetle, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Explorer (current vehicle; rattles only very minor at this point). I am starting to think I am cursed with rattles. I have friends and family who have vehicles that NEVER get rattles. Mine always do
Jul 12, 2001 (9:59 am)
I noticed all the cars(except Beetle) are domestic.......I wonder if you would experience rattles if you bought a non-domestic brand. I have owned Toyota Corollas, civics, accord and altima. Not one of these cars rattled. Just a thought.....I don't know if I was just lucky or what........
Jul 12, 2001 (10:09 am)
Hi!I have thought about that too. Being 6'5" tall, however, there are not too many import models I fit in. The new '02 Nissan Altima supposedly has a 2" increase in front leg room so it may be something to consider. The Cougar, though, has plenty of room for me hence my interest in it. My dad had a '98 Mystique that remained very rattle free in 40,000+ miles. His '00 Dodge Stratus is also rock solid at 14,000 miles. My Mom's '97 Explorer remained rattle free for 3 years and 32K miles (partly why I went for my '00 Explorer). I did test drive a '00 Accord coupe before I bought the Explorer and it had a bad dash rattle with only 20 miles on the odometer. I'm convinced I have a curse (or my expectations are way too high).
Jul 12, 2001 (11:35 am)
I, myself, think I am too anal about stuff like that(rattles, noises and such). My wife looks at me like I'm a freak when we're driving down the road and I "think" I hear some weird noise and I turn the radio down and bend my head towards the dash. I think I need counseling!!!!
Jul 13, 2001 (6:23 am)
So far, the only rattles I've had are the CD's in the center console, and that's been right from the start.
However, I don't think that that's a fault of the car, the CD boxes just aren't soft enough
Jul 13, 2001 (6:49 am)
Gustafsc: ABS was never standard with the V6? I could have sworn ...
Anyway, I knew Traction Control was an option from day one. Maybe the ABS is a "standard option" with the Sport or Convenience groups? Is that where I went wrong with my info?
I don't wanna be wrong! LOL!
Ryster, I'm 6'6", and you're right, the econo-coffins just don't do it for me in the roominess department, but the Cougar is nice and big in the front seats! I don't have too many rattles, and none of them are apparent on the highway. It's not until I hit the crappy roads that I drive on everyday, and I wouldn't consider them bad after three years of ownership (I drove off the lot in my Cat on July 10, 1998 - hard to believe it's been three years already, and I LOVE this car!)
Anyway, I think that if you test drive one that has rattles, then try another one and perhaps it wont. It's like picking eggs at the grocery store - you have to check to see which ones are broken.
Take care, and Happy Cougaring!
Jul 15, 2001 (7:44 am)
I just wanted to thank you all for your responses re: the Cougar. This is by far the the best forum on this site!
I have run and rerun the numbers for a Cougar several times now, and there simply is no way I feel comfortable buying one right now. With the Firestone/rollover dilemma still fresh in the minds of consumers, the trade-in value of my Explorer has plummeted. It has depreciated close to 50% in less than one year. Granted they aren't known for their stellar resale, but there has definitely been an accelerated loss.
If Mercury were to offer a 0.9% for 60month program like Ford has been known to do, it would be very possible. The current $2K rebate with conventional financing isn't enough to comfort the blow of having to roll over $3.5K from the Explorer.
The Cougar is still on the top of my list should the market change. Things should really get interesting in the next 6 weeks as the end of the model year approaches.