Ford Mondeo MK4 Vignale [CD931] (2015 - 2020) used car review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

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Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

Back in 2015, Ford pushed into premium territory with this Mondeo Vignale model. This was more than just an upmarket version of the Mondeo, the brand claimed, the more premium exterior look matched by a hand-crafted interior and a VIP aftersales service to add to the luxury experience. We know the family favourite MK4 Mondeo is great to drive, so a plusher, better equipped version ought to have ticked all the boxes. That wasn't enough for sales success when new: but how does it stack up as a used car buy?

Models

4dr Saloon / 5dr Estate (2.0 petrol / 2.0 petrol Hybrid / 2.0 TDCi diesel)

History

The medium range Mondeo-class segment has been under attack for some years now and still is. In their droves, customers who once would have signed off on another conventional large family five-door almost without thinking are often now more drawn to cars of other kinds. Some of these models are MPVs, SUVs or Qashqai-class Crossovers, but the main shift has been towards prestigiously badged compact executive contenders like BMW's 3 Series, Mercedes' C-Class and Audi's A4. For a business buyer in particular, choosing a model of this sort is almost expected these days. The thought of considering something like a Ford Mondeo in preference would usually be inconceivable, however plushly the car was specified. Back in 2015, the Blue Oval brand tried to change that mindset with this car, the Mondeo Vignale.

You might quite correctly think that Ford has been here before. Back in the Seventies, the company acquired the Italian 'Ghia' styling studio and promptly used that badge as a top trim level on its mainstream models. Less well known is the fact that in the same period, Ford also inherited ownership of another famous Italian brand, the Turin coachbuilding company established in 1948 by Alfredo Vignale, creator of bespoke Ferraris and Alfa Romeos. Prior to the arrival of this plush Mondeo, the Vignale badge was kept up Ford's sleeve, wheeled out only occasionally on concept cars and motor show prototypes. In 2015 though, the company announced that it was going to be their premium brand and to start with, that meant ultimate edition versions of the company's S-MAX MPV, Kuga Crossover, Edge SUV, and, most importantly, this Mondeo.

This is a Mondeo with just about every conceivable extra thrown at it. But it's also, we were told, a car in its own right with a very distinct, more up-market personality and an interior fashioned by a team of six dedicated craftsman. On paper then, a very interesting proposition. But it didn't work. The early 2.0 EcoBoost petrol and 210PS and 240PS Bi-Turbo diesel variants only lasted until 2018. An alternative hatch body style arrived in 2017. And the Mondeo Vignale was finally dropped from Ford's range in mid-2022.

What You Get

Ford billed this Vignale very much as a standalone model and justified that with a package of subtle but significant exterior upgrades for the saloon and estate body styles initially on offer (joined by a hatch version in 2017). Whether that's quite enough to justify the premium being asked for this top Mondeo variant is a call you'll need to make yourself, but if you're prepared to indulge in the details, you may find yourself admiring this car's quietly opulent demeanour.

The whole interior's apparently pieced together by six dedicated Vignale craftspeople and certainly feels quite special. The lovely smell of the plush 'Tuxedo' leather upholstery strikes you immediately, the hide laser-cut with a quilted finish that mimics the hexagonal design of the front grille.

Look around you and the classy touches continue. More premium leather wraps the instrument panel and this central armrest and even the door panels feature it complete with the 'Tuxedo' quilted stitching. Other Vignale touches include special ambient lighting, a unique key fob, a rear view camera and a 12-speaker SONY DAB stereo system you access via the central fascia 8-inch 'SYNC 3' infotainment screen, there to play its part in reducing button clutter and giving the cabin a cleaner, smarter feel.

Of course you could argue that much of this interior plushness could be duplicated on a German premium-badged compact executive model from this period, if you were prepared to spend enough on it.

What you couldn't duplicate in a car like that though, is the experience that this Mondeo Vignale offers in the rear. Three big adults across the back seat of an Audi A4 or a BMW 3 Series is a squash that's only slightly improved if you opt for something mainstream like a top-spec Vauxhall Insignia or Volkswagen Passat. Here though, it's no problem at all, with superb space for shoulders thanks to the class-leading width of the cabin.

On to boot space, also more generous than you'd get in premium-branded German rivals. The conventionally-engined Hatch has a 541-litre boot. On the estate version, there's an optional powered tailgate and it rises to reveal 500-litres of capacity - which curiously is actually 25-litres less than the four-door version can offer. If you're carrying something really bulky and need to push forward the 60:40-split rear seats, this station wagon body style comes into its own, offering a total of 1,605-litres with the mini-spare fitted. The Hybrid model has a huge corpse-like bulge in the floor concealing the HEV system's battery and electric motor, slashing cargo capacity to 403-litres in the estate and just 383-litres in the Hybrid variant's alternative saloon body style.

What You Pay

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What to Look For

Most Mondeo Vignale owners we came across in our survey seemed very satisfied, but inevitably there were a few issues with some cars. One owner had to replace drive shafts in a car with only 12,000 miles on the clock. Another had to change the EGR valve when the engine management light came on. Some owners complained that the alloy wheels showed signs of early deterioration. Another car had a software fault. Make sure you check the SYNC2 infotainment screen and Bluetooth functions thoroughly. And look out for signs of child damage in the back. Insist on a fully stamped-up service history as usual.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2019 Mondeo Vignale Hybrid - Ex Vat) An air filter costs around £12 and an oil filter costs in the £5 bracket. Front brake discs sit in the £55 to £84 bracket; for a rear pair, you're looking in the £22-£47 bracket. A cabin filter costs in the £10-£12 bracket. A wiper blade is around £4-£12. Front brake pads are in the £29-£52 bracket; re pads are in the £22-£47 bracket.

On the Road

You might think this Vignale model is little more than a very opulent Mondeo, but that would be to do this car something of a disservice. Ford, after all, put in a lot of effort into bringing refinement up to full Luxury segment levels. Acoustic glass, double glazing and extra noise insulation all play their part here. So does an 'Active Noise Cancellation' system where microphones inside the cabin detect engine noise levels then transmit a nullifying counter-frequency through the upgraded speakers. It's all very effective.

As for engines, well most buyers will want the 2.0 TDCi 180PS diesel unit (layer uprated to 190PS), the only Mondeo Vignale variant that was offered with the option of manual transmission and AWD. Most original buyers stuck with the 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch auto 'box, a perfect partner for the torquey TDCi powerplant that delivers 58.9mpg on the combined cycle and 124g/km of CO2 in this guise (both NEDC figures). Alternative powerplants include two very short-lived ones, a 210PS 2.0 TDCi Bi-turbo diesel and a 240PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol unit. Plus green-minded buyers can also consider a Hybrid option with a combined 187PS output and the option of running for short distances on electric power only.

Overall

In every conceivable area where the MK4 Mondeo excels, the Vignale version aimed to take it to a higher level. This is most obvious with the limousine-like hush of this Ford. All of the extra sound proofing, along with the double-glazed door windows and that very clever noise cancelling technology, mean you waft along with barely a murmur from the outside world. It's an extremely agreeable way to travel. The Vignale may major on comfort, but it can also cut it in the corners. True, it's no BMW 3 Series but we think it's every bit as good as, say, an Audi A4 or a Mercedes C-Class from this period when the going gets twisty.

But will this car's extra brightwork and bespoke cabin be enough to compensate for the lack of a BMW, an Audi or a Mercedes bonnet badge? That's your call of course, but if you're secure enough in yourself to make it, then we think you might enjoy a Vignale. It's a finer kind of Ford.

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