I never imagined that Ford might produce a Fiesta that I would like more than the Active. But then, I didn’t imagine the Fiesta Active Vignale.
Car Tested: Fiesta Active Vignale 1.0L EcoBoost mHEV 6-speed manual
When I wrote on these pages about the Fiesta Active X two years ago, I said it was “a car that I could happily live with for the rest of my life”.
The same goes for the Vignale version, only with knobs on, so to speak. The name Vignale dates back to the days in the 1970s when Ford acquired the Ghia and Vignale brand names from that immemorial hustler and automotive genius Alejandro De Tomaso. The moniker had few outings under the blue oval until 2013, when Ford added Vignale badging to a Mondeo to signify, rightly, that you should consider this car in the same bracket as an Audi. Since then, the company has applied the Vignale tag to a succession of models as a way of saying, “this is the best we can do”.
With the Active Vignale, Ford has emptied the add-ons box and dredged the accessories ledger to make this Fiesta so loaded with extras that you might expect it could hardly move for the weight of the goodies.
Our test car came with 18” wheels with black finish, LED headlights and part-leather seats with coloured stitching, electrical adjustment and heaters for the front seats and steering-wheel. Most pretence that this might be an off-roading SUV has been abandoned, except for the presence of rough road suspension and raised ride height. Instead of the plastic trims on the Active version, the Vignale gets chrome trim surrounds and a strip of chrome along the bottom of the doors.
Best of all, the one-litre mild-hybrid engine lifts power output to 155bhp and torque or pulling power to 190Nm. These figures transform the performance of the Active and give the Vignale 0-60mph acceleration in around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of more than 135mph. At the same time, the hybrid setup provides respectable fuel consumption. Ford claims optimum consumption of 61.4 mpg but mine was a shade over 50 mpg.
The all-in price of £27040 is a bit of a shocker for a supermini, even if it is the best supermini ever made. For a car you could live with for the rest of your life, however, it might be viewed as a prudent investment.
Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK’s national stage for 40 years, writing for every “quality” newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 – the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.