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Old 01-12-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Focus and Cougar comparison.

Lately I've been very curious about the Mercury Cougar. I've been seeing them a lot on the roads lately. And maybe that's just because I haven't really noticed them to begin with, but I have to admit they're pretty cool looking cars. I can't help but wonder what it would've been like if I had bought one, and how they compare in quality and performance with a ZX3.

They're heavier, I know that, but some of them come with 6-cylinder engines to make up for it. They're also priced at about the same as used Foci, of equal year models. Except the only difference is they're discontinued. The front of these cars (headlight and grill pattern) actually look a lot like that of a Focus. I think there was definitely some influence there.

I'm pondering whether I should go to a used car dealership to put one through a test drive, just to see what they're like. I'd NEVER sell or trade my Focus for one, but I may consider buying one if I were to total my (now second) ZX3 in an unfortunate accident. You know, just to try something new. Are there any former Cougar owners on here? Or have you ever considered one yourself? How do these cars compare to the Focus? Please don't hate me.




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Old 01-12-2007, 09:02 AM   #2
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Ah, the Cougar

It's a pretty nice car. At the time I bought my focus (feb of 04), cougars were fetching a good premium over a focus. The Cougar is based on the excellent Contour/Mystique platform. That said, if looking at a cougar, don't waste your time on the zetec powered models. The interior of the cougar is very nice, very comfy inside. It had more emphasis on sportiness than practicality (cougar to focus zx3 comparison). With the 2.5 litre duratec v6, and the mtx75 5 speed (yes the same transaxle as the focus), it makes for a fun lively car.

I had a 99 Contour SE Sport prior to my focus, so I already knew and loved the hardware under the metal of the cougar (it's a contour with a different body shell and interior). It's a great car, was built over at the flat rock plant where the mustangs and mazda6's are made now.

A Cougar with a v6 is definately worth a test drive. The zetec/mtx75 on the cougar is ok, but the automatic 4 cylinder (I don't think they made any in this config, but on the contour it was horrible). It's a very tossable car, like the focus. Just a little bigger.
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
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I had a buddy who had one. He never had a problem out of it. He had the v6 with a 5 speed. They are not that fast, kinda heavy. His biggest issue was there is no after market for these cars. If your looking for a sporty relable car as is ,then I say check one out. If you wan't something you can "trick out",stick with your Focus or better yet find a used SVT.
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:24 AM   #4
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could also get SVT contour topend and a taurus 3.0L block and make 3.0L monster. Also use the SVT contour engine computer.
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Old 01-12-2007, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmoose View Post
The front of these cars (headlight and grill pattern) actually look a lot like that of a Focus. I think there was definitely some influence there.
The "New Edge" styling design that made the Focus stand out actually made its debut on the Cougar.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info, guys. For the record I'm not looking to sell or trade my Focus, like I said, so I don't want to sound like I'm betraying the Focus crowd. I love my ZX3 and intend to keep it for as long as I can. Yet I can't help but check out a Cougar everytime I have the opportunity.

The Cougar is just something I've taken an interest in recently, because it seems to have escaped my radar while I was going car shopping a while back. I find it fascinating how closely it was designed alongside with the Focus/Contour/Mystique, yet it barely gets any recognition.

I'd also like to mention that I drive an automatic Focus (not manual). Yes, I know they're sluggish. I just thought I'd get that out of the way. Believe me, I'd love to learn how to drive manual, and have the luxury of owning an SVT, but truthfully I don't think that'll be happening anytime soon.



WitchcitySVT, that's exactly the type of car I'm hoping to get someday. One that looks and performs great with little or no aftermarket modding. In other words a perfect bone stock car.

While I like my ZX3 very much, I can't help but wish that it came with some of the more attractive and higher quality SVT parts. I'm kinda happy that I ordered an SVT bumper kit for my ZX3, but at the same time I'm feeling a little guilty for misrepresenting that crowd.

I'm somewhat against the idea of fake badges, or making the car look like something it truly isn't. But damnit, I spent around 10 grand on my ZX3 and I want it to look like the best that it can. If it means swapping in SVT parts so be it. I'm only speaking in terms of exterior looks here, of course.

That's one of the main things I admire with the Cougar. It looks good completely stock. I felt the same way about the ZX3 at first, but I became more attracted to the SVT when I ran into this website's gallery. Unfortunately I can't afford one, and they only come in manual transmission, so the next best thing would be to swap parts.

See what I'm getting at here?
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:09 AM   #7
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Its funny, I like the looks of the cougar as well. As said above, the aftermarket for them is limited. If you go to Carlisle you will see about 60-80 foci, a million or so mustangs, but only 4-5 cougars. They just don't get modded that much. I do like them ( sharp little car ), but they have a small following. That means if you get one you will be different, and I do like that. Sure, take one out for a test drive.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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On ebay last year there was a guy selling one that he put a diesel in it. Said he just a had a diesel laying around and made it fit.
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Old 01-12-2007, 10:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viney266 View Post
Its funny, I like the looks of the cougar as well. As said above, the aftermarket for them is limited. If you go to Carlisle you will see about 60-80 foci, a million or so mustangs, but only 4-5 cougars. They just don't get modded that much. I do like them ( sharp little car ), but they have a small following. That means if you get one you will be different, and I do like that. Sure, take one out for a test drive.
They definitely do stand out, and that is one of the things I like about them. But you have to wonder, what type of expenses are we looking at here for maintenance? Are Cougar parts hard to come by, seeing as how they're discontinued? That would probably be one of my main concerns if I were to ever consider purchasing one. Even Focus replacement parts aren't cheap, and it's one of America's best selling cars!
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:09 AM   #10
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Parts for the cougar

Body and interior parts *may* be harder to come by than for a focus or contour/mystique. However, since the car is mechanically identical to a Contour/Mystique, most (if not all) underhood parts are plug and play.

Also, a lot of mechanical bits from the Contour/Mystique lived on in the 00-04 focus. The zetec used in the focus is marginally different (I believe it's a lack of vct), but otherwise the underhood bits are mostly the same - transaxle, etc.
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