Known as one of the truly great muscle cars, the sleek and easy gliding Mercury Cougar has swept the automobile market scene in its budding with its luxurious appeal and brawny engine. This performance icon has evolved through the years from muscle to charisma. Even with its stop in 2002, the Cougar remained an iconic vehicle of legendary status in power and class.
1967-1970: The charming brawn
First introduced as an upscale version of the Ford Mustang, the Mercury Cougar boasted a mature and luxury oriented styling while maintaining its reputation as a muscle car. Not only that, this performance car also featured a longer wheel base and was available in XR-7 and GT trims. By 1969, a coupe model was made available, and its appeal earned the fancy of drivers right away. This batch of charismatic Cougars would soon be the transition from muscle to luxury.
1971-1973: A shift to luxury
The second generation signaled the end of the muscle car era with new configurations leading to luxury and fuel economy. The plush pony Cougar is now made compact with a sportier look. While it received a major overhaul to be more luxury oriented, the revamped Cougar received a drop down in performance with only a standard 163hp engine.
1974-1976: Larger Cougar
With a more upsized Cougar frame, the big-block V8 engines were now specifically designed for torque instead of horsepower because of its heavier curb weight. Also, only the XR-7 trim of the third generation survived the end of the muscle and pony market.
1977-1979: Size change due to fuel crisis
Because of the fuel crisis, the manufacturers decided to lean to a larger and more personal-luxury oriented Cougar that mirrored the Ford Thunderbird. Despite this change of market, the automobile continued to sport the 302 V8 engine but with a decreased motor size.
1980-1982: Following the downsizing trend
The fifth generation of the Cougar featured a boxier and more angular look. This change of aesthetics, however, was not received well by the public. This giving in to the downsizing trend led to a noticeable decrease in the vehicle’s sales.
1983-1988: Back to the basics
Because of the last batch’s unpopularity, Mercury decided to offer only a two-door coupe Cougar. It featured an AMC Gremlin-style quarter windows, which were well loved by the consumers. By the end of the batch, a 20th Anniversary Edition package was offered with special configurations for the luxury coupe.
1989-1997: A sportier Cougar
The seventh generation highlighted with a sportier and larger redesign. Additionally, a squarer rear quarter windows, which no longer upswept were also equipped. Aside from the installation of new type of windows, the Cougar also received a longer wheelbase and a fully independent rear suspension for the first time.
1999-2002: Cougar’s end
The last generation of the Mercury Cougar was equipped with a contemporary package of DOHC four-valve engines, a fully independent multilink suspension, and a front-wheel drive. It was also the first and last generation to offer a hatchback Cougar. However, despite the package, the production of the Mercury Cougar was discontinued by 2002 in Ford’s restructuring plan.