SOME years ago there was a large powerful Ford called the Granada, which was a superb car - especially with its punchy V6 engine option.
But when Ford slapped its prestige Italian Ghia designer badge on it, the car became a hot choice among Britain's executives.
This Italian touch was a winner, but the tsunami of economy thinking and downsizing swamped the Granada and its successor the Scorpio leaving the world with the impression that the classy, large Ford had gone forever.
But strange things happen in today's premium market and the old combination of the oval badge and Italian luxury is back with the Mondeo Vignale.
This £32,345 showcase of modern Ford technology is really the grandson of the Cortina, but in truth it is longer than the Granada of the late 70s and is a truly worthy successor in the executive arena.
But this one boasts a different designer touch - Vignale which is now the blue badge's luxury brand.
Some would say that a Mondeo costing so much may be something of a courageous step for Ford because it is wading into those deep waters inhabited by established luxury brands such as BMW, Lexus and Jaguar, but when you look at the car in detail it starts to make a lot of sense.
For a start, the latest Mondeo is a beautiful car, even in basic form and nobody can deny it.
Add the Vignale luxury treatment, all-wheel-drive and a mind-bogging list of standard spec fitments and the rationale becomes much clearer. Gilding the lily at a price? Yes, but it works.
Other top-spec Fords are extremely popular and although the Mondeo Vignale may have a fight on its hands to lure customers away from more ‘posh' badges there is no reason to think it will not follow suit and make out in the marketplace.
On the road this model offers superb ride quality as befits its upmarket billing. And in terms of top speed makes the Granada of old a tad wimpish.
For instance the Granada Mk II 2.8 V6 of 1977 could just about manage 117mph with the Mondeo Vignale AWD way ahead at 140mph. But interestingly the 2.0-litre TDCi 180ps diesel engine under the Vignale's bonnet is only a fraction quicker to 62mph. The Granada's figure being 8.9 seconds and the Vignale's 8.6.
But in terms of economy there is a massive difference with the Vignale's combined mpg figure of 53.3mpg streets ahead of the Granada's petrol-thirsty 20.8.
Ford Mondeo Vignale AWD 2.0 TDCI
Mechanical:180ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
Insurance Group: 27