It’s faint praise time for Ford again. Autocar have tested the Vignale version and came to a predictable conclusion. Yes, they like it but they still think you should buy a BMW 5 instead. Auto Express take an even harder line.
You can read the entire Autocar article yourself by clicking on the link above. What struck me was that the Vignale is clearly the Ghia X for our times. The key mistake they have made with this car is that it is lacking a distinctive, mechanical difference from the Titanium spec models that sit below it in the model hierarchy. I would dearly have liked this car to come with a V6 and not just the 2.0 litre petrol and diesel units offered, the very same devices found in the considerably cheaper models in the Mondeo range.
On the plus side, the car does look very appealing, inside and out. Where Ford have tried to make a difference is in the colour and trim selections and in the dealership experience. The upholstery is rather lavish, there are lots of toys and if the car needs a service someone will come and get the vehicle for you.
This is what Autocar say “Refinement is excellent. Road noise is reduced anyway thanks to the enclosed cabin inherent to the saloon body, and this was always one of the most refined four-cylinder diesels in this class, but the Vignale is BMW 5 Series and Audi A6-style quiet, with very little wind and engine noise and only a distant burr of tyre noise even at high speeds.”
Auto Express explain part of the rationale for the Vignale here: “As crazy as the idea of a £31,295 Mondeo may sound, dig a little deeper and the notion isn’t as wild as it would first appear. A huge proportion of Ford’s larger models – think Kuga, S-MAX and Mondeo – are purchased in their range-topping trim. The Blue Oval even introduced a new flagship Titanium X Sport trim on the Kuga because of customer demand, so evidently there are buyers out there who have a taste for something more premium with a Ford badge on the nose.”
The fly in the ointment is the quantitative factor. For the same money, Autocar reminds you that it is possible to buy a well-specced BMW 520d. This is where I feel that Autocar undersells the Mondeo. A mid-range BMW 520d is a very ordinary sort of car. Every corporate car park is full of them in black, silver and black. Anyone who can afford the Ford is getting a car they probably won’t lose in the car park and which looks to me like it has a real feel-good vibe to it.
Yes, the car uses some of the same interior bits made to suit the lower price point of bog-standard models. But only the most annoying kind of person will be troubled by this. At a qualitative level, the Vignale is smooth, refined, dynamically capable and unusual. While the ordinary Mondeos the Vignale is based on are not really capturing my imagination, this car does have something cheerful about it, which I commend. If you liked the Jaguar X-Type, then this car has much of the same emotional appeal. I know some of my colleagues here will be choking on their coffee and tea….
You can see a short film about the car here.