Ford launched the Vignale trim level three years ago with the stated aim of giving buyers the most luxurious Fords ever. It argued that sales of its highest-spec models proved there was buyer demand for even more kit-heavy vehicles.
Ford Edge Vignale 2.0 TDCI AWD Powershift
Price: Â£42,695 (44,580 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Top speed: 131mph
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 152g/km
The Mondeo was the first to get the treatment, with superior interior trim, massage seats and a whole heap of the latest technology. Since then the Kuga, Edge and even Fiesta have joined the Vignale club, each getting a specification suitably removed from more mainstream models.
Take this test car. The Edge Vignale packs in the likes of heated and cooled seats, a 12-speaker premium sound system, exclusive perforated leather upholstery, adpative LED headlights, hands-free powered tailgate, active noise control, 20-inch alloys and a host of unique styling additions. It also comes with an on-call service which will arrange to have the car collected and returned to a location of your choosing come service time.
The Edge comes with a 2.0-litre diesel in either 178bph or 207bhp. Our test car was fitted with the more powerful version which felt adequate for the job, and a six-speed auto box. Having driven both auto and manual versions of the car itâ€™s clear that the auto is better suited to the character and feel of the Edge.
As with virtually all Fords, the Edgeâ€™s handling is a match for most vehicles in its class but for a vehicle aiming at the â€œluxuryâ€ end of the market its ride is a bit of a let-down. Itâ€™s a bit harsh and crashy on worn-out urban surfaces although it feels more settled at higher speeds. Itâ€™s particularly disappointing given how well Ford usually does in blending ride comfort with decent handling.
There are also questions to be asked about just how luxurious the interior really is. Itâ€™s definitely well equipped but at around Â£45,000 the Edge Vignale is straying into Audi Q5 territory and it just canâ€™t compete on quality. From the layout to the materials the Ford is left behind by the likes of Audi and BMW.
Where it can match them is in the butch SUV styling stakes The Edge has definite road presence. Its North America roots are clear in its bluff lines and massive grille which are enough to make it stand out in the car park of the local gym. The rest of the Ford SUV family has followed suit but the Edge pulls it off best thanks to its size.
For all its size, though, the interior space is more adequate than impressive. Those in the front will be fine, large comfortable seats offer plenty of support and thereâ€™s enough leg and shoulder room to suit most. In the rear, however, passengers will find the bench seat surprisingly narrow and legroom not as generous as a Kia Sportage, for example.
The word that keeps coming to mind with the Edge Vignale is adequate. Space, power, ride, interior quality â€“ itâ€™s all adequate. But with Ford pitching this as a high-end alternative to the likes of the Audi Q5 adequate just doesnâ€™t cut it. The Edge itself is a likeable big car but the Vignale trim feels like a stretch too far.