Ford S-Max Vignale Review
The Ford S-Max is one of the very best MPVs to drive and this Vignale version is luxurious and very well equipped, but it’s also very expensive
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Great seats
- Snappy infotainment
- Fun to drive
What's not so good
- Some of the plastics are cheap
- Not as practical as Galaxy
- Expensive for a Ford
Ford S-Max Vignale: what would you like to read next?
The Ford S-Max Vignale performs the same role as the equivalent models in the Mondeo and Kuga ranges – it’s a lavishly equipped and upmarket version of the basic model, designed to stop buyers choosing more upmarket brands instead of a Ford.
As a result, the Ford S-Max Vignale is one of poshest MPVs you can buy – and an alternative to the smaller BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and the much larger Mercedes V-Class.
The Vignale makeover is obvious as soon as you see the car, thanks to its unique bodykit, extra chrome trim and 18-inch alloy wheels, along with LED headlights. The theme is continued inside, where there are soft and supportive leather seats that feature, of all things, a massage function.
Meanwhile, the top part of the dashboard is covered in leather, while the lower reaches get piano black plastics that are prone to fingermarks. And, rather than the Sync 2 system fitted to the standard S-Max, the S-Max Vignale gets the Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system, which is a welcome improvement.
For all that, though, the essential appeal of the S-Max remains. There’s plenty of room inside for five adults in comfort and you can fold up the two seats below the boot floor to make the car a seven-seater. However, this third row of seats is best left to children, as an adult back there will find their knees pressed into their chest. If you do want a more spacious Ford MPV, try the Galaxy.
When those seats aren’t in use, the boot is huge. It’s easy to use, too, thanks to the low load lip and flat boot floor. Fold all five rear seats down and you’ll have an impressive capacity of more than 2,000 litres.
The Vignale concept is a tough one to get your head around. Yes, Ford buyers want lots of equipment, but not when it means their car costs as much as BMW or Mercedes
You’ll also be impressed by how enjoyable the car is to drive. The basic S-Max is good, but this Vignale is better still, thanks to the addition of extra sound-proofing and Ford’s adaptive steering. That means the car is not only quieter on the road, it’s also more relaxed on motorways and even sharper in corners.
As you’d expect of a range-topping model, the Ford S-Max Vignale comes only with some of the most powerful engines in the range. There are just two 2.0-litre diesel units to choose from, but they both suit the car perfectly, with enough power to get it moving at a good pace without any great effort. You also have the option of manual or automatic gearboxes and you can add four-wheel drive to the lower-powered engine.
Again, the position of the Vignale at the top of the S-Max range is reflected in the large amount of equipment that it gets as standard. That includes Front & Rear Parking Sensors, a rear view Camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats and an infotainment system with DAB radio and sat-nav.
Then, on top of that is the Vignale after-care package, giving buyers things like access to a 24-hour helpline and a special waiting area that they can use while their car is being serviced at one of the dedicated Vignale outlets.
Trouble is, all this doesn’t come cheap and the Vignale is considerably more expensive than other models in the S-Max range. Yes, it has lots of equipment, but it’s about the same as alternatives with much more desirable badges on their noses.