2015 Ford Mondeo Vignale 2.0 iVCT Hybrid Test Drive. Mixed Breed
Shooting for premium, but not quite
Not too long ago, Ford decided they want a slice from the premium segment pizza, which saw the Vignale nameplate emerging. What it wants is to convince Mondeo owners that the only way up is in Ford's own backyard.
Ford insists Vignale is not just a new, range-topping trim level, but a full customer experience, marked by posher models and complementary services like free carwashes for life and a so-called personal “Vignale Relationship Manager” to assist and guide the buyer.
Leaving client services aside, Ford’s idea of a premium sedan materialized as the Mondeo Vignale, also available as a hybrid, under the iVCT badge.
Hats off for:passenger spacecomfort
Bang for the buck:meh
Hybrid in the house Vignale means a duo involving a 2.0-liter petrol engine and a synchronous electric motor. Total output tops at 187 PS (140 kW) and 173 Nm, but in reality, you can’t always feel like these resources are on the table.
Blame the noisy CVT for that, a setup that emulates six gears, allowing the Mondeo Vignale Hybrid to own the 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) interval in 9.2 seconds for a max speed of 187 km/h (116 mph).
Which is irrelevant, because shifts are glitchy when the accelerator is pushed harder and the electric motor will demand a helping from its internal combustion partner whenever you need to pinch the gas pedal. Feather it, and you’ll be able to ride in pure electric mode up from a standstill to speeds of up to 50 km/h (30 mph).
The iron-nerved ones can even reach 120 km/h without engaging the ICE unit, according to Ford, but real-life traffic flow simply doesn’t let that happen.
Tipping the scales at 1,579 kg, the Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid is not the lightest sedan on the market, and the elephant-like movement grace is something to take into consideration.
Courtesy of the light-ish steering, navigating through choked cities is not a wholly sore task. On the road, demanding sportiness from the Mondeo Vignale Hybrid is equal to asking the aforementioned elephant to climb a tree.
Otherwise, for cruising purposes, the car is a top-notch performer. The electric tidbits are located behind the rear seats add extra weight on the shoulders of the soft-tuned suspension, which allows the car to nicely sit on the asphalt, especially at highway speeds.
Mind any potholes and road imperfections, though, as they can easily unsettle the sedan.
On the safety side, Ford’s Mondeo Vignale deploys a safety suite encompassing active city stop, active braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and a blind spot alert system. That’s without taken the seven standard airbags into consideration.
More concrete, the run-of-the-mill Mondeo bagged five safety stars from EuroNCAP, with ratings of 86% and 82% for adult and child occupant protection. Safety assist and pedestrian protection both stand at 66%.
Therefore, it’s natural to assume the Mondeo Vignale Hybrid retains the same credentials. More on the feeling side, the car’s generous proportions, and weight do make it transmit that safety feeling worthy of a family car.
Expectations met. The Mondeo Vignale delivers comfort like a pro, but the regular Mondeo was never short of that as well.
Visually, the Vignale is basically a conventional Mondeo that went through the Victoria Beckham posh-up tutorial, but there’s no room for shallowness because the front seats are a blessing for the back and probably the most prominent component entitled to the premium status.
In the Vignale, those sitting up front get a massage function (keep it on LO, because HI will come at your back like a kicking kangaroo) and a backrest adjustment setup made of 11 air cushions.
Rounding up the premium injection are the almost 46,000 tiny perforations that augment ventilation and heating.
The same scenario repeats at the back – sans the massage and inflating cushions, where passengers will find enough shoulder and knee room, while their feet can easily slip under the front seats. Headroom is an issue for taller physiques, although Ford carved the roof in the hunt for more space.
Active Noise Cancellation and additional padding make for a quiet cabin that will cocoon the occupants with an invisible noise shield, yet the CVT acts like a sabotaging mole which gets the entire insulating work undone. Then there’s also the suspension, a bit noisy under tension, a trait encouraged by the 18-inch wheels.
A Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde affair actually. As long as your sight doesn’t fall below the dashboard line, everything is plush. Leather with contrasting stitching and neat appearance.
Look down at the inside of the doors or center console and the landscape makes room for unattractive, hard plastics – far from a premium vista.
Just what you’d expect in the standard Mondeo, yet the Vignale Hybrid loses boot space (541 liters on non-hybrid versions) in the detriment of the battery pack.
However, the rear seats are split-foldable, and there’s a hidden orifice behind the armrest, which Ford offers for those carrying longer objects, like skiing gear, for example.
Up front, the pockets and cubby holes are well-tailored for a family’s needs, so there shouldn’t be any problem storing wallets, phones and bottles of water throughout the cabin.
Ford’s SYNC 2 infotainment system is tasked with the user-machine dialogue. Some menus are a bit too crowded, graphics lack the modern touch, and the touchscreen is not the most responsive, but nonetheless, they get the job done.
What Ford theoretically advertises as a 4.2 l/100 km fuel consumption figure turns into 7.4 l/100 km in the real world, which is below diesel territory but way better when it comes to CO2 emissions: 99 g/km.
In standard guise, the Mondeo Vignale hybrid packs an extensive chrome treatment on the outside, coupled with 18-inch wheels (the 19-inch ones are optional).
Inside, the leather-wrapped gear shift knob and steering wheel are also standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for the sunroof, heated steering wheel, and panorama roof.
The base Mondeo Vignale has ten-way power adjustable seats, but for the full treatment – the 11 air bladders and the massage function you’ll also have to pay extra, just like for the inflatable rear seatbelts.
The entry-level Mondeo Vignale starts at €37,600, but that only gets you the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine with 203 PS (149 kW). The Hybrid’s starting sticker is €41,925, yet a fair amount of optionals can readily stretch the bill towards the €45,000 mark.
All things considered, what you expect from the Mondeo Vignale is a crucial aspect, as we're looking at a mixed breed in terms of quality, with premium perspectives here and there.
Comfort is at its best, enough to satisfy even the inflexible type, but if you prefer a drop of extra performance and decent fuel economy, you’ll be better off with the 2.0-liter TDCi diesel variant (180 PS/132 kW).
If that’s still not suitable, then you can go for the bi-turbo TDCi based on the same two-liter mill, but pumped to 210 PS (154 kW). Expect a starting price tag of €41,400 for this one, so make sure you know your budget.
Remember, the Mondeo Vignale is trying to snatch a bite from the lunch reserved for BMW's 3 Series, Jaguar XE's and Audi's A4, yet the lack of enough quality and performance credentials raises some doubts.