There’s an infectious enthusiasm around Ford cars these days, an ever expanding range, with new SUVs and exciting performance models ahead.
But today, a premium luxury model is on the list, the Mondeo Vignale. In the history of Ford, many will remember the Ghia models, now Alfredo Vignale, the famous Italian coachbuilder has his name revived.
Since the late 1940s, Vignale designed and built luxury cars, usually in low numbers, model variations of mass-produced vehicles in conjunction with many of the most famous manufacturers.
The Mondeo Vignale is a rather fashionable interpretation of the already good looking Mondeo. The target market for this car is time poor people and discerning customers, demanding more from ownership, the dealer experience and ongoing relationship. Possibly already Ford owners looking for more choice and individuality.
On the road, we had the opportunity to drive three models, all with 2.0-litre engines. The 210PS TDCi diesel with 130g/km CO2, 187PS Hybrid/Petrol-electric with 99g/km CO2. My favourite was the rather handsome 130g/km CO2 210PS estate wagon. A 240PS petrol engine model is also in the line-up.
“The new Mondeo Vignale represents the highest expression of luxury for a Ford car to date”.announced Andy Barratt, Ford UK Chairman and MD.
Immediately it is clear this isn’t just a routine Mondeo. New brightwork features around the exterior, with an attractive Vignale grille and badging. Completing the look are Vignale 18 inch ten spoke polished alloy wheels. The cars are available in special Vignale colours white, silver, metallic grey, black and Vignale Nocciola a, metallic brown.
Still it is noticeably quieter to drive than the already excellent Mondeo. Ford have cleverly brought to this car, Active noise control, a system that cancels sound, like noise cancelling headphones. Three microphones are strategically placed in the cabin, undesirable noises from the engine and transmission are then neutralised with opposing sound waves from the audio system. And yes it works, the level of refinement with the Vignale Mondeo is appreciable, even on the rougher parts of the M25.
Initially, I drove the hybrid and 187PS petrol, 4-door saloon. The extra peace and quiet from the stop starting hybrid added to the overall premium nature of the car and would be a good fit for commuters. Nevertheless, for longer journeys and high mileage drivers the extra ooomph from the 210ps diesel would be my choice. The estate model is just one of the best looking Mondeos ever.
Acoustic glass is used to glaze the car, again, another premium nod. The interiors of the Vignale are specified with some of the best materials seen to date on a Ford. Still a few plastic touches spoil the look but colour combinations are well chosen and make the cabin airy and it all feels very well put together. Connectivity and sound in the Vignale is very good, easy and intuitive to use, but just not up to the standard of its pricier German rivals.
Inside the Mondeo Vignale, the multi-contour climate seats are handsome and comfortable. Further options of cooling and massage seats are available, although they are a £600 entirely necessary extra. A colour choice is available for the interior, quality soft leathers in charcoal, black or cashmere with contrasting piping.
Other details add to the refinement, acoustic glass and privacy glass for the rear, the Ford dubbed Tuxedo stitched leather dash and door panels. Overall the extra ‘bling’ on this car makes it a surprisingly satisfying and a worthwhile upgrade from the already very proficient Mondeo. As standard Vignale Mondeo is very well specced and prices are just a small premium above the regular Mondeo starting at £30,095 to around £32,920. Worth it for your individuality and a better-looking car with driveway appeal.
The hand finished cars are built to order at the cutting edge, hi-tech Vignale Quality Centre in Valencia, Spain. The Vignale team perform extra checks to ensure these cars will meet customer expectations. Cars are to order only from customers specifications on a 6-8 week lead time.
Special Ford Stores have been created throughout the country. The Vignale, Mustang and the Ford Performance range are all sold at these locations. The company has already opened the doors on over 55 nationwide; the intentions are for a Ford Store location to be available within one hour from 90% of the UK. The stores are a conduit for Vignale sales, an extension to the Ford relationship as buyers needs change within the Ford brand. It’s all about expanding the choice within the already existing customer base, picking up more customers on the way and not about Ford intentions to become a premium brand.
Ford hopes it will be a value added decision to buy Vignale. Special Lounge areas have been created to give customers a more tailored experience. On ordering, a new owner is assigned a dedicated relationship manager and service specialist with 24/7 access. The concierge-style service includes free car washing and easy arrangements for car delivery and collection. Another nice touch, original Vignale merchandise has been created, by top designers using the same colours and materials as in the car. A soon to be released Vignale app will simplify the process, save precious time and broadening the owners relationship.
Vignale deserves success as the range expands. The upsell to Ford customers will be likely, we all hanker for value, luxury and individuality in our voucher laden lives.
During our presentation Andy Barratt, Ford UK Chairman and MD also hinted at the early arrival of the bold S-Max Vignale to join the fray during the Spring of 2016. Clearly Vignale Mondeo is just the start.
Read Neil Lyndons review of the Ford Mondeo Titanium Estate
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