Ford Mercury Cougar Seventh generation
|1989 to 1997|
|Assembly||United States: Lorain, Ohio|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Platform||Ford MN12 platform|
|Related||Ford Thunderbird Lincoln Mark VIII|
|Engine||3.8 L Essex V6 (1989–1997) 5.0 L Windsor V8 (1991–93) 4.6 L Modular V8 (1994–97)|
|Transmission||Four-speed AOD or 4R70W automatic Five-speed manual M5R2(1989–90)|
|Wheelbase||113.0 in (2,870 mm)|
|Length||1989–1991: 198.7 in (5,047 mm) 1992–94: 199.9 in (5,077 mm) 1995–97: 200.3 in (5,088 mm)|
|Width||1989–1994: 72.7 in (1,847 mm) 1995–97: 73.1 in (1,857 mm)|
|Height||1989–1991: 52.7 in (1,339 mm) 1992–97: 52.5 in (1,334 mm)|
|Curb weight||3528 lb (1600 kg) with V6 3666 lb (1663 kg) with V8|
The Cougar entered its seventh generation with a completely new body and chassis. Nothing carried over from the previous Cougar except for badging and the engine. In fact, only six parts were carried over from 1988. The biggest change was the switch to the larger MN12 chassis, which was shared with the Ford Thunderbird. The chassis featured a fully independent rear suspension, a first for the Cougar. It was also nine inches (229 mm) longer (104.2 vs. 113 inches) for better rear leg room. The flowing lines and extreme notchback roofline were still there, but this generation integrated the two much more successfully. To the surprise of fans, the car had no V8 engine available when introduced. Instead, the base LS had a naturally aspirated 140 hp (104 kW) 3.8-L V6, backed by a four-speed automatic transmission, which had a hard time moving the nearly 3,800 lb (1,700 kg) Cougar.
The XR-7 had a 210 hp (157 kW) supercharged version of the same engine; the car could be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with overdrive. Mercury spared no expense in equipping its XR-7 performance model. Standard features included four-wheel antilock disc brakes, an electronically adjustable, sport-tuned suspension, monochromatic paint scheme in red, white, or black, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The base LS's more luxury-oriented features included a fully digital instrument cluster and exterior chrome trim.
The Cougar saw a minor facelift for 1991, with a smaller grille and slight changes to the headlights, taillights, and side trim. Sales of the supercharged XR7 in 1989 and 1990 were slow, and as a result the 3.8-L SC engine was replaced by the 200 hp (149 kW) 5.0-L V8 in 1991 and became an option for the LS models. A special edition was built in 1992 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Cougar.
In 1993, as part of a consolidation of the model lineup, the LS nameplate was dropped completely and the XR-7, now badged XR7, became the only model available. It was equipped much like the LS except for the leather-wrapped wheel/shifter and full analog gauge cluster.
As part of Ford's 1994 facelift for the MN12 platform, the 1994 Cougar received an all new interior, updated tail lights, grille, and body side molding. Ford's new OHC 205 hp (153 kW) 4.6-L V8 replaced the pushrod 5.0-L V8, and all models came standard with the 4R70W four-speed automatic transmission.
For the 1996 model year, the exterior was given a significant facelift, similar to its MN12 cousin Ford Thunderbird. The front and rear bumper covers, headlights, grille, and moulding were updated, giving the car a more modern look. The 4.6-L engine received an updated composite intake manifold, giving the car 15 lb·ft (20 N·m) of additional torque over the 1995 model and the transmission was improved for increased reliability. The interior was given a minor update, which included a revised instrument cluster, much like that of the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable of the time and a center console with cup holders. The ashtray and cigarette lighter were relocated to the space previously occupied by the information center, now integrated in the instrument cluster. Another anniversary edition car was built to commemorate 30 years.
Due to slowing sales and the imminent cancellation of the MN12 program, in 1997, Ford began cost-cutting measures and discontinued many convenience items, such as the elimination of the courtesy lamps, underhood light and glove box light. This was the last year for the MN12 Cougar, as Ford ultimately decided to discontinue its trio of personal luxury cars: the Mark VIII, the Cougar, and the Thunderbird to concentrate on production of high-profit SUVs.
The last Lorain, Ohio-built Mercury Cougar rolled off the assembly line on September 4, 1997.
Total Production: 1989: 97,246 1990: 76,467 1991: 60,564 1992: 46,982 1993: 79,700 1994: 71,026 1995: 60,201 1996: 38,929 1997: 35,267