I bought my Cougar new, and it always started well. I had it for 14 years. On occasional weekends, I'd drive from Albany, NY to Hartford, Connecticut and back, which is a distance of approximately 250 miles round-trip on three-quarters of a tank, and the drive was very smooth and extremely comfortable. I always enjoyed the rack and pinion steering, which handled extremely well - like a smaller sports car. The transmission performed well, shifting well up hills at 55 mph. Eventually, however, the transmission needed work. (I was never informed of the torque converter recall.) Nevertheless, I miss my Cougar very much. I recently traded it in for a Nissan Frontier pickup, which I needed.
The exterior style - very sleek. The interior, especially the power seats. The overall feeling of sitting in the front seat, which was very comfortable and roomy. The stereo that had four speakers, and sounded magnificent, and blocked out all external noises, like a Lear jet.
The cup holder was in the center armrest, and it was positioned too far back, which made it unusable.