The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - TOM WILT­SHIRE

FORD’S Vignale is a lux­ury brand cre­ated in re­sponse to cus­tomer feed­back. Loyal buy­ers had been opt­ing for more and more top-spec Ti­ta­nium mod­els, leav­ing them noth­ing higher to up­grade to when trade-in time came around. In re­sponse, Ford added Vignale across its model line-up, act­ing as a range-top­ping trim.

To­day I’m test­ing Ford’s flag­ship SUV, the Edge, in this glitzy spec. The Edge sells in huge num­bers across the pond, but does this kit-and-chrome-laden 4x4 ap­peal to UK tastes? Well, on the out­side, the Edge Vignale gets a se­lec­tion of ex­clu­sive paint colours. Once it’s been painted, Ford lets its de­sign team loose with chrome de­tail­ing – there’s a mas­sive and im­pos­ing Vig­nale­spe­cific grille, glitzy chrome wheels and shiny roof rails.

In­side, it gets quilted leather seats, while Ford’s cov­ered the plas­tic dash­board with swathes of leather. The carpet’s thicker, and even the boot is coated in deep-pile shag. Un­der the skin not much has changed, but there’s ex­tra sound­proof­ing to make the Vignale a re­laxed and re­fined cruiser.

It has a 2.0-litre diesel, avail­able in two states of tune: the lesser model gets 178bhp and a six-speed man­ual gear­box, while the top brass can choose the 207bhp ver­sion mated to a six-speed auto.

My car is the lat­ter. The en­gine is fairly re­fined, but it’s def­i­nitely no speed de­mon. Cus­tomers at this price level may be a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed, es­pe­cially as a sim­i­larly priced BMW X3 will com­plete the 0-60mph sprint in un­der six sec­onds com­pared to over nine for the Vignale.

The gear­box is smooth, but feels old­fash­ioned with just six ra­tios. Seven or eight is com­mon in this class and a more mod­ern box would make bet­ter use of the diesel’s nar­row power band. Fuel con­sump­tion isn’t im­pres­sive ei­ther – I av­er­aged 33mpg.

Ford has a strong track record for mak­ing cars that han­dle well and the Edge is no ex­cep­tion. For such a big car it’s un­usu­ally good in the cor­ners. But in stan­dard form, the Edge is a heavy car – the Vignale even more so – and you can def­i­nitely feel that weight work­ing against you. The sus­pen­sion and brakes strug­gle with the bulky body, and the car pitches and rolls as you change di­rec­tion.

This would be for­give­able if the trade-off was a cush­ioned ride, but the Vignale isn’t as com­fort­able as it should be. It crashes over bumps in town, and only re­ally set­tles down at a cruise. The steer­ing is ac­cu­rate, but feels overas­sisted .

If you want a big, lux­u­ri­ous SUV, with a fa­mil­iar nam­plate, the Edge Vignale has a lot go­ing for it but it falls down a bit with in­te­rior qual­ity, per­for­mance and han­dling not right for a pre­mium 4x4 mar­ket.

The Ford Edge Vignale is a top seller in the USA but can it make its mark in Scot­land?

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