CC Capsule: 1995 Mercury Cougar XR7 – Great Expectations

Quick: If it was 1995, what person do you picture as the driver of this car?  We’ll let the answer go unsaid, but if you’re like me, you wanted a V8 Cougar in spite of the car’s image.

I went so far as to test drive a few V8 Cougars and Thunderbirds, and I liked them quite a bit more than the concurrent Mustang GT.  The Cougar had a more natural driving position than the Mustang, and I liked that it wasn’t viewed as a performance car even though they shared quite a bit of powertrain DNA.

By 1993, all Cougars were XR7s.

For the era, this nose isn’t bad compared to all the ovoid, flavorless dumplings being produced at the time–I like crisp lines and a bit of starch in my shirts.

Though I never had a Cougar or T-Bird on the highway long enough to verify it, I always imagined these would be a good highway tourer, and I do know they handled decently around town.  However, I found ride comfort to be poor, and while the body felt tight enough, I always got the sense that the all-independent MN12 suspension was not as well-designed in practice as it looked on paper.

It's a pity the only illuminated parts of this huge expanse of red plastic are the outermost corners.

In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t buy one, but I still wonder what owning one for a while would’ve been like.  The typical transmission issues of this era’s Ford products are enough to keep me from getting too interested now, even for the tiny prices these bring today.

I’ll close in saying the 60-year-old woman who still owns this car has quit driving it in favor of a 2000-ish Buick Century that her father left her.

I guess she didn’t like the ride either.