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Car trim reviews

Ford Mondeo Vignale

"Ford wants its Mondeo Vignale to be more of an experience than just a range-topping trim."

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Ford are taking on the premium compact saloon market with their range-topping Vignale trim, with the Ford Mondeo being the first car subject to the brand's new trim line.

It's more than just a trim, though, as Ford are making a real effort to market the Vignale an experience over just a top-of-the-range trim option. The Vignale name is taken from Italian coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale, who designed one-off models of Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and other Italian car brands. The Vignale brand will be opening specifc 'Vignale Lounges' in around 50 Ford showrooms, where 'Vignale Relationship Managers' will be able to guide you through the specification process. There's also a dedicated customer service line, where advisors can help with technical queries, maintenance bookings and more.

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The Mondeo Vignale has its own specific paint finishes and upholstery designs, along with a few unique options that normal Mondeos do without. The interior is hand-finished, with uniquely designed seats made of quilted leather, and it's laden with technology. The standard equipment list streches to Ford's SYNC 2 infotainment system with sat nav, all-round parking sensors, a reversing camera, electrically adjustable seats, LED headlights and keyless entry. Equipment like Ford's Park Assist system and the Mondeo's unique inflatable seatbelts can be specified too, at an extra cost.

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The Mondeo Vignale can be fitted with a range of petrol and diesel engines, with a flagship bi-turbo diesel seen on the Ford S-MAX topping the choice list. The most popular engine will be the 177bhp 2.0-litre TDCi diesel with a manual gearbox, as it is capable of around 62.8mpg and emissions of just 117g/km. There's also a hybrid option which escapes road tax, due to its sub-100g/km emissions figure.

The major caveat with the Mondeo Vignale is its price; for a similar amount of money (around £30,000), you could get yourself a BMW 3 Series Sport or a Jaguar XE Prestige. Both BMW and Jaguar have more clout in terms of their brand images in this sector and have more experience with providing a solidly built and dynamically adept saloon car.

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Good points

The Mondeo is already a handsome looking car, but the larger alloy wheels, chrome trim pieces and unqiue front grille design means the Vignale does stand out a little more among the Mondeo's trim line.The economical diesel options mean fuel economy can reach up to 63mpg. It's not as much as what you'd get from a Jaguar XE with its new Ingenium diesel engines, but still decent.The amount of equipment on board means Vignale owners will want for nothing and the ride is comfortable.

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Bad points

The Vignale doesn't do much to improve on the Mondeo's rather sober driving behaviour. It's more of a cruiser, designed to waft across motorways with ease, rather than a crisp drivers car like previous generations.Buyers could be put off by the lack of badge appeal over a BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XE. For similar money, the BMW may have less equipment as standard but offers more in the way of prestige and is a better car to drive.Despite the hand-finished details, the dashboard doesn't feature the same build quality as a Volkswagen Passat.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Metallic paint
  • Electric folding wing mirrors
  • Alarm
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Auto climate control
  • Full leather seats
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Electric driver's seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • AUX stereo input
  • DAB Radio
  • Cruise control
  • Sat nav
  • Stop/Start
  • Automatic wipers
  • Reversing camera
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Recommended optional extras

  • Inflatable seatbelts

Our choice

The 177bhp 2.0-litre TDCi diesel will be powerful enough for most and has the best fuel economy out of all the engines too. The PowerShift automatic could be the better option if you want stress-free driving, but the manual is slick.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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