Used 1997 Mercury Cougar Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Mercury gives you the chance to buy a special anniversary edition replete with plenty of badges, a special interior and a few luxury doo-dads.

Vehicle overview

Mercury sells half as many Cougars as Ford does the mechanically identical Thunderbird. Not bad, considering Mercury's more limited dealer network and the Cougar's more conservative styling. In concept, the Cougar is a traditional luxo-coupe boulevardier, but when infused with Ford's potent modular 4.6-liter V8, the Cougar's purr becomes a snarl.

Amazingly, the hefty Cougar V8 turns in some pretty impressive performance figures. It feels much quicker and lighter than it actually is. The exterior features traditional cues such as a chrome grille and formal roofline. Unfortunately, these looks make the Cougar a prime candidate for aftermarket or dealer-installed luxury packages' that include such gimcrackery as tacky opera lamps, fake convertible roof applications, and yucky gold trim add-ons. Not even the factory can resist cluttering Cougar's lines; a non-functional luggage rack is available on the options list. Inside, the Cougar offers first-class accommodations for five, with a sweeping dashboard that provides a cocooned cockpit feel to front passengers.

Since this is the last year for the rear-wheel drive Cougar, Mercury has decided to make it a special model. An Anniversary package is offered for buyers who want to commemorate this car's passing. The package includes a sportier suspension, plenty of badges, a unique interior, Toreador red paint, special seat, cool wheels, and better tires. If we were buying one, however, we would probably stick with the Sport Appearance Package. We don't know what it is, but anniversary edition cars always look a bit silly after a few years.

This iteration of the Cougar has been on the market since 1989, and this is your last chance to get one. If you have been saving your pennies for this car, it's time to cash in.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.