"I own a 99 Cougar VCT 2.0 with the mtx-75 transmission. The car has everything in just the right spot. The shifting is phenominal, the power even the 2.0 is crazy. Maybe that's just because i have a VCT instead of a zetec engine but it is a very good car. the thing with this car is though, you need to take care of it. I know people who had them and killed them in less then a year and bash the name and others who have had them from brand new off the lot running 300,000 miles and going strong. Any car you take care of will be good. Typical problems with this car are rear struts, wheel bearings, syncronizer in 3rd gear, and if not maintained, the head gasket. I have personally replaced all of these and it has been a pain but it was worth it because this is a great, clean looking, fast, fun and respectable car. The only thing i would change is the layout of the interior a slight bit. Mainly the seats. It is uncomfortable to take on long trips."
"I got this car used in 2004. It had about 45k miles on it, and since then I've added about 80k miles to it. At this stage, most everything still works. I can't unroll the passenger window from the driver's side. The trunk lid won't stay open if it's cold outside, so that's kind of dangerous with groceries and whatnot. The car's a bit old, and the interior is showing it: the door buttons are very worn, the steering wheel is super worn (you can tell where I keep my hands when I drive!), and the gear changer is pretty worn. At about 80k miles, the backlighting for the air conditioning started splotching--there are visible black spots where the backlight won't show through.
Overall, though, the car's in pretty good condition. It has always shaken some on acceleration (sometimes, usually for just a second), but otherwise it's in good shape. Mine hasn't needed any major repairs other than the usual new tires, oil changes, etc. Last year the car did have some mystery problems--one that was blamed on bad fuel and one that we still don't know what happened--the car just turned off while driving. It hasn't happened since."
"I was the second owner of this car, and i know why the first owner sold it. I generally work on my cars myself, it is a bit of a hobby for me as well as saving me some money. The first major problem was the clutch going out at 70,000 miles, no big deal thats about how long a clutch should last for the average driver. When i finally got the transmission apart (a huge job, if you do buy one DO NOT work on it yourself) i found that it wasnt the factory clutch in it, meaning that sometime before i owned it the clutch had to be replaced.
The hydraulics in the rear trunk lid arent strong enough to lift the rear trunk. Alternator went out and had to replace it, stupid guy at the parts house sold me a 105amp for a ford contour when i needed a 130amp (not the cars fault). Power steering pump went out at 90k miles, window switches went out at 100k, air conditioning at 115k, and an overhaul of the front end at 130k (tie rods, ball joints, shafts, $1200 worth of stuff). so far i am about 5k into the car with all the repairs, not to mention the 10k i paid for it used."