Ford Focus Vignale Estate Review
The Ford Focus estate Vignale is an Estate car that’s been given a luxurious makeover. However, it isn’t great value for money and some alternatives have bigger boots.
What's not so good
Ford Focus Vignale Estate: what would you like to read next?
If your list of requirements includes a fun drive, decent interior space and an upmarket cabin, the Ford Focus Estate Vignale will be a tempting prospect. It competes with cars like the estate versions of the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia, although the majority of estate buyers will be better off saving money sticking with the standard, non-Vignale Focus.
Thanks to large alloy wheels and its unique chrome grille you’ll easily mark out the Focus Estate Vignale from the rest of the Focus Estate range, but the biggest updates over a regular model are inside. Sitting behind the wheel, you notice just about everything is covered in leather, from the door cards to the top of the dashboard. However, the leather on the dashboard is closer in feel to soft plastic so the visual effect is there but it’s a bit disappointing when you touch it.
The Ford Focus Vignale also gets unique leather seats that can be heated and cooled. The seats are supportive and there’s a broad range of adjustment to both driver’s seat and steering wheel so getting a good driving position is just a matter of pulling some levers and twisting some nobs. Tall adults will have no issues with the amount of space in the front too.
The back seats of the Focus Estate Vignale are upholstered in the same soft leather as the front pair and can carry two adults in comfort. Be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof does eat into headroom in the back, although you won’t notice that if you’re under six feet tall.
The Ford Focus Estate Vignale competes with a Golf Estate for boot space – the boot capacity with the rear seats up is 608 litres, rising to 1,653 once you fold the rear seats down. That’s a couple of soft bags more than what the Golf can hold but roughly a big suitcase short of what you can fit in a Skoda Octavia Estate. That said, the Focus Estate Vignale should be practical enough for most family needs.
I can understand what Ford is trying to do with the Ford Focus Estate Vignale, but for me, buying the cheaper standard Focus Estate just makes more sense.
Two petrols and two diesels make up the range. The four-cylinder 182bhp 1.5-litre petrol is the pick of the bunch – it’s quick enough for any situation, doesn’t use a lot of fuel and, if you’re into that sort of thing, has a pleasing exhaust note when pushed hard. Ford’s smaller three-cylinder 125bhp 1.0-litre makes sense if you’re regularly in town, but needs to be worked hard at higher speeds.
The 120hp 1.5-litre diesel is the pick if you spent most of your time on the motorway, or regularly carry a full car of passengers. You’ll manage the best fuel economy in the diesel too – expect 65mpg on a long motorway stint. The 2.0-litre 150bhp diesel is more powerful again, but also more expensive. Most people will find the 1.5 adequate.
Compared with automatic gearboxes in alternatives the Focus’ eight-speed ‘box can feel hesitant, holding onto gears for too long and the manual mode isn’t particularly responsive. The standard six-speed manual gearbox, on the other hand, is a joy to use.
In fact, driving the Ford Focus Estate Vignale is a more enjoyable experience than many premium alternatives. You get precise steering that gives you confidence when placing the car on the road. It rides a tad firmly over bumps but it’s never uncomfortable, while the way it controls its body through tight turns is very impressive.
All told, the Ford Focus Estate Vignale is a spacious, practical family car that will put a smile on the face of keen drivers. However, you’ll have to be happy with a Ford badge on the bonnet, while inside it still doesn’t offer the same level of build quality or luxury that its similarly priced German alternatives do. For most people, we suspect the cheaper standard Focus Estate will be a better fit.