Developed at Ford's Dunton and Cologne design centres, the Cougar blends sporty performance and handling with genuine practicality and reasonable running costs. Standard equipment includes Ford's latest ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and traction control and, for the first time, side airbags designed to protect both head and chest from side impacts.
Cougar is based on the Mondeo, but looks very different and has handling characteristics designed to appeal to the more enthusiastic driver thanks to a series of suspension tweaks. The spring and damper rates have been adjusted and there are new tyres and wheels, but engineers have tried not to sacrifice ride refinement in pursuit of extra grip. Steering has also been refined by reducing friction to deliver more feel.
Performance from the 130PS 2.0 and 170PS 2.5 V6 engines will be very similar to Mondeo's, although a closer-ratio gearbox should spice things up by adding extra urgency.