The 1993 Cougar

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Page Revised: 1 July 2019


Article by
Eric Dess

In the early 1990's Ford had begun an interesting campaign called "one-price shopping". Essentially, the number of models for a particular car were cut significantly—sometimes even in half—but the options lists for the remaining model/s increased. This would ensure that the cars would be very well loaded standard, and that since fewer specialty parts were needed, production costs could be cut significantly. Since the profit margin for each car would be roughly the same, the car's price was basically non-negotiable, hence the term one-price shopping. There was much success with the Taurus and Escort with this program so naturally Ford decided to try it with other models, including the Cougar and Thunderbird. The T-Bird shrank from four models to two (LX and SC), and the Cougar shrank to just one model, now known as Cougar XR7.

On paper this was a solid financial move, guaranteed to build in more profit per vehicle. Unfortunately the car now known as "Cougar XR7" was not the performance-oriented XR7 of previous years. It received no adjustable sport suspension, no fog lamps and no 16" wheels; nothing of performance or sportiness carried over from the last XR7. It was now the old LS with the XR7 name and a streamlined options list. Fortunately the engine choices remained intact (3.8L V6 standard, 5.0L V8 optional), so the Cat was not nearly as neutered as many had originally feared.


New optional 15" spoked wheels were offered, along with new standard bolt-on wheel covers. Also the roof trim, outside mirrors, and door handles were painted body color. No other significant exterior changes were made. The Cougar also received remote keyless entry, in addition to (or replacing) the keypad mounted above the door handles.

The 1993 model year also marked the first of several for a new series of performance paints. Ford was proving to be a serious competitor in the marketplace, with all new interiors of their popular models getting rave reviews, and they continued to dominate the color market segment with offerings that simply nobody else had. Color-shifting metallics were becoming all the rage. In late 1993 Ford offered its first on the Cougar, Sunrise Red, which looked like pink lipstick but shadowed to red. The following model years would see even more of these special effect paints make their way onto the Cougar's sumptuous body.

1993 Cougar XR7 Front View

The headlights, grille, hood and bumper cover were retained from the 1992 model year with no significant changes.

1993 Cougar XR7 Back View

Note the COUGAR XR7 nomenclature on the taillight. Again, nothing else at the rear of the car significantly changed from the previous model year.


There was little to report of change in the Cougar XR7's interior. A new Opal Grey color emerged, and the analog instrument cluster remained a popular choice. Nearly all of the previous year's popular options were still available on this year's Cougar XR7, ensuring that customers could order exactly the car they wanted.

1993 Cougar XR7 Interior

The new Opal Grey interior.

1993 Cougar XR7 Dash

The full analog instrument cluster was very well done. Note the new steering wheel center.

Changes on the Horizon

Fortunately for Ford Motor Company, their gamble with the one-model Cougar paid off: not only were profits up but sales also jumped significantly, nearly doubling the total 1992 output. Despite the loss of a true performance model, the leaner Cat was a strong segment competitor. Also of note: the car's weight was starting to decrease for the first time since the MN12 platform's introduction.

It had been known for quite some time that Ford's new 4.6L SOHC V8, just introduced in the 1992 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car, was slowly but surely making its way into the MN12 chassis to replace the 5.0L OHV V8; it was just a matter of when. Originally that "when" was to be the 1993 model year but production delays, engine bay modifications, and EPA certification prevented that from happening. The all-new interior was also running behind schedule. Ford decided that the 4.6L would make the cut in MN12 vehicles for 1994, and the new interior would be a nice way to introduce that to the market.

For all intents and purposes the 1993 Cougar XR7 was meant to be a stop-gap, carryover car; ironically, for such an impromptu model its mark will forever be as the last Mercury Cougar to ever receive a factory 5.0L V8 pushrod engine.


(standard) - 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
AOD 4-speed automatic with overdrive
Front 10.8" disc, rear 9.8" drum
Optional with ABS - Front 10.8" disc, rear 10.0" disc with antilock brakes
Wheelbase - 113"
Overall Length - 199.9"
Overall Width - 72.7"
Overall Height - 52.7"
Cargo Capacity - 15.1 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity - 18.0 gallons
w/V6 - 3512 lb.
w/V8 - 3666 lb lb.


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