The 1991 Cougar

1991 Cougar XR7

In Ford’s continuing quest to keep the car fresh, the Mercury Cougar received minor restyling and a much-needed image boost for 1991, beginning another two-year styling cycle. Of particular note was the addition of a high output 5.0L V8 engine to both the LS and XR7, something that both critics and Ford engineers readily admit was long overdue. Minor tweaks to the interior further refined the car.



Cougar LS

Mechanically the 3.8L V6 in the LS model was the same as the previous year. The LS now had a standard non-speed sensitive steering feature; the electronic speed assist was still available on the LS with the V8 option. Also with the V8 option came a beefier electrical system. In fact, there were quite a few new options for the LS, both aesthetic and mechanical, that had not been previously available.

And that brought about an interesting situation: with the V8 and most of the mechanical XR7 goodies available on an LS…why buy an XR7? The price tag was a bit lower; the insurance was cheaper; and the sacrifices (16″ wheels, monochromatic paint) could be remedied in the aftermarket. One could literally have the best of both worlds. The reality is that the XR7 was always the image leader, the flagship of Mercury division, and with the supercharged V6 from 1989-90 the car was truly unique in the Lincoln-Mercury fold. But the V8 was always the Cougar’s image, and the loss of an available V8 for those two model years really hampered the sales momentum spurred on by the outgoing 1988 XR7 V8 model. Therefore the V8 was not only an image booster, it was a necessary part of the survival of the Cougar itself.

The Cougar now had a more solid look, thanks to the new trapezoidal waterfall grille and “cat’s-eye” single-bulb headlamps. The front bumper was given two pierced “nostrils” per side to let air in, and they were aligned with the new grille to continue the trapezoidal theme. The hood was now separated from the grille, and the sculpted hood lines were given a more aggressive flare-off toward the windshield.


New taillights continued the Mercury bar theme, with a “bubble” protruding from the horizontal center of each taillight, and the car’s nomenclature attached there. Only the nomenclature now differentiated the LS taillights from the XR7 model; the brushed aluminum trim from the previous years was gone.


Cougar XR7

With the addition of the V8 to the XR7 model, the previous supercharged 3.8L V6 was canceled (but did continue in the Cougar’s cousin, the Ford Thunderbird SC as well as several more model years in Mexican-built Cougars). Ironically, the V8 made less horsepower and torque than the supercharged V6 it replaced; Ford said that the V8 was more the Cougar’s image, despite the lower numbers, and it was definitely smoother. The 5-speed manual transmission was also dropped in favor of the AOD 4-speed automatic with overdrive. However, all the other features of the previous XR7 were retained—adjustable sport suspension, variable speed-sensitive power steering, 16″ performance tires, etc.—so the XR7 was still billed as a performance model. Visually the XR7 was still monochromatic, with Black and Oxford White continued from the previous year. Bright Red was no longer available; in its place was Electric Red Metallic. The letters “XR7 5.0L HO” appeared on the new tapered molding directly behind each door.


The XR7 again featured body-colored grille, mirrors and side trim as well as blacked-out greenhouse trim. A new addition to the XR7 for 1991 was the inclusion of standard fog lamps tucked into the revised front bumper cover.

After over 2 years of work, Ford engineers were finally able to fit the High Output 5.0L V8 into the new Cougar platform. Surprisingly, the only major revision was the upper intake manifold, with shorter runners to clear the hood, along with new accessory brackets that mounted the pumps and pulleys closer to the block for decreased noise/vibration/harshness (NVH). Horsepower was an even 200 hp @ 4000 rpm, and torque was 275 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm. The V8 engine was standard on the XR7 (replacing the previous supercharged V6) and was an option on the LS.


Cougar LS Interior



For the interior, the secondary glove box on the top of the dash was deleted on both models. The LS had a new analog cluster standard, with the previous full electronic cluster still an option, and the XR7 style cluster was available when an LS was ordered with the 5.0L V8 (shown above). The LS lost the bright trim surrounding the dash panel but retained the wood look. The XR7 received a revised analog instrument cluster (due to the disappearance of the supercharged V6) and continued with its bright silver interior trim. Criticized for the “tacky” look of its chrome dash buttons in the 1989-90 cars, Ford made all switches black instead in 1991.



With the Cougar slowly getting heavier each model year, even the addition of a V8 didn’t bring about any needed speed to the big Cat. In fact it was noticeably slower: published reports gave the Cougar a 0-60 time of 9.4 seconds—a full second slower than the 1990 XR7 with the supercharged V6. Quarter mile time for the V8 version was 17.1 @ 82.2 mph.



To say that the 1991 Cougar was a shot in the arm to the new MN12 line would be very accurate. With new V8 power, more aggressive styling, and a cleaner look all around, 1991 was a watermark year for the Cougar. Just three years into the new chassis it was already showing signs of maturity—even though the sales were continuing to slip.



LS – 3.8L (232 cid) V6; 140 hp @ 3800 rpm; 215 lb-ft torque @ 2400 rpm
(optional) – 5.0L (302 cid) V8; 200 hp @ 4000 rpm; 275 lb-ft torque @ 3000 rpm
XR7 – 5.0L (302 cid) V8; 200 hp @ 4000 rpm; 275 lb-ft torque @ 3000 rpm
LS & XR7 – AOD 4-speed automatic with overdrive
LS – Front 10.9″ disc, rear 9.8″ drum
Optional – Front 10.9″ disc, rear 10.0″ disc with antilock brakes
XR7 – Front 10.9″ disc, rear 10.0″ disc with antilock brakes
Wheelbase – 113″
Overall Length – 199.9″
Overall Width – 72.7″
Overall Height – 52.7″
Cargo Capacity – 14.7 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity – 19.0 gallons
LS – 3587 lb.
LS w/V8 (w/5 speed) – 3753 lb lb.
XR7 (w/auto) – 3800 lb.


Total: 63,822

Note: We will post LS/XR7 breakdowns when we obtain solid numbers.

1991 Cougar XR7

1989 Mercury Cougar Wheels


Left to right: Luxury wheel cover; styled sport wheel cover; locking wire style wheel cover; 15″ cast aluminum wheel; 16″ XR7 cast aluminum wheel.



NOTE: S=standard, O=optional; = not available


3.8L V6 engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection S
5.0L V8 engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection O (1) S
4-speed automatic overdrive transmission S S
Traction-Lok rear axle O S
Electronic speed-sensitive variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering O * S
Power-assist brakes with audible wear sensors on front S
Power four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brake system (ABS) O S
Automatic/firm ride control handling suspension S
58 amp-hr maintenance-free battery S
72 amp-hr maintenance-free battery O ** S
75 amp-hr alternator S
110 amp-hr alternator S
Cold weather group including engine block heater, heavy-duty battery and rear defroster (72-amp/hr battery on LS) O O
Tinted glass S S
(1) Optional only in conjunction with Luxury Trim option.
* Included on LS with optional 5.0L engine.
** Available with Cold Weather Group or 5.0L engine only.
Front cornering lamps O O
5-mph impact bumpers front/rear S S
Low profile aero halogen headlamps S S
Ski carrier A A
Car cover A A
Front end cover A A
Integral halogen fog lamps S
Keyless entry system O (1) O
Flush glass S S
Dual power mirrors S S
(1) Optional only in conjunction with Luxury Trim option.
Front seat motorized shoulder safety belt system with manual lap safety belts S S
Rear seat three-point manual shoulder safety belts (outboard) and lap safety belt for center position S S
Air conditioning S S
Electronic climate control O (1) O
Power slide/tilt moonroof with sunshade O O
Reclining front bucket seats S
Articulated sport seats with power lumbar and power side bolsters S
Cloth upholstery S S
Leather seating surfaces O O
Luxury cloth and leather seat trim O (1)
6-way power driver’s seat O O
Dual 6-way power seats O O
Center console with floor shift S S
Rear seat with integral headrests S
Rear center fold-down armrest S S
Split fold-down rear seat O
Rear seat heat ducts S S
Courtesy lights S S
Map pockets on doors S S
Power windows S S
Side window demisters S S
Electric rear window defroster O O
Interval windshield wipers S S
Tilt steering wheel O O
Anti-theft system O O
Sport steering wheel S
Leather-wrapped steering wheel O
Fingertip speed control O O
Push on/push off parking brake system S
Luggage compartment light S S
Carpeted floor mats O O
Illuminated/keyless entry system O O
Light group – includes engine compartment light, dual-beam dome/map light, and instrument panel courtesy lights O O
Dual illuminated visor mirrors O O
Headlamp convenience group (includes auto-lamp on/off/delay system and automatic day/night rearview mirror) O O
(1) Optional only in conjunction with Luxury Trim option.
Power antenna O (1) O
Electronic AM/FM stereo radio with 4 speakers and digital clock (may delete or add for credit) S S
Electronic AM/FM stereo radio with cassette, 4 speakers and digital clock O O
High-level electronic radio with C-Quam AM stereo/FM stereo and cassette, 4 premium speakers in 4 locations, 80 watts total RMS premium sound amplifier and digital clock O (1) O
Ford JBL audio system – includes 4 satellite speaker enclosures with 2 speakers in each, a 7″ subwoofer in a 10-liter enclosure and a 4-channel amplifier with 140 total watts RMS O (1) O
Compact digital disc player (available with high-level or Ford JBL systems only) O (1) O
Trunk-mounted 10-CD compact disc changer with remote control (requires High-Level audio system) A A
(1) Optional only in conjunction with Luxury Trim option.
Backlighted analog cluster with speedometer, temperature and fuel gauges S
Full electronic instrument cluster with LCD digital speedometer/odometer/trip odometer, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, coolant temperature gauge, voltmeter, fuel gauge, speed warning and service interval reminder features, and fuel/distance computer O (1)
Diagnostic maintenance monitor: includes low fluid level indicators for engine oil, coolant, washer fluids and fuel O (1) O
Backlighted analog performance cluster with tachometer, fuel gauge, coolant temperature gauge, 120 MPH speedometer, oil pressure and voltmeter O (1) S
(1) Optional only in conjunction with Luxury Trim option.
WHEELS + TIRES (BSW = black sidewall; WSW = sidewall) LS XR7
P205/70R15 BSW all-season steel belted radial tires S
P205/70R15 WSW all-season steel belted radial tires O
P225/60ZR16 BSW performance steel belted radial tires S
15″ luxury wheel covers S
15″ styled sport wheel covers O
15″ locking radial design (wire style) wheel covers O
15″ cast aluminum wheel with locking lug nuts and P215/70R15 BSW all-season radial tires O
16″ cast aluminum wheel with locking lug nuts S
Conventional spare tire (mini spare standard) O
Includes power door locks and remote deck lid release
Includes luxury cloth and leather seat trim, luxury cloth door trim, luxury carpeting, and sport analog cluster with tachometer (available on LS only)
Includes auto-lamp on/off/delay system, front cornering lamps, automatic day/night inside rearview mirror
Allows driver’s door to be unlocked by depressing numbers above door handle in proper sequence. Passenger side door and decklid can also be opened with additional numbers (included illuminated entry).


Preferred Equipment Packages (PEP)

COUGAR LS 261A 262A 263A
Tilt steering wheel
Fingertip speed control
Electric rear window defroster
Styled sport wheel covers
Electronic AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Power lock group
Aluminum wheels with P215/70R15 BSW tires
Front carpet floor mats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
6-way power driver’s seat
Luxury Trim option
Luxury light group
Luxury lamp group
Illuminated entry system
Dual illuminated visor mirrors
Dual 6-way power seats
High level electronic AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Power antenna
Keyless entry
Diagnostic maintenance monitor


COUGAR XR7 265A 266A
Tilt steering wheel
Fingertip speed control
Electric rear window defroster
Electronic AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Power lock group
6-way power driver’s seat
Front carpet floor mats
Luxury light group
Diagnostic maintenance monitor
Luxury lamp group
Dual illuminated visor mirrors
High level electronic AM/FM stereo cassette radio
Keyless entry (includes illuminated entry)
Power antenna
1991 Cougar XR7

Your interior and exterior colors can be found on the vehicle certification label, located inside the driver’s door jamb.

Exterior Colors & Codes




Oxford White


Currant Red






Titanium Frost Metallic


Mocha Frost


Electric Red Metallic


Medium Titanium Metallic


Steel Blue Metallic


Crystal Blue Metallic


Medium Mocha Metallic


Twilight Blue Metallic


Bright Red




Black Clearcoat


Electric Red Clearcoat Metallic


Oxford White


Interior Colors & Codes

The interior color is the second part of a two-character code on the vehicle certification label (the first character is the material and seat type).

(first digit)




Articulated Buckets



Individual Buckets



Articulated Buckets



Individual Buckets



Individual Buckets


(second digit)





Crystal Blue


Currant Red


Mocha (not available on XR7)