Review and road test of the Ford Edge Vignale
PLUSH IN THE SLUSH
In its top Vignale form, the improved Ford Edge offers an interesting option to SUV buyers who would probably normally have paid a lot more for a large SUV from a premium brand. Jonathan Crouch looks at what's on offer.
Ten Second Review of the Ford Edge Vignale
Just how far can you push the limits of brand equity in the large SUV segment? Ford has been testing that with this model, the Edge Vignale, a top-spec version of its surprisingly appealing family 4x4, now usefully improved. It comes with just about every extra imaginable, plus a bespoke stitched leather interior and an impressive after-sales package.
'Ford gives you more' used to be the Blue Oval brand's marketing slogan - and perhaps it still does. For proof, have a look at the very top Vignale version of its large, sophisticated and very well equipped SUV, the Edge.
Forget the truck-like underpinnings you might expect from a large SUV that sells primarily in the US. This car instead shares its CD4 platform - and much of its interior - with the well-regarded Mondeo, as well as Ford's S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs. That People Carrying provenance is one reason why the Edge is so spacious inside, though curiously, for the European market, Ford hasn't used that extra room to build in the third seating row that many family SUV buyers now seem to want. This model is sized similarly to a Volkswagen Touareg but priced way below the level of a model like that, despite the huge equipment list you get in this Vignale version.
The 238PS Bi-turbo powerplant used here is combined with a freshly-developed eight-speed quick shift automatic gearbox. This top unit has been enhanced with more low-end torque, while issues of noise, vibration and harshness have all been re-addressed. A small, high pressure turbo and a larger, low pressure turbo work in series at low rpm for greater responsiveness and enhanced torque. At higher engine speeds, the larger turbo works alone to produce the boost required to deliver peak power. The result is smooth and linear acceleration performance and, in theory, a more comfortable driving experience.
Off the beaten track, as you might expect, the Edge is no Land Rover Discovery but by the more modest mud-plugging standards of other SUVs in this class, it acquits itself very well. A reasonable level of ground clearance - just over 200mm - certainly helps, as does the wheel angle flexibility of the all-independent suspension set-up. This big Ford's 'Intelligent All-Wheel Drive' system is a permanent set-up and, like nearly all its rivals, uses 'Torque On Demand' technology to send power to whichever wheel has the most traction.
Design and Build
In Vignale form, the Edge certainly looks a little more exclusive. Outside, the looks of this variant are distinguished by bespoke chrome-finish fog lamps and a signature Ford Vignale hexagonal upper grille design with a dark matte finish and a polished aluminium surround. Plus there are 19-inch polished aluminium wheels and unique exterior colours that include a rich metallic brown that Ford calls 'Vignale Ametista Scura'.
The refined interior delivers hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather featuring prominent tuxedo-style stitching for the seats and door interiors, offered in light Cashmere or dark Ebony colours. Leather extends to the central armrest and storage console, and to the instrument panel, which features a woven aluminium applique on the passenger side.
Otherwise of course, the recipe is the same as on any other Edge model. The driving position is easy to tailor as the steering wheel moves for reach and angle, and there's lots of space for your head, shoulders and legs. As for rear seat passenger space, well the news is both good and bad. Despite the fact that the boot is huge - with all the seats in place, there's 800-litres of space if you pack to the roof - Ford doesn't provide the option for a third row of seating. In compensation, there's a vast amount of room for second row occupants.
Market and Model
Only one Edge Vignale model is now available: a 2.0 EcoBlue diesel with 238PS and AWD priced at around £46,000. 'Vignale'-spec gets you bespoke chrome-finish fog lamp surrounds, 20-inch polished alloy wheels and a signature 'Vignale' hexagonal upper grille design with a dark matte finish. Inside, hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather features prominent tuxedo-style stitching for the seats and door interiors, while leather extends to the central armrest, storage console and instrument panel. Vignale models are sold at premium 'Ford Store' locations in the UK. At this model's launch, there were 55 of these, enough, says the brand, to ensure that 90% of the population will be with an hour's drive of one. Each of these dealerships has a dedicated Vignale Lounge area. And owners will be assigned a 'Relationship Manger' who'll be on hand in the dealership and via a hotline to look after their needs. When the time comes for servicing, you'll enjoy a free collection and return service and after every garage visit, your car will get a complementary carwash and premium valet treatment.
Cost of Ownership
Ford is confident that the Edge meets the class standard for efficiency. By only delivering torque where and when it is needed, the car's Intelligent AWD set-up has minimal impact on fuel-efficiency and CO2 emissions compared with permanent four-wheel drive systems. As a result, this top Edge is rated at up to 41.5mpg fuel efficiency and up to 176g/km CO2 (WLTP figures converted to NEDC2).
Maintenance bookings can be done online through the 'My Ford' portal. This is part of the 'Ford BlueService' scheme that wraps up all of the care and maintenance of your car into one bundle that includes a free 30-point 'eCheck' of vital parts and highlights any work required with a red, amber and green traffic light warning to rank items that need attention in order of importance. There's also the 'Ford Service App' that you can download to your phone for free. It lets you locate your nearest dealer and make a booking, plus has a couple of extra elements, allowing you to find petrol stations and including a 'Park Me' feature that remembers where you left your Edge, so you won't have to hunt for it, say in busy multi-storeys.
What we've established then, is that this is more than just another attempt by Ford to sell a big US-made 4x4 over here. Think of this Edge as an S-MAX or Galaxy MPV re-designed for the rough and you'd probably be closer to the mark. But it's more than that too. On prolonged acquaintance, this car reveals itself as a very likeable, capable SUV that's more than up to challenging the best in its class.
This model's also very well equipped, especially in this Vignale guise. Plus it's smart to look at and media savvy. It is, in short, the first really credible large car that Ford has produced this century that wasn't an MPV. An SUV that has a bit of an Edge to it. Try one and you'll see what we mean.
Ford Edge Vignale review by Jonathan Crouch