Ford launched its Vignale badge in 2016 using the name of a post-war fine Italian coachbuilder to add prestige to its top-of-the-range mainstream models. The first to get the treatment was the Mondeo.
The Vignale trim level was considered too smart for the 5-door hatch model so was only available on the 4-door saloon and estate.
Ford add a long list of extras to the Vignale to justify a price tag that lifts it into competition with premium German rivals. On the outside, however, there’s little to distinguish the Mondeo flagship for more mundane versions. Dedicated car spotters may note distinctive alloy wheels, hexagonal grille patterns, LED lights and discreet badging. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for many owners as the Mondeo is handsome anyway.
Ford launched its Vignale badge in 2016.
What’s it like to drive?
When Ford fitted a Vignale badge to the Mondeo it was sensible enough to leave the mechanical underpinnings alone. It comes fitted with a range of Ford petrol, diesel and hybrid engines acclaimed for smooth, powerful performance. There’s a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
All Mondeos are refined and comfortable. With the same suspension as the standard cars, the Vignale shares their decent ride. It’s quiet and relaxing on a long motorway haul.
The flagship cars include premium driving features like cruise control, keyless operation and stop-start system as standard.
All Mondeos are refined and comfortable.
The exterior changes to the Vignale Mondeo may be very subtle – though you’ll see straight away the interior is obviously trying very hard to be different. It has every extra Ford can fit - from the unique quilted leather seats to the top-spec portrait touchscreen with sat-nav and a great stereo including DAB radio and Bluetooth.
Ford describes the Vignale interior as ‘hand-finished’ and as a result the cabin feels very plush, with neatly stitched leather trim on the dashboard and doors. Note the slim chrome and gloss black highlights throughout the cabin, giving a more up-market feel.
Seats are electrically adjustable and heated, there’s automatic climate control and a noise-cancelling system that works through the speakers to counter-act exterior noise. It all helps create a more sophisticated environment than the standard Mondeo models.
One thing that isn’t altered from the standard Mondeo range is the spaciousness. All Mondeos have good head and leg room in the front and rear and the Vignale is no exception. Only the tallest fifth occupant will feel cramped.
Owners will find the huge list of standard features includes keyless operation, electric folding wing-mirrors, a leather-covered, multi-function steering wheel and electric windows all-round.
The big news is the Vignale is not available with the Mondeo’s 5-door hatchback body. Instead owners have the estate version that offers a large cargo bay. It’s one of the biggest in this class.
The 4-door saloon isn’t in the same league though does have a large boot. All have split folding rear seats that can increase the luggage area, although the saloon has a higher load lip and smaller boot opening than hatchback drivers will be used to.
Worried about parking? All Mondeo Vignales come with a reversing camera and all-round parking sensors as standard. Look out too for a very high-tech range of options available to Vignale buyers. These include safety features normally found on prestige brands, like tyre-pressure sensors, Active Park Assist system to help you park in most situations, inflating seatbelts, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking.
Running costs and reliability
The range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines will already be familiar to Mondeo owners. The most economical Vignale engine is a hybrid with official combined figures of up to 67mpg. The least thirsty diesel has similar figures, offering up to 63mpg. The Mondeo flagship will be more expensive to run than a standard car – but less than many premium rivals.
Ford’s reliability reputation is above average and the Mondeo has been a solid tried-and-tested dependable vehicle for many years.
What cinch loves
The Mondeo is one of the best and most popular mainstream family cars. Ford has taken that winning package and added a premium level of trim and equipment. The Vignale has all the practical and user-friendly benefits of the standard Mondeo plus the extra luxuries and technology of a car from a more prestigious brand. The cabin is especially opulent and refined.