Excellent car, very reliable even at 13 years old, this is the last of the Mk 1 Mondeo's on a P reg 1996 plate. Car drives really good - handles excellent, performance is good from the 1.8i engine, but if you want performance I'd go for the 2.0i Zetec or the 2.5 V6 models, the 1.8i is not really any more than adequate, but that does me fine, I'm not a fast driver.
Comfort level is very good, seats are great, adjustable, so is the steering wheel. LX models and upwards are the ones to go for - electric windows, etc.
Does around 38 - 40 mpg, as expected for a 1.8 petrol engine.
Overall the car is really good, just little niggly problems you need to watch out for as these Mk 1 Mondeo's are really old now, not many about... I'd go for the Mk 2 shape (1996 - 2000) model, they look much better and there's still plenty around. But if you find a low mileage Mk 1 Mondeo with history, go for it, it's a great car.
Other things I've been told to watch out for is front suspension wearing out prematurely, and the clutch is expensive to replace on these cars for some reason.
I also had a Vauxhall Vectra before this car... now there is always a lot of debate between fans of Ford and Vauxhall over which is the best car...I've had both so I'm not biased, but I'd have to come down in favour of the Mondeo - it's just a more comfortable car, and drives better, but the Vectra was an OK car as well, I've nothing against it, it doesn't deserve the unfair criticism it's got, despite the Mondeo being the better car.
Oh and does anyone know the procedure for reprogramming the infra red remote keys on the Mondeo Mk 1! I've tried various ways suggested by some websites online, they didn't work! I'm not going to Ford to pay a bill just for the keys to be remote! Please comment! Thanks!