Ford Mondeo Vignale Estate Review
The Ford Mondeo Vignale estate is as plush and well equipped as the Mondeo gets, but it costs as much as some much more prestigious and desirable cars
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The Ford Mondeo Vignale estate is one of the ways the company is trying to stop buyers moving away from its products into more prestigious models. So, the interior of the Vignale – the most expensive version of the Mondeo Estate – has a high-quality makeover and the dedicated Vignale dealer support network promises the kind of service expected from brands such as BMW and Mercedes.
That’s just as well, because the extra that the Vignale costs over a standard Mondeo means it has to be compared to well-established German cars such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. The Skoda Superb and the VW Passat, in their most expensive trims, are as luxurious as the Vignale, too, and can be considered as alternatives.
As well as this estate body, the Mondeo Vignale is also available as a hatchback and a saloon, although the saloon comes only as a petrol-electric hybrid. As soon as you see one, the upmarket makeover is obvious and it’s the same story inside. There are chrome surrounds for the main instruments, high-quality leather and metal trim, but that leaves a problem. That’s just about all that has changed in the Vignale Estate, so you still get cheap-feeling plastics in some places, low-quality, wobbly air vents and a basic design that is more utilitarian than luxurious.
That’s not to say the Vignale Estate is without its merits, though. For a start, it’s fairly spacious and four passengers plus the driver can stretch their legs and have plenty of headroom in the comfortable seats. What’s more, the flatter roof of the estate means the middle rear seat gets more headroom than in the saloon.
The boot is very big, too, and the wide opening, low loading lip and flat floor when the rear seats are folded down mean it’s very practical. The capacity is bigger than what you’ll find in the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate, but the Skoda Superb will take more still.
It doesn’t matter how much chrome and leather Ford chucks at the Vignale, that Ford badge on the nose means it’ll never be as desirable as an Audi or BMW
The Vignale estate is appreciably more practical than the hatchback, but it shares the same range of engines: a pair of 2.0-litre diesel units. Both suit the car very well, with plenty of pulling power for overtaking and decent fuel economy.
Whichever you choose, you’ll find that emphasis in the Vignale is on comfort and refinement. Even on large 18-inch alloy wheels, the Ford seemingly glides over rough surfaces and it really comes into its own on the motorway. The noise cancellation system (which uses the car’s stereo to mask engine and road noise) and the noise-reducing acoustic glass make it one of the quietest cars in its class.
It’s also one of the best-equipped cars in the class, thanks to its position at the top of the Mondeo range. Ford has equipped it with just about everything: DAB digital radio with 12 speakers, heated leather electric seats, sat-nav with an eight-inch touchscreen display and a rear-view camera. You also get all the kit that is optional on a regular Mondeo, such as climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
Similarly, the car also comes with a comprehensive safety package of airbags, stability control, seatbelt pretensioners and Isofix mounting points, as well as traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist.
Last, but not least, Ford has also set up a unique customer service experience at each of the Vignale dealers in the UK. Here, all owners can have their cars washed for free, have access to a 24-hour helpline and lounge in special Vignale areas while their cars are serviced.
Despite all this, it’s hard to recommend the Vignale, even taking into account the plush interior and quiet cabin. A BMW 3 Series in SE trim costs about the same, is better to drive, has a higher quality interior and its diesel engines are more advanced and fuel efficient.