£29,745 - £32,745 Price range
38 - 67 MPG
The Ford Mondeo Vignale is based on its family-car namesake, but gets a plush interior and a five-star support network to make it appeal to a more discerning customer base. As a result, it costs about £4,500 more than a standard Mondeo.
Although Ford claims the Vignale is not built to compete with cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, its price puts it into direct competition with the premium German saloons. Buyers might also consider the Volkswagen Passat and the Skoda Superb.
Ford doesn’t offer the Vignale as a hatchback, instead buyers can choose from saloon or estate-car body styles. Both offer plenty of space for families, but the estate model has the bigger boot.
Comfort is the Vignale’s priority and it’s extremely quiet at motorway speeds, yet can still be fun to drive down a twisting backroad.
It’s only available with engines from the top of the Mondeo range. That means you can pick from two 2.0-litre diesels with 178 or 207hp, a 2.0-litre petrol with 237hp or a petrol-electric hybrid with 185hp.
Buyers can also choose to fit their Vignale with four-wheel drive for extra grip on wet roads or to make it better suited for towing.
Standard kit includes a luxurious interior with high-quality electrically adjustable and heated leather seats, LED headlights and a 12-speaker stereo.
The Vignale experience extends past its long list of standard equipment, however, because it also includes a unique customer service experience from the 54 specialised Ford Vignale dealers that will sell the car. That means Vignale owners get access to a 24hr helpline, can get their car washed for free and have it picked up (and dropped off after) scheduled service work.
Cheapest to buy: 2.0-litre 178hp diesel
Cheapest to run: petrol-electric hybrid
Fastest model: 2.0-litre 237hp petrol
Most popular model: 178hp 2.0-litre diesel
High-quality leather, metal trim and chrome surrounds for the main instruments mark the Vignale’s interior out from the standard Mondeo.
The problem is, these luxury fittings only serve to highlight the deficiencies of the rest of the interior. It’s been lifted straight from the Mondeo, so Vignale owners (who have a paid significant premium) have to put up with cheap-feeling plastics and a design that can’t match the polish of premium rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
Ford Mondeo Vignale interior space
The Vignale is a big car so space in the front is excellent and the rear seat can easily accommodate two tall adults, although a six-footer sitting in the middle might find headroom is a little tight in the saloon thanks to its sloping roof.
The Vignale offers a vast array of storage spaces and cupholders that make it easy to keep the interior tidy, or lose your keys depending on how organised you tend to be.
Ford Mondeo Vignale boot space
Both the Vignale saloon and estate have big boots, but it’s the estate that’s the more-practical choice for families. Its load bay is actually slightly smaller than the saloon’s on paper (500 litres versus 541), but it has a larger boot opening and offers a more usable space. Put the rear seats down and the estate’s load capacity swells to a trip-to-the-tip friendly 1,605 litres compared to the 1,437 litres the saloon offers.
Ford has a knack of making normal cars fun to drive and the same is true of the Vignale. Its steering is direct, light and accurate making it easy to position the car on the road and the body doesn’t lean much even if you corner at speed.
The sporty drive is combined with impressive comfort, however. Even on big 18-inch alloy wheels that usually amplify bumps in the road, the Vignale remains impressively composed – seemingly gliding over rough surfaces.
Its the motorway where the Vignale really comes into its own, though. There is acoustic glass and an active noise cancellation system, which uses the stereo’s speakers to mask engine and road noise, making the car one of the quietest in its class. One tester noted it’s as refined at a cruise as the much more expensive BMW 5 Series. That said, the hybrid model comes with a CVT gearbox that means the engine emits a constant drone under hard acceleration.
Fitting the optional four-wheel-drive system doesn’t affect the drive – you’ll be hard pushed to notice any difference on dry roads, but it gives the car extra grip in slippery conditions and is just as much fun to drive as the standard car.
Ford offers the Vignale with four engine choices: two diesel, one petrol and a petrol-electric hybird.
Ford Mondeo Vignale petrol engine
Its high running costs means that few people are likely to buy the 2.0-litre petrol Mondeo Vignale. It returns fuel economy of 38.2mpg and CO2 emission of at least 171g/km mean that road tax will cost £205. A 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds is impressive, but no quicker than the top-of-the-range diesel model, while its faster top speed (of 149mph in the saloon model) is only 4mph quicker than the diesel – not something that is going make a a big difference to buyers.
Ford Mondeo Vignale diesel engine
Offering near enough the performance of the petrol Vignale, the 207hp bi-turbo diesel makes a very strong case for itself thanks to its affordable running costs. It can return fuel economy of up to 56.5mpg (54.3mpg in the estate) and costs £110 to tax every year.
Nonetheless, it’s the 178hp diesel that is likely to account for the bulk of the sales. Costing £110 to tax a year and with fuel economy of 57.6mpg possible, it’s not only the cheapest Vignale to run (bar the hybrid model), but also has the lowest list price. Its takes 8.6 seconds to get from 0-62mph and has ample power for overtaking.
Ford Mondeo Vignale hybrid
While the basic diesel is set to be the most popular Vignale in the UK, the petrol-electric hybrid is likely to be the least in demand – Ford expects it to account for just two per cent of sales. It’s 2.0-litre petrol engine is boosted by an electric motor to produce 185hp and, while it is free to tax, testers say its official fuel economy figure of 67.3mpg is incredibly hard to replicate in the real world.
It might sound harsh to criticise the safety of the Mondeo Vignale, the standard car was awarded fives stars by Euro NCAP after all, but the price of the Vignale puts it into competition with cars such as the BMW 3 Series and the new Audi A4. Both of which have automatic emergency braking as standard, something you’ll have to pay £200 extra for in the Ford.
Carrying a £4,500 premium over a high-specification standard Mondeo makes the Vignale hard to justify, even taking into account the plush interior and the five-star customer service Ford says it will offer. Most testers agree that a basic BMW 3 series feels better built, is more fun to drive, and (in diesel form) also costs less to run.
Having said that, Ford hasn’t been mean with the standard kit list. It includes items such as an eight-inch sat nav display, alloy wheels, climate control, heated front seats that are electrically adjustable, a DAB digital radio and a rear view camera. All Vignales come with front and rear parking sensors making them easy to squeeze into tight spaces.
As a first effort at stealing sales from premium rivals, the Ford Mondeo Vignale is a valiant one, but one that ultimately fails to make a case for its self against premium rivals.
Some might be persuaded by Ford’s promise of five-star customer service, but we would guess more will be put off by the car’s relatively short warranty (Ford covers it for three years/60,000 miles, rather than the seven-year/100,000-mile plan Kia offers) and second hand values that are predicted to fall behind the class average.
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