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The Ford Mondeo Vignale Estate is sadly a car you may not see very often. Why may you ask? Well in recent years SUV’s and hatchback sales have outstripped estate cars. The car buying public don’t buy estate cars like they used to, the current top ten selling cars in the UK contains a variety of hatchbacks, combined with a handful of SUV’s which is sad news for estate fans everywhere.
Blue Oval Estate Memories
Now, I have a fondness for a big Ford estate car as I grew up with them. My Father owned a Cortina, two Sierra’s and two Mondeo’s. I have many happy memories of being ferried in a blue oval estate in my youth.
During a recent visit with Ford to drive the excellent Kuga, I was presented with the chance to take Ford’s top-line Mondeo Vignale Estate for a drive. This Mondeo wasn’t a mere press car though; it actually belongs to the senior man in Ford’s Press function. For purposes of this article we shall call him Tim, he told me to “Fill My Boots”, so I hit the roads of the stunning Peak District countryside to do just that.
Height Of Luxury
The Vignale is the flagship of Ford’s range, when you climb in you’re greeted with swathes of premium leather everywhere, the flagship model even has stitched leather on the dashboard. Also included as standard is a huge level of kit, this includes the excellent Ford Sync 8” touchscreen which is complemented by the Sony DAB Navigation System with premium speakers.
The interior is overall a premium place to be with only minor items letting the side down, such as a few the plastic materials that felt a little mass produced (clearly lifted from the parts bin) and looked a bit cheap in a car costing north of £35k.
The seats are excellent with ten-way adjustability, comfort is also helped by what Ford call “Laminated Acoustic Glass” which made the Vignale a very quiet place to be. The car I tested was equipped with winter tires while blasting around the Peak District I couldn’t confirm the difference in road noise which is likely down to the additional acoustic deadening. I have no doubt that you could drive several hundred miles in one sitting whilst remaining very comfortable in this big Ford.
Four-Wheel Drive Ability
The current generation Ford Mondeo is a great car to drive, it’s a comfortable and capable cruiser that’s easy car to drive. The engine that gives all this ability is the 2.0-litre diesel producing 207bhp. This all gets to the road via a six-speed automatic powershift gearbox feeding power to all four wheels via the active four-wheel drive setup.
When driving the Vignale the handling is as impressive as ever, its fluid and composed in the corners with weighted steering that gives the driver a more progressive feel as you push it harder into corners. The active four-wheel drive system sends the drive to the front wheels normally, show the big Ford some sharp corners and it will divert the power to the rear should you need it, this allows the car to offer a fairly neutral feel in hard cornering while ensuring that understeer is kept to a minimum.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine is a really flexible performer, delivering a 0.62mph time of 9.5 seconds (8.1 seconds for the FWD model) it delivers an immense amount of torque low down that allows you to work your way through the silky-smooth Powershift automatic gearbox with ease.
The active four-wheel drive system had taken nothing away from the Mondeo’s engaging driving dynamics, put simply it is very effective all round regardless of if you're traversing a ruined Derbyshire B-road or simply going about your business during a monsoon on an A-road, it just gives the car complete all-weather ability which will be a strong sales point for many.
Should You Buy The Vignale Or Go German?
This in itself is the massive question. If you were to spec 3-Series to match the Mondeo the price would easily exceed £40k. Therefore the Mondeo Vignale is a great alternative in as that it offers an excellent all round package that offers both luxury and strong driving dynamics while undercutting its German rivals on price.
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £35,095
Torque 332lb ft
0-62mph 9.5 seconds
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 52.3mpg
Verdict 3.8/5 stars
The Mondeo Vignale Estate is an excellent all rounder performer offering a stong level of luxury with a great level of kit on the inside. The 4WD system offers geniune all weather ability. Worth considering against its German rivals for the money.
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