The 1994 Cougar

1994 Cougar XR7

The changes to the Cougar that were promised for years had finally come to fruition in 1994. While not exactly an all-new car, there were significant changes almost everywhere one looked: exterior, interior, and under the hood. So many changes, in fact, that one could nearly consider the 1994 Cougar XR7 a “version 2.0”, as well as the first year of another two-year styling cycle.


Drivetrain & Chassis

Perhaps the biggest news was the discontinued use of the 5.0L pushrod V8. Ford began to see overhead valve V8s as relics of the past; their future was hedged on the modular OHC series of engines that debuted earlier in the decade. Therefore the all-new 4.6 SOHC V8 was the engine of choice for the Cougar now. This new V8 brought an air of technical sophistication to the Cougar program, as no other rear drive coupe made in America at that time (besides the Thunderbird and the new Mark VIII) had a standard OHC V8. The Cougar gained a few ponies from the previous year, up from 200hp to 205hp, but lost 10 lb-ft of torque, now down to 265 lb-ft. Yet the 4.6L V8 was still potent enough to haul the big Cat when necessary. Also debuting with the motor was Ford’s new EEC-V electronics system, which vastly eclipsed the EEC-IV of the past. It was Ford’s baby step towards full OBD-II compliance in 1996 and therefore was considered more of a hybrid of technologies.

The Ford 4.6L SOHC V8 engine was rated at 200hp.

The standard 3.8L V6 still retained the EEC-IV system, and was again rated at 140 hp with no changes made.

Mated to both engines was a new electronic overdrive transmission, the 4R70W, with lockup converter and push-button lockout on the floor shifter. This transmission is rated for 700 ft.-lb. capacity. Also, a brand new Traction Control system became an option; this system used the ABS system for less wheel spin on slippery surfaces.

While the MN12 chassis was still essentially unchanged, several key chassis reinforcement structures were redesigned for less noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). These included the transmission crossmember mounting point, trunk reinforcements, and the rear axle mounts. All suspension components became self-sealed, never needing lubrication for life. Much of the Cougar’s sheetmetal was now two-sided galvanized steel for additional corrosion resistance. Beefy side impact beams were added to the doors.



Cougar XR7’s all-new interior was world-class and a striking statement in the industry.

Ford had begun using “themes” for their interiors in the early 1990s, so it was fitting that Ford again experimented with themes with the 1994 Cougar’s revolutionary interior. The look can be called “wraparound”, and it is truly one of Ford’s best interiors ever. Ergonomically designed for easy reach of everything, all switches were repositioned with high-use switches (power windows, power door locks) illuminated at night. The instrument panel gracefully swoops down to form the center stack, which then flows to the new console, creating a semi-wraparound cockpit for the driver. Rear seat heat ducts became standard, as well as CFC-free air conditioning. All fasteners for interior panels were now hidden, adding to further refinement. All surfaces had new softer materials, and hard plastic surfaces were coated with “soft touch” paint that gives a velvety tactile sensation. The digital instrument cluster was now a thing of the past; all Cougars from 1994-on had analog gauges. Optional stereos included an in-dash CD player and a trunk-mounted 10-disc CD changer.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the interior was the introduction of dual airbags. Ford had been slipping driver-side airbags into some of their more popular or higher-volume cars (Crown Victoria, Mustang, Taurus), and a lucky few (Town Car, Continental, Mark VII) got dual airbags before the federally-mandated 1994 model year deadline. The Cougar, however, was stuck with motorized seat belts until then. Fortunately those were now relegated to the past.

1994 Cougar XR7 Interior

Cougar XR7’s all-new interior was world-class and a striking statement in the industry.



1994 Cougar XR7 Airbags

For the first time, the Cougar received front and passenger side airbags as standard equipment.

A new full analog instrument cluster relegated the full electronic cluster a thing of the past. Easy to read gauges and logical warning lights gave drivers a better sense of the car’s facilities.

A new standalone digital clock at the top of the center stack.



On the outside the overall shape of the Cougar remained, although there are some details that got reshaped and refined to further differentiate it from previous models. Wheel choices remained the same. A host of enticing new colors, including some groundbreaking color-shifting metallics, debuted in 1994, and virtually no colors were carried over from the previous year.

1994 Cougar XR7 Grille

After several years of the waterfall grille, an all-new grille debuted in 1994, a play on the trapezoidal front area with a modern, canted waterfall in the slats.



1994 Cougar XR7

The side profile was nearly unchanged, save for the addition of new “floating” side molding, which really gave the Cougar a very modern flair and a much cleaner look.

Front bumper kept the previous year’s overall shape but lost the chrome insert. Three additional cooling slots were added to the bottom side.

New taillights further pushed the Mercury “laser stripe” theme into the reflectors. Tasteful chrome accents at the bottom, reminiscent of the Grand Marquis, housed the rear nomenclature. The rear bumper gained a concave lower section and lost the previous chrome insert.

Thoughtful touches like the rear cargo net were available.


Feature Car

A mid-year offering, the Feature Car was a special edition of the Cougar which featured one of several exciting new exterior colors: Opal Frost, Performance White Tri-Coat, and Deep Iris. Inside, the seats came in a new White leather with Opal Grey cloth inserts and piping, and the Cougar logo embroidered in Opal Grey in both the seats and the floor mats. Production of the Feature Car began in early February 1994.

1994 Cougar XR7 Feature



The 1994 model year marked a pivotal change in direction for the Cougar. It said goodbye to many traditional things of the past and fully embraced a modern future. Sales for the new model maintained their pace nicely as customers flocked to the new V8 and smoother styling. The 1994-95 Cougars will probably go down in history as the epitome of the 1989-97 MN12 design.



(standard) – 3.8L (232 cid) V6; 140 hp @ 3800 rpm; 215 lb-ft torque @ 2400 rpm
(optional) – 4.6 (281 cid) SOHC V8; 205 hp @ 4500 rpm; 265 lb-ft torque @ 3200 rpm
4R70W full electronic 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 – 52.5″
Cargo Capacity – 15.1 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity – 18.0 gallons
w/V6 – 3564 lb.
w/V8 – 3726 lb.



Total: 71,026

Note: We will publish V6/V8 breakdowns when we get them.

1994 Cougar XR7

1993 Cougar Wheels


Left to right: Luxury bolt-on wheel cover; 15″ luxury cast aluminum wheel.



NOTE: S=standard, O=optional; A=dealer installed accessory; = not available

Driver-side air bag Supplemental Restraint System S
Front passenger-side air bag Supplemental Restraint System S
3.8L V6 engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection S
4.6L SOHC V8 engine with sequential multi-port fuel injection O
4-speed electronic automatic overdrive transmission S
Tinted glass S
Power-assist brakes with audible wear sensors on front S
58 amp-hr maintenance-free battery S
130 amp-hr alternator S
Power four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brake system (ABS) O
Traction-Lok rear axle O *
Electronic Traction Assist (requires ABS) O
Electronic speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering O **
Engine block heater O ***
72 amp-hr heavy duty battery O ***
Electronic rear window defroster O ***
* Not available with Traction Assist.
** Electronic speed-sensitive, variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering included and only available with optional 4.6L V8 engine.
*** Included in Cold Weather Group.
5-mph impact bumpers front/rear S
Dual color-keyed power mirrors S
Low profile aero halogen headlamps S
Flush glass S
Keyless entry system O †
Multi-sport roof rack (ski, bicycle, water sports) A
Luggage rack A
Front end cover A
Requires power lock group.
Rear seat three-point manual shoulder safety belts (outboard) and lap safety belt for center position S
CFC-free air conditioning S
Reclining front bucket seats S
Center console with floor shift S
Rear center fold-down armrest S
Courtesy lights S
Map pockets on doors S
Power windows with illuminated switches S
Side window demisters S
Interval windshield wipers S
Push on/push off parking brake system S
Luggage compartment light S
Rear seat heat ducts S
Cargo net S
Dual console-mounted cup holders S
Tilt steering wheel S
Luxury cloth and leather seat trim S
Leather-wrapped shift knob S
Power lumbar supports S
Leather seating surfaces O
Hands-free cellular phone †† O
6-way power driver’s seat O
Dual 6-way power seats O
Leather-wrapped steering wheel O
CFC-free electronic automatic climate control ¶ O
Power slide/tilt moonroof with sunshade O
Fingertip speed control O
Illuminated entry system O
Carpeted front floor mats O
†† Requires High-Level audio system.
Requires Autolamp on/off delay system.
Electronic AM/FM stereo radio with cassette and 4 speakers S
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
Premium electronic AM/FM compact disc radio A
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 145 total watts RMS (includes Premium radio and trunk mounted 10-CD changer) O
Indicator lamp module with door ajar, low fuel, low coolant, low washer fluid warning lights. Also includes Traction Assist light on models so equipped. S
Backlighted analog performance cluster with tachometer, fuel gauge, coolant temperature gauge, 120 MPH speedometer, oil pressure gauge and voltmeter S
WHEELS + TIRES (BSW = black sidewall) XR7
P205/70R15 BSW all-season steel belted radial tires S
P215/70R15 BSW all-season radial tires (requires 15″ cast aluminum wheels) O
15″ bolt-on luxury wheel covers S
15″ luxury cast aluminum wheels with locking lug nuts and P215/70R15 BSW tires O
Mini spare T-125/90R15 BSW S
Includes power door locks, remote deck lid release and fuel filler door release
Automatically turns headlights on/off with delay/dimming system
Allows doors and decklid to be unlocked/locked by depressing a 5-digit number on a keypad above driver-side door handle in proper sequence or with one of two remote hand-held transmitters (includes illuminated entry and autolock feature)
Features pop-up air deflector, sliding sunshade, rear tilt-up and dual reading lamps (requires light group)
Includes engine compartment light, instrument panel courtesy lights, and dual illuminated visor mirrors


Preferred Equipment Packages (PEP)

Illuminated entry
Fingertip speed control
Electric rear window defroster
Power lock group
Luxury cast aluminum wheels with P215/70R15 tires
Front carpet floor mats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
6-way power driver’s seat
Light group
1994 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

Thanks to Jake for revised information below.




Vibrant (Performance) White Clearcoat


Opal Frost Metallic Clearcoat


Champagne (Light Saddle) Metallic Clearcoat


Light Evergreen Frost Metallic Clearcoat


White Opalescent Metallic Clearcoat (Tricoat)


Deep Jewel Green Metallic Clearcoat


Moonlight Blue Metallic Clearcoat


Royal Blue Opalescent Metallic


Indigo Metallic Clearcoat


Electric Red Metallic Clearcoat


Teal Metallic Clearcoat


Deep Iris Clearcoat


Black (Ebony) Clearcoat


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)




Individual Buckets



Individual Buckets





(second digit)



Opal Grey


Ruby Red




Portofino Blue




White Opalescent (Feature Car Only)