Ford goes posh with

designer SUVs

Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, badge
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, front, action
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, front
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, side, static
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, side
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, rear
Ford Edge Vignale, 2017, boot
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, front
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, front, static
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, side
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, cockpit
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, interior
Ford Kuga Vignale, 2017, upright

OVER the years Ford has always tried to add various ‘posh' or slightly up-market versions of their normal model range and with considerable success.

These top-trimmed models have always proved popular while Ford has always relied on the Italians, well regarded worldwide as top car designers, to instill some flair and panache.

Back in the Seventies it was the work of the Turin Ghia studios, created by Giacinto Ghia, that created Ghia versions of the Granada, Capri, Cortina and Escort and later the Fiesta, Sierra and Scorpio.

Incidentally the longest serving Ford model with a Ghia version was the Fiesta - from 1977 up until 2008.

Ford dropped the Ghia trim name in 2010 but they are now back in 2017 with yet another Italian design concept, this time created by Alfredo Vignale back in his little studios in 1948 and again in Turin, and obviously called Vignale.

It means that there are now top spec Vignale models now available on the S-MAX people carrier, the pair of Sports Utility Vehicles of the mid-sized Kuga and large sized Edge while this summer Mondeo versions have been added.

Before the end of the year the all-new Fiesta will also have the same posh Vignale treatment.

The fast-growing SUV sector is crucial for Ford to be able to compete on level terms with rivals and these new Vignales certainly look the part with their stylish looks and up-market furnishings and fittings.

Take the Kuga Vignale starting at £31,045 and there's a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

It's definitely well equipped inheriting all the standard features of the slightly cheaper Titanium trim models.

Vignale specification gives adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a distinctive Vignale body kit such as mesh grille, fog lamp bezels and lots of dark chrome trim.

Inside there's a special leather interior with leather steering wheel and seats, bi-xenon headlights with jet wash, a 10-way adjustable driver's seat, rear view camera and better active park assist.

There's also an all-wheel-drive model available with a 2.0-litre TDCi Powershift set up delivering 178bhp delivered through an exceptionally smooth six-speed automatic gearbox and costing £35,345.

This model accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 9.2 seconds with a CO2 figure of 135g/km and will return a combined fuel consumption figure of 54.3mpg.

Other features include cruise control, hill start assist, electronic stability programme, rain sensing front windscreen wipes and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Perhaps the only disappointment is that the excellent panoramic sunroof is a £900 option.

This 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, already used in other Ford models, is exceptionally quiet and refined and combined with that slick feeling automatic gearbox (surely the best auto box Ford has ever had) makes for smooth and comfortable driving without any quibbles or worries.

The other Vignale SUV from Ford is the slightly bigger - and more expensive - Edge which start at £39,545 - a price which puts it in the more luxury SUV sector alongside BMW's X3 and the Audi Q5.

The version driven here again had the 2.0-litre TDCi 178bhp engine under the bonnet with all-wheel-drive and the impressive six-speed automatic gearbox and priced from £41,795.

Performance is impressive for a car of its size accelerating from 0 to 62mph in 9.4 seconds with CO2 of 149 g/km and returning a combined fuel consumption of 48.7mpg.

Onboard it has Ford's SYNC 3 connectivity system with voice control and eight-inch touch screen.

It's naturally a bigger car than the Kuga and rides on 20-inch alloy wheels which helps make all the difference when it comes to comfort and good road holding.

For such a large SUV, it's remarkably flexible and easy to drive, coming into its own for long distance cruising.

The impressive automatic gearbox makes for quick, seamless gear changes up and down and its ideal for towing a caravan too - the tow bar though is an extra £750.

Again, Ford charges an extra £800 for a panoramic sunroof which gives far more interior light than the traditional metal roof.

With a few other options the final price for this Edge Vignale was £45,500 - expensive territory for Ford, but in terms of luxury it is certainly a match for any German rivals.

Ford is trying to make great strides in upping the quality and standard of its cars with the Vignale treatment and there's growing demand for such luxury - something Ford is keen to exploit.

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