Pros: performance, power, styling, aerodynamic
Cons: ashtray too deep
I have owned my 2000 cat for over a yr now and have had no problems whatsoever. Living in Pennsylvania, we are notorious for our less then Christmas scene winters. And the terrain, well, its not something you want to drive a low profile vehicle on too long. I have been a cougar owner for years and this new front wheel drive and totally changed styling was something I was a little wary about at first but once I drove it around I won't go back. It handles turns that are recommended speeds of 30 at 75, although I am not saying go do it, but the grip, and handling of this car is astounding. Even though it may be considered a performance car, it handles our rough winters like a true cat extending its claws into the road and digging in. I have also discovered from previous cars I owned that this one has got to be one of the easiest to customize. The plastic interior panels are snapped in instead of those pesky hidden screws you can't reach and are very easy to remove to run wires behind or such. As mentioned above, the only thing I find wrong is a very deep ashtray that your cigarette will fall into and you basically have to remove the ashtray to retrieve it. But hey with the power windows, thats why you roll it down an inch and flick it out onto the windshield of the guy wanting to be in the car with you only 3 inches from your bumper. But if you like performance and handling in a car, that will be unlikely, even with the automatic transmission you have the power to get up and go. Like I stated earlier, the new design of this cougar compared to the older more family oriented ones of the past, I would recommend that this not be the family car of choice. The rear seats are a little small and are basically factory child seats. People over 5' 6" would have a stiff neck riding in the rear seats from leaning their head sideways. But all in all, think about it, how many 2 door cars now a days are supposed to be a family sedan anyway? I mean ever see more than 3 people in a Corvette? Same here, two doors = 2 people. Unless you have small kids. On to the exterior. The cute little grill up front placed between the eerie looking smoked "cat eyes" headlights, gives it that intimidating get out of my way look instead of that happy smiling face on the Neon or something, I mean which would you move for if you looked in your rearview? Although the rear of the car could have been made sportier, it fits in with the overall layout of the car, and comes down to one word.....aerodynamic. It cuts through the air like a wedge, hence the term wedge design. Every aspect of the car is rounded and there are no square or pointed edges on it anywhere giving it a true performance feel in a 70 MPH headwind. It is great on gas mileage as well. I have made a 650 mile trip and only filled up once, of course I wasn't going granny speed either:-)So in conclusion, if you are single or have no or small children and looking for an affordable, powerful, eye catcher that handles great with the safety of your passengers in mind and for yourself, no foreign car for the price will do. The only thing that upsets me about it is this is the last year they are making the long running Cougar and to Mercury, I state good car, bad business decision.
UPDATE!!!6/28/03---- I have recently did a major overhaul on this. Added custom chrome wheels, cat back dual exhaust, injen intake, bosch platinum 4 spark plugs, turbocharger, and a viper performance chip. All this was very simple to add and install by myself, which would make what I said about customizing this car even easier than previously stated. It's amazing how much power can actually be gained from this little V6, which when tested now I get 310 HP at the wheels!! So for any of you wanting a nice car which is also easily performance upgradable, this is your car. I mean we true devoted cougar owners dont need some stupid movie (fast and furious) to copy our cars from and think we are cool. I mean think about it, if not for that movie, how many of these young punks would actually waste their money customizing these pieces of crap imports, or even buy one??? Sorry but I am American therefore, I am gonna BUY American:-) By the way, anyone with these imported pieces of crap you think is sooooooo cool and bad. Anytime, Anywhere, pink slip for pink slip...just like the movie..at least that part of the movie you WON'T want to copy now will you:-)