The 1990 Cougar

General Info  |  Options  |  Colors

Page Revised: 1 July 2019


Article by
Eric Dess

Entering its second year on the all-new MN12 chassis, the Cougar did not receive any significant upgrades for 1990. In fact, the 1989-90 model years are virtually indistinguishable save for minor adjustments on the options list and a few color changes. The 3.8L V6 continued to be the standard motor in the LS, and the supercharged 3.8L V6 was unchanged for the XR7. On the inside, the Cougar could be optioned with a new black interior for the first time in many years. The exterior XR7 monochromatic colors continued to be Black, Bright Red Clearcoat, and Oxford White.

1990 Cougar XR7 Dash

Cougar XR7 Interior in Ebony.

Rumor mills and spy photos showed that Ford indeed was hard at work with fitting the 5.0L V8 motor into the Cougar. And unfortunately it was needed, as the weight for the new cars became apparent in daily driving. The average Cougar was now almost 3700 lbs. and climbing, and every bit of power was needed to propel the cars. Some said that the base 3.8L was not even adequate to get the car going, and that the standard power output should be somewhere in the vicinity of the XR7's motor—roughly 200 horsepower.

Another area of concern was the drop in sales between 1989 and 1990. The lack of V8 availability was certainly a large factor in that; buyers of the earlier Fox-chassis aero Cougar (1983-88) were simply keeping their V8 cars longer, biding their time until the MN12 version was available. Fortunately, the available V8—and some other concerns—were fixed for the 1991 model year.


LS - 3.8 (232 cid) V6; 140 hp @ 3800 rpm; 215 lb-ft torque @ 4000 rpm
XR7 - 3.8 supercharged V6; 210 hp @2400 rpm; 315 lb-ft torque @ 2600 rpm
LS - AOD 4-speed automatic with overdrive
XR7 (standard) - M5R2 Mazda 5-speed manual
XR7 (optional automatic) - AOD 4-speed automatic with overdrive
LS - Front 10.8" disc, rear 9.8" drum
Optional - Front 10.8" disc, rear 10.0" disc with antilock brakes
XR7 - Front 10.8" disc, rear 10.0" disc with antilock brakes
Wheelbase - 113"
Overall Length - 198.7"
Overall Width - 72.7"
Overall Height - 52.7"
Cargo Capacity - 14.7 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity - 19.0 gallons
LS - 3608 lb.
XR7 (w/5 speed) - 3805 lb.
XR7 (w/auto) - 3834 lb.


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LS Model

XR7 Model