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Ford Mondeo Vignale

It might look like a Mondeo, but you don't need to look very hard to see that this one is a bit special. A unique hexagonal-design grille gives way to dramatic chrome swage lines along the side, bookended by 19-inch chrome alloy wheels. There is also a particularly deep paint job, in an exclusive (and optional) hazelnut colour, along with a handful of Vignale badges to finish things off. Vignale is Ford's attempt at a premium sub-brand, offering an enhanced ownership experience, as well as a lot more luxury than you might expect from a run-ofthe- mill Ford.
Inside, you will find seats wrapped in the finest leather, soft and supple enough to rival anything from the likes of Mercedes-Benz or Jaguar, electrically adjustable and heated in the front. Leather wraps almost every surface ahead of the driver, too, with the upper and lower dashboard covered in the material, along with the door tops and armrests. Where leather isn't suitable, touch points are treated to a chrome makeover. It all looks glorious, but serves to highlight the rather bland expanse of plastic that makes up the centre console. Despite the high specification, it's also odd that some equipment remains on the options list, and paying extra for safety kit such as autonomous emergency braking, blind spot assist and adaptive cruise control seems stingy, while an electric tailgate and a panoramic roof appears to be odd omissions to the luxury specification.
Active noise cancellation, a system that uses multiple microphones throughout the interior to listen for background noise before counteracting it using sound pumped out through the 12-speaker Sony-branded audio system, together with double-glazed windows, at least make the cabin a hushed environment. It's arguably the most impressive part of the Vignale package, relegating the 2.0-litre diesel engine to a slight background murmur. The engine in our test car delivers 178bhp and 295lb ft of torque, and combined with the six-speed twin-clutch PowerShift automatic gearbox, it's powerful enough to keep the car moving swiftly, while smooth enough not to draw attention to the gear changes.
Ford hasn't made any changes to the suspension and steering, so it remains a fine handling car. Ride quality is excellent, even on the roughest of roads, while the steering feels reassuringly connected on the bends. Our test car came with an active four-wheel drive system that sends power to the front wheels in normal circumstances, before distributing it rearwards when necessary.
On the dry roads of our test route it was difficult to tell how much benefit it might offer, but it will no doubt give extra reassurance in harsh winter months in Britain. That allwheel drive system adds to CO2 emissions though, increasing to 138g/km, and that might just be enough to put off business buyers, however, the traditional front-wheel drive model with manual gearbox cuts that to a more tax-friendly 117g/km. It's business user-choosers who will be more likely to consider the Vignale, with the uplift in company car tax over a Mondeo Titanium being easier to swallow than the £4,500 increase in retail price that private buyers will face, though this is offset by a lengthier equipment list.
It could still be a lot of money for some buyers, for nice leather, a few bits of bling and your own waiting area in the showroom. The Mondeo is a fine car, but it's fine enough in its standard form.

Model tested Vignale 2.0 TDCi AWD PowerShift Automatic
Price £32,045
Made in Valencia, Spain
Configuration 4-door saloon, 5-seats, four-wheel-drive
Drivetrain 1997cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged diesel with stop-start
Transmission 6-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power output 178bhp @ 3,500rpm
Maximum torque 295lb ft @ 2,000-2,500rpm
Top speed/0-62mph 140mph/9.3 secs
CO2 emissions (tax band) 138g/km (E) Euro 6
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 44.1/58.9/53.3mpg
Fuel tank size/range 62.5 litres/733 miles
Insurance group/BIK rate tba/25%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,871/2,121mm
Boot space 516 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,664/2,000kg

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