1998 Mercury Cougar Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

High Gear Media Staff High Gear Media Staff  
May 10, 1999

It's a new Lincoln Mercury. It's no longer hyphenated, and it's no longer called a "division" of Ford Motor Co. When it comes to products, here's how it looks for 1999. The Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Navigator will meet federal low-emission vehicle standards for light trucks.

LINCOLN

Last year was a big year for Lincoln, with redesigns of the Continental and Town Car and the launch of the Navigator. This year the existing models get few changes, as Lincoln looks forward to the introduction of its LS sedans, which are scheduled to go into production this spring.

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The Continental gets side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger as standard equipment. Horsepower for the 4.6-liter V-8 engine increases from 260 to 275. The Town Car also adds front side airbags as standard equipment.

The Navigator's engine is more powerful. The existing 5.4-liter 16-valve single-overhead-cam V-8 gets an increase in power from 230 to 260 horsepower (hp) and in torque from 325 to 345 pound-feet. But during the model-year, this engine will be replaced by a 5.4-liter 32-valve dual-overhead-cam Intech V-8 rated at 300 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. Power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals are standard equipment and allow shorter individuals to reach the pedals easily yet avoid the path of a deploying airbag. The third-row seats get rollers for easier removal.

The 2000-model-year LS luxury sports sedan arrives in May on a platform designed as rear-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, a basic suspension design it will share with Jaguar's new S-Type. There will be a choice of V-6 or V-8 overhead-camshaft engines and two new transmissions (one manual, one automatic), all-speed traction and skid control, and anti-lock brakes.

1999 Mercury Cougar

1999 Mercury Cougar

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MERCURY

1998 Mercury Cougar

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The Cougar, brand-new for 1999, is based on the Mystique platform. This sporty two-door is available with two engines: a 2.5-liter Duratec V-6 engine (170 hp) with 24 valves or a four-cylinder 16-valve 2.0-liter Zetec (125 hp) with variable camshaft timing. The V-6 engine is available with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The four-cylinder comes with the five-speed manual. The Cougar gets side-impact airbags as an option.

The Villager has been extensively redesigned for 1999. A larger V-6 engine goes from 3.0 to 3.3 liters and from 151 hp to 170 hp and from 174 to 200 lb-ft of torque. The suspension, steering and brakes have been improved. A driver-side rear sliding door has been added. The interior is roomier and better equipped. Legroom has been increased for second-row passengers. And, since the rear overhang has been increased by 3 inches, the third row also gets more room. If you have any brainstorms you can record short messages using TravelNote, an optional voice recorder located on the driver's visor.

The Grand Marquis has new colors and trim changes, and anti-lock brakes can be ordered separately or with traction control.

The Mountaineer gets some interior refinements, optional side airbags for front-seat occupants, and an optional reverse sensing system that uses an ultrasonic sonar system to warn the driver of objects behind the vehicle. The 4.0-liter V-6 engine gets 5 more horsepower (210 hp).

The Mystique's seats have been redesigned to add more knee and leg room for rear-seat passengers. The front suspension has been improved and shares the same design as the European Mondeo. The fuel tank is larger. The base models have been dropped; the simplified lineup now contains the GS and LS.

The Sable receives improvements to the interior and ride quality by changes made to the suspension.

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