1996 Mercury Mystique

  • 1996 Mercury Mystique GS Sedan

    GS Sedan

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    • SEATS
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      2.0L I4
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  • 1996 Mercury Mystique LS Sedan

    LS Sedan

    • MAX MPG
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    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
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1996 Mercury Mystique Review

An American version of European success.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 Mercury Mystique represents part of Ford’s effort to bring its European success story, the Mondeo, to the American market. The Mystique sticks more to the European styling conventions than its sister, the Ford Contour, with a more upright design and stiffer handling. The Mystique offers decent performance with the right engine and transmission combinations. It lags behind many of its class competitors in the area of fuel economy though.

1996 only marks the second model year for the Mystique, but since it stems from a European stalwart, much of the car actually has years of service behind it. New features for this model year include more back-seat room and a number of cosmetic upgrades.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, 2.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Mercury Mystique GS, Mercury Mystique LS

What's New

In only its second model year, the 1996 Mercury Mystique does not get much in the way of updates. The biggest update concerns improvement in the back seat, adding more legroom. The upgraded manual transmission provides smoother shifting. The rest of the upgrades remain merely cosmetic, with an available Sport Appearance Package, five new colors, and new alloy wheels on the LS.


The outside of the 1996 Mercury Mystique looks conservative and European-styled. The chrome grille and squared-off headlights stick with the overall Mercury line of cars, and the full-width taillights avoid the round lights found on most cars. New alloy wheels help spruce it up, as do five new available colors. Overall, it appears slightly larger than most cars in the compact segment.


The inside of the Mystique looks clean and tidy, ergonomically sound and simple. Materials seem adequate, but nothing special. Head and legroom proves quite generous for a compact car, but the rear seat continues to only be big enough for two full-size adults. With the upright cabin and high roofline, the driver’s visibility out of the 1996 Mercury Mystique looks decent.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Mercury Mystique delivers a decent performance for a compact sedan. The four-cylinder engine can be a little peppy when combined with the five-speed manual transmission. With the four-speed manual, however, it feels weak and sluggish. The V-6 provides a solid engine, with good acceleration off the line. The Mystique handles crisply, and the ride feels solid, not mushy.


The 1996 Mercury Mystique comes with standard driver and passenger front airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes and traction control both provide reasonably priced options. The Mystique performs fairly well in crash tests. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration gives the Mystique four stars out of five for driver protection and a perfect five out of five for passenger protection in the case of a crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Mystique ""Good"" ratings in head, neck, and chest protection and restraints. However, it bestows a ""Poor"" overall rating due to poor leg and foot protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mercury Mystique 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, automatic: 20/29 mpg city/highway
Mercury Mystique 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, manual: 21/31 mpg city/highway
Mercury Mystique 2.5-liter V-6, automatic: 18/27 mpg city/highway
Mercury Mystique 2.5-liter V-6, manual: 18/28 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good interior space for a compact car
  • Solid V-6 engine
  • Conservative exterior styling

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy for its class
  • Reliability issues

Sum Up

An American version of European success.

If You Like This Vehicle

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