Had a flirtation with a Vectra GSi which was an unmitigated disaster. Chopped it in for the Mondeo and haven't looked back.
This is a brilliant car. Fantastic performance, refinement and noise from that lovely 200 bhp V6 and more than quick enough to embarass the Saxo VTS baseball cap boys off the lights.
Cornering performance staggering. Lovely steering, bags of grip and drifts beautifully at the limit. Throttle response of the V6 means pulling it all back together is a breeze. Much nicer than the Vectra, which was great until you turned the traction control off, when robbed of electronic assistance, the hopelessness of its chassis became glaringly obvious. Obviously with 200 bhp and FWD, the Mondeo can be made to smoke the tyres, but the only time it really struggles is in the pouring rain, and then doesn't squirm and get all untidy like the Vectra did.
It's a good looking car in Ford Racing Blue with a tasteful bodykit. Good inside too with leather trim and very solid build quality. Reliable too. Apart from the window switch it's been faultless. The car had just had its 30k service when I bought it, and is not due for another until 40k, so I can't comment on dealer service yet. I've had to add about half a litre of oil to the engine in 7,500 miles, which I don't consider excessive. It's still as sweet and smooth as the day I bought it.
Not a cheap car to run. In true V6 Ford fashion it has a bit of a drink problem. 24 mpg average (I drive fairly hard), and my worst is a faintly terrifying 17 mpg. To be fair, that tankful did involve an airfield day, where it held its own very nicely, but it's not exactly frugal even when driven gently. I haven't managed better than high 20's.
Apart from the fuel economy, it's a totally practical and sensible car. There's bags of room for five adults, a cavernous boot, and it's reliable. I bought the car from a Ford dealer, with a comprehensive 2 year warranty for less than £9,000. You just can't buy anything else this late and this capable for such bargain prices.