Ford takes new

Fiesta upmarket

Ford Fiesta Vignale, front
Ford Fiesta Vignale, front
Ford Fiesta Vignale, front
Ford Fiesta Vignale, rear
Ford Fiesta Vignale, rear
Ford Fiesta Vignale, rear
Ford Fiesta Vignale, interior
Ford Fiesta Vignale, interior
Ford Fiesta Vignale, interior
Ford Fiesta Vignale, interior
Ford Fiesta Vignale, front

THE Ford Fiesta tops the UK car sales leaderboard every week, every month and every year with little sign of its appeal waning.

And now there is a range-topping model with a price-tag to match that will appeal to buyers with a little extra cash to splash.

It's called the Fiesta Vignale and to address the elephant in the room first, it costs more than £20,000.

That's right £20,000-plus for a Ford Fiesta.

For that outlay you would want to see a great deal of car and in fairness to Ford, the Fiesta Vignale comes fully loaded.

The car certainly looks the business from any approach thanks to its Vignale front grille and body styling with a fully working panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, Vignale rear and wing badges, sweeping light clusters with LED daytime running lights, LED night signature rear lights, lots of additional chrome trim and Vignale 18-inch alloys to complete the styling.

The interior is feature-rich with a wealth of onboard techno treats to explore. Creature comforts include a 10 speaker Bang & Olufsen in-car premium audio system with Ford SYNC 3 navigation that includes an eight-inch touchscreen, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB sockets and plenty more besides.

Sit inside the Fiesta Vignale and take in the surroundings because it oozes class with the likes of quilted leather seats which, along with the steering wheel, can be heated to help fend off the winter chill. There are lots of soft-touch surfaces, ambient lighting plus bespoke door sills and mats.

Our car was powered by a 140ps 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

It could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.0 seconds and maxed out at 125mph.

According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel economy of 57.7mpg with carbon emissions of 112g/km.

But the numbers that were the talk of the town were the ones preceded by pound signs.

The Fiesta has always been viewed as the most desirable supermini with an affordable price-tag.

The five-door Vignale model that we sampled was priced at £21,565 but once a range of options had been added such as special alloy wheels, blind spot warning with cross traffic alert, an adjustable boot floor, door edge protectors, a driver assistance pack, advanced auto park assist and a few other bits and pieces, the asking price had risen to £23,435.

So, whether or not buyers will be deterred by the cost, only time will tell.

One thing is always guaranteed with a Fiesta though no matter what special badging it wears is the performance and this Vignale model is no different.

The handling is precise with perfectly weighted steering, the road holding is assured and there is minimal body sway even when pushed hard into long sweeping bends.

The ultra-effective suspension irons out all but the most severe bumps and dips along the way, and the cabin is well insulated against engine, road surface or wind noise.

The three-pot engine is simply the perfect power source for the Fiesta delivering all the acceleration needed for day-to-day living.

It copes well on motorways where it can easily hold its own at national speed limits, it delivers all the sharp bursts of speed for overtaking on country lanes and it's perfectly timed for city centre driving with lots of stop, start motoring. And with the optional self-parking system, the Fiesta will even park itself for you.

Comfort levels are high and there's ample room for a couple of adults to travel in the back, although the panoramic sunroof does mean a slight compromise on height so taller passengers may find their hair brushing the glass roof.

The boot can hold 292 litres of luggage and the split folding rear seats can be dropped to increase that limit to 1,093 litres with plenty of additional storage compartments scattered throughout the car.

Factor in the comprehensive list of safety features and the Fiesta Vignale is the complete package for someone with a little extra cash to spare that's looking for a more upmarket car that's big on luxury and performance - and a nice alternative to the constant stream of compact SUVs flooding the market these days.

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