I think many of us will remember the historic connotations that Ford’s hugely popular Mondeo brand name conveyed – Mondeo Man: typically cigarette smoking, gum chewing sales reps wearing shiny suits, hyper active estate agents and aspiring middle managers.
The 1990’s saw company car parks full of large comfy, motorway driving Mondeo car fleets and the estate version loved by many a Mum and Dad for its capacity to reliably transport everything but the kitchen sink, pet ferrets and the kids on holiday adventures, home and away.
In the spirit of frankness, I had to admit my inner car snob (newly found I may add) raised an eyebrow ever so slightly when Maarten asked me to review the new Mondeo Vignale 2.0 EcoBlue 8 speed Auto.
So, would I find vestiges of the Mondeo Man brand still alive or would Ford surprise me with the new Mondeo style that they confidently describe as being “the essence of elegantly assertive style”?
Somewhat buoyed and encouraged by the reviews around the significant advances of the Mondeo (Hybrid Electric Technology, range of Eco Blue Diesels and the potential for low running costs) and its positioning by Ford alongside its rivals in a tough, competitive class alongside the VW Passat and the Skoda Superb, I was tentatively looking forward to be proved wrong.
Within an hour of driving the Vignale out of Hove and over to the less accommodating roads of the High Weald in weather that can only be described as absolutely awful, the ride felt comfortable and well insulated from badly maintained roads, wind and lashing rain - I actually wanted to just keep on driving to find out more about it. The Vignale had got my full attention.
Once home, I could not help but immediately text Maarten and say “well, this is a contradictory little number” to which he agreed.
I quickly named it the Wash & Go car – as you can quite literally get in, work out the controls (it’s an automatic too) and drive away in under five minutes. Marvellous!
What did I like? Rather a lot as it happens.
◗ Easy to drive - highly intuitive controls and dashboard.
◗ Really sharp, responsive brakes on wet roads.
◗ Quick, clear heated front windscreen.
◗ Speed Recognition sign which flashes if you are over the speed limit.
◗ Ridiculously easy to pair your phone which you can manage by voice commands.
◗ It reads your text messages to you – so be careful who you have in the car with you!
◗ The boot is vast – great for flat packs from IKEA, buggies, shopping, work paraphernalia – potentially all at the same time.
◗ It has a hard copy Handbook and is not in The Cloud – hurrah!
◗ Sat Nav in several languages – should you need to hire one and become bilingual.
◗ Lots of great leg and head room.
◗ 0 – 62 in 7.9 seconds – so fairly nippy when needed.
◗ Low fuel consumption 38.2mpg.
◗ Combined CO2 Emissions g/km 131.
◗ Lovely leather seats in charcoal or cashmere.
◗ Leather wrapped heated steering wheel and heated front seats.
◗ Panoramic Roof.
◗ You can easily pronounce Vignale (as it reads) in a lovely Italian accent.
◗ Active Park Assist – locates suitable parking spaces and can automatically steer you in and get you out again – by following on screen instructions and audible signals.
◗ Blind spot information system.
◗ It even has its own app – Ford Pass App – helps you search for refuelling points and compare pricing, search for available parking spaces, check costs, opening hours and ratings.
◗ SONY DAB Audio system with a CD Player (maybe a slight throwback but I liked it!)
◗ Options to personalise for those of you interested in a Mondeo Estate inc: Thule roof attachments inc. roof boxes, bike carriers and roof ski/ snowboard carriers.
◗ Lots of safety kit which is good for lowering your insurance.
◗ A massage function for the driver and front seats (optional as part of Vignale Lux Pack only) – “to invigorate tired muscles“ at this rate I will be taking up residence in it!
◗ Excellent value for money.
◗ The large Vignale grill at the front. Apparently it is akin to a “Mustang grill” – is there a bull in the house?
◗ I think it strongly detracts from what has the potential to be a very smart and elegant car.
◗ It feels and looks a lot sleeker on the inside than out.
◗ The term Vignale denotes its roots as an Italian Coach company but also defines a powerful, slightly overbearing man (and I am putting this politely) – so still has a masculine undertone.
◗ Lots of irritating and tinny sounding bongs and bleeps.
IN A NUTSHELL 8 / 10
A good company and family car that will be enjoyed at work and at home. Definitely a contradictory little number but one to be enjoyed. And I was happy to be proved wrong.
Model tested: Ford Mondeo Vignale Eco-blue
Speed: 0-62 7.9 seconds
Economy: 38.2mpg combined
Price from: £31,810.00