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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's a great-value, fine-handling coupe, and the V6 is quick

Against Its anonymous looks and the dull cabin hold back the Cougar's appeal

Verdict An inexpensive way into a purpose-built coupe

Go for… 2.5i V6

Avoid… 2.0i 16v

Ford Cougar Coupe
  • 1. Some Cougars have fallen into the hands of boy racers, so look for signs of accident damage
  • 2. Only regular major complaint from owners has been with the air-con. Check it blows hot and cold
  • 3. The cabin is not an especially inspiring place to be, but it's well put together
  • 4. Make sure the cabin fittings aren't damaged, because parts are becoming scarce
  • 5. Other than a few niggles with the suspension, Cougars are basically sound
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Ford Cougar Coupe full review with expert trade views

The Cougar was Ford's attempt to repeat the success of the smaller Puma, but in the mid-size coupe sector. Based on the same chassis as the contemporary Mondeo, which was easily the best handling car in its class, the Cougar certainly handled well and drove keenly. But, the ride was too firm at low speeds and there was too much body roll in bends.

The engines were also taken from the Mondeo, and the 128bhp 2.0-litre motor has just about enough power to match the Cougar's sporting pretensions. However, the 167bhp 2.5 V6 makes the Cougar genuinely quick, and capable of 0-60mph in a reasonable 8.2 seconds. It also makes it a relaxed tourer on long trips.

The cabin is not especially inspiring to look at, but it's well put together and there's enough space for four adults, which is quite rare in a coupe. The boot is a good size, too, and the rear seat splits and folds.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

They now look so cheap values had to stabilise. Good value compared with competition

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Our favourite is the 2.5 V6. It's smoother than the 2.0-litre, gives better performance and has a pleasantly crisp exhaust note when it's working hard. That makes it a far more enjoyable car to own and drive and, to cap it all, there's not a huge penalty in economy over the 2.0-litre model.

Stick with the five-speed manual gearbox, though, as this makes for a more exciting - and faster - drive. The automatic simply doesn't cut it in a supposedly sporty coupe.

The 2.0-litre is dependable and will suit most drivers, but it's not even quick enough to keep up with hot hatches, so you'll need to adopt a more laid back attitude on the road.

Each car has its own trim level, but try to find a V6 model with the optional X-Pack, which has leather upholstery, a CD autochanger and metallic paint.

You'll most likely be looking at independent used car dealers and private sellers now, because the last Cougar was sold new in 2002.

Trade view

James Ruppert

2.0 much easier to sell than thirsty and group 14 V6

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The V6 may have considerably more power and performance, but you don't pay too dearly for the added oomph.

You can expect fuel economy of 30.0mpg from the V6 and around 34.0mpg for the 2.0-litre, so neither is too thirsty. The two are also not far apart on insurance, with the 2.0 falling into group 11 and the V6 group 14.

Servicing at a Ford main agent is not as expensive as some other mainstream manufacturers' garages, but you're likely to save by going to an independent. There are plenty of Ford specialists around the country, and because the Cougar has its roots in the Mondeo, almost any competent mechanic can look after one.

Parts prices for the Cougar are reasonable and any repairs should not cost any more than for a Mondeo.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

They now look so cheap values had to stabilise. Good value compared with competition

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Cougar may not have been the most popular car when it was new, but used buyers have been quick to cotton on to its excellent reputation for reliability.

Warranty Direct rates the Cougar very highly and says that the only major complaint owners have had with the car in the UK has been with the air-con. There have been a few niggles with the suspension and 2.0-litre engine, but nothing serious, and there are plenty of Cougars out there with very high mileages that continue to give trouble-free service.

It is worth making sure that the interior is in good shape, as it's unique to the Cougar and, although parts are available now, these unique parts are becoming scarcer.

Due to its good value for money and sporty image, some Cougars have fallen into the hands of boy racers, so look for signs of accident damage.

Trade view

James Ruppert

2.0 much easier to sell than thirsty and group 14 V6

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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