Ford is as aware as anyone else that people enjoy a little luxury in their lives. While its current range is full of reasonably priced cars that are among the most fun to drive in their respective classes, luxury isn’t normally a term you’d associate with them.
In a move aimed to move things a little upmarket, Ford has unveiled the Vignale sub-brand. Much like the DS range Citroen has launched, Vignale models are largely based on standard Ford models, with a few changes aimed to make them a little more special.
The first car to receive the Vignale treatment is the Mondeo, and we’ve taken a look at the five key details which Ford hopes will lift its large family car into premium territory.
1 – Hand finished quality
To make the Vignale range feel that little bit more special, every model will be hand finished by master craftsmen at a new centre in Valencia. The exterior paint is hand polished, while the interior leather is thoroughly checked for flaws. Apparently, each Vignale will be subjected to 100 additional checks over the rest of the Ford range, to deliver levels of quality which should make even an Audi engineer nod approvingly.
2 – A fancy interior
While the basic interior design is near-identical to the standard Mondeo, the trim materials are of a much higher quality. The seats are crafted from quilted leather, while an active noise cancellation system is built into the speakers. Much like high-end headphones, microphones detect the frequency of low, droning noises (such as road noise) and play a sound at exactly the opposite frequency to effectively hide the noise – or at least drastically reduce its volume.
From the outside, it’s possible to distinguish a Vignale from a regular Mondeo by the exclusive paint finish and unique alloy wheel designs. If you want to show off your Vignale ownership to the world, buyers can purchase a handbag, overnight bag and a range of accessories finished in the same quilted leather as the interior. We recommend pairing them with a Ford Racing jacket for the ultimate in trend-setting fashion.
3 – Engine lineup
The Vignale Mondeo is available with the Mondeo’s most powerful engines. A choice of one petrol, two diesels and a petrol/electric hybrid is offered. The petrol model is the most powerful of the range – a 2.0-litre EcoBoost producing 240hp borrowed from the Focus ST. The diesels both displace 2.0-litres too, but one has a single turbo and the other has two, producing 187hp and 210hp respectively. The latter offers a not-too-shabby 332lb ft or torque, so its real world pace should be impressive. The hybrid, meanwhile, combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to return a claimed 67.3mpg.
4 – A personalised service
It isn’t just the car which Ford hopes to improve, it’s the buying and aftersales experience, too. Initially, 54 “Vignale Lounges” will be opened at Ford dealerships, with the aim to give the buyer a much more personal, upmarket service.
From the first appointment right the way through to service enquiries, each customer will be assigned one “Vignale relationship manager”, who will be specially trained to assist with motoring-based queries. There will also be a 24-hour-a-day phone support, and a collection and delivery service for MOTs and services. There will even be a mobile app available exclusively to Vignale customers which will offer exclusive video content, traffic information and driving tips.
5 – Price and release date
The price of all this extra luxury and service isn’t insignificant, but it isn’t eye-watering either. The 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol starts at £30,550 – just under £5,000 more than the standard Mondeo. Or, to put it another way, about £1,300 less than a similarly performing Audi A4 1.8 TFSI S-Line, which is smaller inside, less fun to drive, more sparsely equipped, less comfortable and won’t provide the same level of service Ford is hoping to deliver. Vignale models are available to order now – maybe it’s time to overlook badge snobbery and try something new?
Take a look at our review of the Ford Mondeo and the cars the Vignale version is aiming to beat – the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. Check out the Mondeo in our car configurator to see how much you could save or, if you’re looking for something else, have a look at our deals page to see our latest discounts.