The Edge Vignale’s extended leather upholstery turns out to be quite an effective route to lifting the car’s cabin ambience. It’s very widely deployed indeed: not just on the seats, but the interior door panels and armrests, the centre console and the upper dashboard. And such generous use is a wise move, because the prominence of hard, dull interior plastics generally works towards the undoing of the regular Edge’s credibility as a decent rival to a European premium-brand SUV. The more of those plastics that can be covered up with plush hide, the more believable the car’s claim seems.
The Vignale’s prevailing standard on material quality isn’t totally convincing, though, and this is mostly to do with the few nastier, slightly ill-fitting bits of plastic that remain: the ugly-lidded central storage cubby sitting on top of the centre stack, for example, or the cover for the cubby at its base. You just wouldn’t find fittings this cheap feeling on the cars the Edge is trying to compete with. That’s a great shame because, where the cabin’s extra-rich design and specification works, it works well. The car’s seats are very comfy and appealing to the senses, occupant space is good and boot space is outstanding.
The Edge’s 207bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is well mannered at all times: smooth at a standstill, hushed at a cruise and remaining fairly civil even when stretched. It doesn’t make for particularly assertive outright pace in a car of this size and heft, but the engine does feel torquey and works particularly well with the twin-clutch gearbox on part-throttle, making the car easy-to-drive in town.
Contributing to interior refinement is an active noise cancellation system that detects cabin noise and broadcasts opposing sound waves to mitigate your perception of that noise. Since there’s no button to switch it on and off, it’s impossible to say how effective the system is – but the Edge certainly seems a pleasant cruiser. What Ford’s Vignale brochure may not make clear is that the noise cancelling system is standard-fit on the entry-level Edge, rather than a luxury-enabling perk of the full-house version.
Beneath the Edge’s skin there are, in fact, no mechanical differences between a Vignale and its brethren. But handily, Ford did a habitually thorough job of developing the regular car’s ride and handling – and so, like every Edge, the Vignale handles surprisingly keenly for something so large, and it rides quite well.
The standard-fit suspension and steering systems are well-suited to the car, endowing a taut but usually fluent primary ride, and a meaty and direct feel to the tiller that’s well-matched to the car’s grip levels, and that makes for a wieldy and pleasingly precise handling impression both around town and on a swooping B-road. On the motorway, there’s great high-speed stability to the chassis and plenty of centre-feel to the steering, too.
Our test car rode on optional 20in alloys and low-profile tyres, whose unsprung mass and shortness-of-sidewall was a bit noticeable in some brittleness to the ride over sharper edges, and some unhelpful weight to the steering off-centre. Neither shortcoming was enough to spoil a generally relaxed but responsive and enjoyable drive, though.