1985 Mercury Cougar XR-7

The 1985 Mercury Cougar was all about one thing: refinement.

For its third year of the aero body style, the 1985 Mercury Cougar finally received an all-new interior, with a more modern dashboard and thicker carpeting for better sound insulation. In order to allow for a U.S. government-approved 5 passenger rating, the front seats were 60/40 split with a “consolette” and padded armrest attached to the driver’s seat (the full console was still an option, although it dropped the passenger rating to 4). New instrument clusters finally gave solid information to the driver, and there were now more choices for the radios. The exterior was slightly tweaked toward refinement and smoothness with all Cougar models receiving flat, smoked taillights and a new Mercedes-style crosshair grille. Engine and drivetrain choices were carried over from 1984 with minimal changes.



Cougar XR-7

Following the launch of the turbocharged 4-cylinder XR-7 model in 1984, the big news for 1985 was an upgraded interior, one that was more properly suited to the XR-7’s sporty nature. An all-new analog gauge cluster was much more informational, with the tachometer and speedometer larger than the surrounding gauges (oil pressure, water temp, ammeter and fuel level). On the outside the XR-7 gained a new front bumper with integrated fog lamps, as well as wide bodyside molding with new XR-7 nomenclature. Retained were body colored mirrors, charcoal window trim, and the tri-band lower striping. Performance-wise the 1985 Cougar XR-7 was tweaked slightly in the engine department, with manual-equipped cars gaining 10hp, now up to 155hp, while the automatic cars remained at 145hp. New 15″ aluminum rims were now standard on the XR-7, with Goodyear Gatorback 225/60VR15 performance tires providing relatively sticky contact patches for the nimble Cat.


The 2.3L turbo-4 engine, relatively the same as the previous year. Automatic-equipped cars got the standard 145-hp version while 5-speed cars gained 10hp, up to 155hp.


The new aluminum 15″ wheels were a big step up in both size and performance tire capability. Identical to the same rims used on Mustangs and Capris, the now infamous “10-hole” wheels looked great and almost supplanted the notorious TRX wheel (although that was still an option). Also note the new XR-7 molding in front of the wheelwell opening. The tri-band striping is also noticeable here.


The new interior brought in much-needed ergonomics with European flair. The design was slightly canted toward the driver without any hint of claustrophobics and all controls were within relatively easy reach. Also note a new 2-spoke sport steering wheel, optional on the XR-7.


The standard leather-wrapped A-frame steering wheel, which was standard on the XR-7.


The XR-7’s analog gauges set the standard for Cougar—and, really, Fox-chassis—design. All gauges were in perfect view relative to the steering wheel. Note the integrated boost gauge inside the tachometer.


Once again a two-tone grey interior was the only choice for the XR-7. The seat materials were actually the same colors as the previous year; shown here are standard cloth articulated seats with the automatic shifter.


This XR-7’s leather seats were monochromatic Charcoal in color; note the 5-speed manual shifter. Lumbar control was power this year, a big upgrade from the previous year’s hand squeeze bulb control.


Rear seats in the XR-7 and LS gained integrated head rests.


An all new premium “high series” door panel was standard on the XR-7 and LS models. Featuring a multi-part assembly, carpeted lower sections and luxury upper inserts, these door panels more fluidly enhanced the Cougar and its all new interior than previous high line panels.

The new Mercedes-style grille on a 1985 Cougar XR-7.

The new flat-style smoked taillights on the Cougar. Nomenclature was moved from the trunklid to the reflector on the bottom of the taillights.


Cougar LS

The Cougar LS received virtually no exterior changes from the 1984 model, save for the new grille and taillamps.


Cougar LS once again sported woodgrain dash panels. The steering wheel was now a dark charcoal in color on all models, except those with the Sand Beige interior, which received dark brown steering wheels. The standard wheel was still the A-frame design. Shown here is the new optional full digital instrument cluster featuring a bar-graph tachometer, integrated fuel computer, switchable ancillary gauges (amp, oil) and speed and service reminders.


The 3.8L V6 rated at 120 hp remained unchanged. Canadian models now received the same CFI treatment as the U.S. did in 1984.

The 5.0 CFI V8 was still offered as an option on both the GS and LS models, with no changes from the previous year. Power output remained the same at 130 hp.

A very rare option was this one-year-only optional graphic equalizer for the stereo system.

A popular option on the Cougar was keyless entry, which featured a numeric keypad over the driver’s outside door handle.


Cougar GS

The base GS model gained almost no changes on the exterior for 1985, save for the new taillights and new grille. Inside the base seating material was changed, a few new colors were introduced, and even the base model was maturing in style and offerings.


The all-new dash for the Cougar was now asymmetrical, with a new center stack to accommodate much more modern controls. Side window demisters were standard. The center stack now one more standard slot than before. The GS and LS models shared woodgrain dash panels. With the consolette as standard, a new push open/close ashtray was fitted in the area where a full console would mate to the dash. This interior is shown in Regatta Blue cloth.


Shown here is a GS with the optional full console and individual bucket seats in Sand Beige vinyl. Note that the steering wheel, steering column, dash top, and dash panels are trimmed in dark brown instead of the normal standard charcoal color. This was standard only in tan-colored interiors.


The base instrument cluster featured a combination of styles that Ford used throughout the years. The speedometer and odometer were full digital; the fuel and temp gauges were analog; and the oil pressure and amp gauges were warning lights. Rather unusual by today’s standards, this base cluster was a huge step forward from the previous clusters. There were even provisions for secondary warning lights (door ajar, low washer fluid, low beam out, etc.) if so optioned.


The new taillights on a Pastel Regatta Blue Metallic Cougar.

The new consolette featured a padded flip-up armrest, coin holders, a storage tray area, and housed the power mirror, window and seat controls for those cars so equipped.

One of the new consolette’s more novel features was this integrated cassette holder assembly.


Although sales dipped a bit in 1985, the Cougar still continued to be refined. The 1985 model was a significant step over the 1983-84 Cats, in terms of quality, options and materials. At this point, Ford was considering a restyling the Cougar for 1986, before an all-new rear-drive platform (now known as the MN12 chassis) debuted in the late 1980’s. However, as usually happens in the automotive industry, the program ran a bit late. Besides, the Cougar was wildly popular and selling quite well, so there was no reason Ford could not milk one more year out of the car—which is exactly what happened in 1986.

  • Graphic equalizer (one year only style)
  • Light Sage exterior color (one year only)
  • Dark Sage exterior color (one year only)
  • Pastel Regatta Blue Metallic exterior color (light blues were unique to each model year)

Tech Specs



GS: 120 hp CFI 3.8L (232 cid) V6; optional 130 hp CFI 5.0L (302 cid) V8
LS: 120 hp CFI 3.8L (232 cid) V6; optional 130 hp CFI 5.0L (302 cid) V8
XR-7: MPI OHC turbocharged 2.3L (140 cid) I-4; 145 hp (automatic) / 155 hp (manual)
3-speed automatic (C3) – XR-7 only, standard
5-speed manual (T-5) – XR-7 only, optional
3-speed automatic (C5) – all V6 models
4-speed overdrive automatic (AOD) – all V8 models
Front: 10.0″ vented disc
Rear: 9.0″ drum
Wheelbase: 104.0″
Overall Length: 197.6″
Overall Width: 71.1″
Overall Height: 53.4″
Cargo Capacity: 14.6 cubic feet w/mini spare; 13.2 cubic feet with full spare
Fuel Capacity: 21.0 gallons (GS & LS); 18.0 gallons (XR-7)
Passenger Rating: 5 (4 with full console option)
GS: 3,084 lbs.
XR-7: 3,100 lbs.
1985 Cougars had flat taillights, new interior, new-style grille, but lack of third brake light in rear window.
Cougar/XR-7 4-140 2.3L SOHC Turbo General Recalls
1. 87M50 APR 87 Inspection and Replacement of Thick Film Ignition Modules
V6-232 3.8L Emissions Recalls
1. 89E77 AUG 89 Emissions Recall 89E77 Emission System Modifications
2. 88E73 APR 89 Recall 88E73 CAT Convertor and Y-Pipe Replacement
V6-232 3.8L General Recalls
1. M56 FEB 88 Heater and Engine Bypass Hose Replacement – Program M56
V8-302 5.0L Emissions Recalls
1. 90E94 MAY 91 Emissions Recall 90E94

Production Breakdown

TOTAL: 117,274

Note: We will post separate model breakdown figures when we get them.

1985 Mercury Cougar XR-7

1985 Cougar Wheels


Left to right: Performance 15″ aluminum wheel; TRX 390mm aluminum wheel; 14″ locking wire wheel cover; 14″ polycast road wheel; 14″ luxury wheel cover; 14″ 5-spoke wheel cover *.
* Note: These wheel covers carried a 1985 part number but may not have been offered until 1986.



NOTE: S=standard, O=optional

3.8L V6 engine with electronic central fuel injection (CFI) S S
2.3L EFI 4-cylinder turbocharged engine S
Electronic fuel-injected 5.0 liter V8 engine with automatic overdrive transmission O O
Five-speed manual transmission O
Automatic three-speed transmission with locking torque converter S S S
Floor mounted shifter in leather wrap S
Variable-ratio power rack-and-pinion steering S S
Power rack-and-pinion steering with 15:1 non-variable ratio for increased power steering effort and road feel S
Power brakes (front disc, rear drum) S S S
Disc brake audible wear sensors (front only) S S S
P205/70R14 WSW low rolling resistance steel-belted radial tires S S
P225/60VR15 BSW Goodyear Eagle VR60 tires on 15″x7″ cast aluminum wheels S
Four-bar link coil spring rear suspension with Nitra-cushion front struts and rear shocks S S S
Hybrid MacPherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar S S S
Handling suspension with Quadra-shock rear suspension O O S
18-gallon fuel tank S
21-gallon fuel tank S S
Dual braking system with brake failure warning light S S S
Dual rectangular halogen headlamps S S S
Lower bodyside protection S S S
Front Twin Comfort lounge seats with consolette S S
Full console O O
Luxury cloth seats O S
Functional sport seats in Oxford Grey cloth S
Door trim panels and quarter panel S S
Charcoal floor console with Oxford Grey armrest pad cover S
Three passenger rear seating S S S
Four-way front headrest O S
Rear seat with integral headrests and center fold-down armrest O S S
Side window demisters S S S
A-frame steering wheel with center hub horn control S S S
AM/FM stereo radio with 4 speakers (could be deleted for credit) S S S
Steering column-mounted controls for wiper/washer, high/low headlamp beam, and turn signal S S S
Full, soft door trim panels with door pull straps, door map pockets and carpeted lower portion S S S
16-oz floor carpeting S
Luxury 16-oz floor charcoal carpeting S
24-oz carpeting S
Passenger side vanity mirror S
Rear compartment courtesy lights S
2-spoke sport steering wheel S
LCD digital speedometer / odometer readout S S
Full analog instrumentation with tachometer and boost gauge S
Warning chimes S S S
Woodgrain instrument panel appliques S S
Bodyside accent stripes S S
Lower body accent stripe S
Left-hand remote control mirror (bright) S
Dual power remote-control mirrors O S
Dual power remote-control mirrors, body color S
Front air dam with fog lights S
Vertical bar grille with bright surround molding S S S
Deluxe wheel covers S S
Bright accent moldings S S
Power windows O S S
Tinted glass O S S
Lower bodyside molding with black vinyl insert S S
Wide vinyl bodyside molding S
Luggage compartment light S S S
Bright rocker panel molding O S
Bright wheel covers O S
Hood accent stripes O S O
Electroluminescent coach lamps O S
Air conditioning, manual control O O O
Air conditioning, automatic control O O O
Traction-Lok axle O O S
Heavy duty battery O O S
Front license plate bracket O O O
Electronic digital clock O O O
Front cornering lamps O O O
Electric rear window defroster O O O
Illuminated entry system O O O
Front carpeted floor mats O O O
Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors O O O
Dual power remote-control mirrors O S S
Automatic dim day/night rearview mirror O O O
Automatic parking brake release O O O
Clearcoat metallic paint O O S
Two-tone paint O O
Half-vinyl roof O O
Flip up open air sunroof O O O
Fingertip speed control O O O
Leather wrapped steering wheel (require speed control) O O O
Tilt steering wheel O O O
Hood accent stripes O S O
Vent windows (require tinted glass and dual electric mirrors) O O O
Interval windshield wipers O O O
Power antenna O O O
6-way power driver’s seat O O O
6-way dual power seats O O O

BSW = black sidewall; WSW = white sidewall

P205/70R14 WSW S S
P205/70R14 BSW O O
P215/70R14 WSW O O
P215/70HR14 BSW O O
P225/60VR15 BSW S
220/55R390 BSW O O
Performance 15″ aluminum wheels S
TRX-type aluminum wheels O O
Polycast 14″ road wheels O O
Wire locking wheel covers (not available with TRX tires, aluminum wheels or polycast wheels) O O
Luxury wheel covers O S
AM/FM stereo with cassette O O O
Electronic AM/FM stereo search with cassette O O O
Premium sound system O O O
Graphic equalizer with Premium sound system O O O
Warning lights for the following: check oil, low fuel, low washer fluid, low beam out, taillamps out, door ajar, brake lamp out
Includes digital speedometer, graphic display tachometer, oil pressure and temperature gauges, voltmeter, and Tripminder computer
Includes auto-lamp on/off delay system and autmatic headlamp dimmer
Includes engine compartment light, dual-beam dome/map light and instrument panel courtesy lights
Includes power door locks and power decklid release
Includes heavy-duty shocks, rear springs and rear stabilizer bar
Includes illuminated entry system. Requires power lock group
1985 Mercury Cougar XR-7

Exterior Colors

All information about your interior and exterior colors can be found on the vehicle certification label, located inside the driver’s door jamb. For the exterior colors listed below, the paint code is also listed next to each color.

NOTE: Colors are an approximate representation. Due to differences in screen types and settings, true accurate color representation is not possible.


Standard Exterior Colors
1C / Black
9L / Oxford White
3U / Midnight Regatta Blue
2E / Light Canyon Red
8L / Sand Beige
81 / Dark Clove Brown
4E / Dark Sage

* There have been verified instances of code 1R, which is Black Clearcoat normally reserved for Lincolns. There is currently no published evidence that 1R was officially offered for the Cougar during this model year, even though real-world examples do exist.

Clearcoat Exterior Colors
1Z / Medium Charcoal Metallic
1Q / Silver Metallic
2M / Medium Canyon Red Metallic
3S / Pastel Regatta Blue
8U / Medium Sand Beige
3Y / Medium Regatta Blue
4B / Light Sage Metallic
Tu-Tone Exterior Colors
1C Black / 1Z Medium Charcoal Metallic
1Q Silver Metallic / 1Z Medium Charcoal Metallic
XR-7 Two-Tone Exterior Colors
9L Oxford White / 7Y Argent
1Z Medium Charcoal / 7Y Argent
2M Medium Canyon Red Metallic / 7Z Dark Charcoal
1C Black / 7Z Dark Charcoal
1Q Silver Metallic / 7Z Dark Charcoal


Interior Seating and Door Panels

Cougar GS
Standard Twin Comfort Lounge Seats in Regatta Blue Cloth

Cougar GS
Optional Contour Sport Seats in Canyon Red Cloth

Cougar GS
Optional Twin Comfort Lounge Seats in Charcoal Vinyl

Cougar LS
Standard Twin Comfort Lounge Seats in Desert Tan Cloth

Cougar XR-7
Standard Functional Sports Seats in Oxford Grey Cloth

Interior Color and Trim Availability

This is a two-character code on the vehicle certification label. The first character is the material and seat type; the second character is the color.