From £30,3706
Flagship addition to Ford’s Vignale range has more than a smattering of dynamic class, but still works best as an advert for a lesser model

Our Verdict

Ford Edge

Ford tops its range line-up with an Americanised, big Ford for the 21st century. But can it make a large enough impact to upset its premium rivals?

What is it?

The Ford Edge Vignale is the car that sits at the very top of Ford’s new semi-premium brand model tree. Building on the proposition of the normal Edge, it is a five-seater SUV that’s at once the size – and, now at least, potentially also the equal on leather-bound luxury and equipment level – of a generously kitted BMW X5 xDrive25d, but priced at many thousands of pounds less.

Built in Ontario, Canada and imported to Europe in fairly small numbers, the Edge may be a more comfortable fit for the premium-brand treatment than other models that have already been swept up into Ford’s Vignale family but that are a much more common sight on UK roads. Luxury 4x4s remain in high-demand in Europe; and the feedback of Ford dealers, who report customers demanding Edges in high trim levels and with lots of fitted options, has encouraged the Blue Oval to dare to take on the likes of BMW, Audi, Volvo and Mercedes with a large 4x4 priced at more than £40,000.

Just as things are with the rest of the Edge range, Vignale customers get an engine range limited to 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesels, the lesser of which offers 178bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox and the greater 207bhp and a six-speed Powershift automatic. Both versions get four-wheel drive as standard.

Even so, the Edge is left looking underpowered compared with the more established full-sized 4x4s it seems made to undercut. On power, though, it is at least competitive with the medium-sized SUVs (Audi Q5Land Rover Discovery Sport) that it’s directly priced against.

As the dedicated Vignale ‘relationship manager’ at your local Ford showroom might explain, the top-of-the-line Edge actually makes the buying process easier for anyone looking for a well-stocked car. You get a Sync3 touchscreen infotainment system, Sony DAB premium navigation, adaptive LED headlights and a lane keeping safety system as standard, where you’d have to pay for them as options further down the range. That leaves Vignale customers effectively paying less than £1000 for the car’s polished 19in alloy wheels, its exterior design tweaks and its extended ‘tuxedo-stitched’ two-tone Windsor leather. Going by this maths, the car's price may not seem so crazy.

Given that Vignale models qualify for preferential finance deals compared with lesser Fords, stepping into one could actually save you money if your mind’s set on having as many options as you can afford. However, Ford isn’t giving everything away for free. The 20in alloys, panoramic glass sunroof, heated steering wheel, inflatable rear seatbelts, motorized steering column, wide-view camera, adaptive cruise control and active park assist on our test car were all cost-options, and pushed up the car's after-options price beyond £45,000: a figure it may be best for prospective owners not to think about too hard.

 

What's it like?

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.

 

Should I buy one?

Of all of Ford’s first-generation Vignale models, the Edge is the most convincing. The desirability conferred by its quietly distinctive design and large SUV bodystyle makes its bid to be taken seriously as a pseudo-premium offering all the more acceptable.

The car’s well-resolved dynamism, its creditable refinement and its acres of leather add some substance to that bid – only for the cheaper parts of the cabin, and for what remains a disappointing infotainment system even in its latest guise, to take it away again.

Overall – until Ford can make what actually goes into its Vignale models as special as most of what wraps and dresses them, at any rate – we’d recommend saving your premium, buying a mid-spec Edge Titanium instead, and confining yourself to the more useful options in the catalogue. 

Ford Edge Vignale 2.0 TDCI 210 Powershift AWD

Location Vienna, Austria; On sale now; Price £40,250; Engine 4cyls in line, 1997cc, turbodiesel; Power 207bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd twin-clutch automatic; Kerbweight 1949kg; 0-62mph 9.4sec; Top speed 131mph; Economy 47.9mpg; CO2/tax band 152g/km, 30%  Rivals: Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 HSE Auto, Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S line

Join the debate

Comments
14

1 November 2016
"Just as things are with the rest of the Edge range, Vignale customers get an engine range limited to 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesels"...where is the real engineering "difference" a newly designed 6 cylinder engine is surely required, that might have made people go "oooh" ford are really trying to make things better. What I'm inclined to think is they will make things more expensive however the engineering is still based on the same basic 4 cyl "poverty spec" engines which makes me think what else have they raided from the parts bin....In short, I hope they do more than stick a badge on something.

1 November 2016
405line wrote:

"Just as things are with the rest of the Edge range, Vignale customers get an engine range limited to 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesels"...where is the real engineering "difference" a newly designed 6 cylinder engine is surely required, that might have made people go "oooh" ford are really trying to make things better. What I'm inclined to think is they will make things more expensive however the engineering is still based on the same basic 4 cyl "poverty spec" engines which makes me think what else have they raided from the parts bin....In short, I hope they do more than stick a badge on something.

Ford are not capable of making things better, they prefer the cheaper option of trying to convince mugs that a simple badge will fool those mugs into paying an extra couple of grand for a product that was crap in the first place. Hilarious to also read about them dumping the 'One Ford' policy claiming it has peaked. What that really meant is that the market is not a stupid as they thought it was and that products like the Eco Sport are being seen for the utter piles of shite they are.

1 November 2016
How can they so blatantly copy BMW's sales strategy like that. Badges on piles of shite are ONLY allowed by BMW, and only their drivers should be mugged off in this fashion

1 November 2016
I'll just pick myself up before typing depreciation.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

1 November 2016
If this had a petrol hybrid engine I'd be tempted. It doesn't look bad on the outside. As it is, nope.

1 November 2016
Amazed how people go into instant skate mode because it's a Ford and have not even driven it.

I have and it's a decent car, would I buy one new? Nope in a years time when it's lost a large amount of money.

it's decent looking well made and good to drive.

It will also be a lot rarer and therefore more exclusive than the sea of silver/grey/white Audis and BMW's that litter our roads.

1 November 2016
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Amazed how people go into instant skate mode because it's a Ford and have not even driven it.

A rather sweeping statement when you know nothing about anyone making any comments. What is skate mode? I'd admit, my English is not that great and not really my first language but I have never heard that before.

1 November 2016
It would be nice if they could give us the 2.7L V6 EcoBoost that the US model has. Diesel can go die in a smoky fire for all I care.

jer

1 November 2016
Really lifts it. I always regret that this such an expensive option on german cars. Also think the sound cancellation is a good avenue. God knows how you'd value one of these though.

jer

1 November 2016
Agree with what you say about that 2.7 ecoboost with 325 hp. No idea why the one Ford approach just seems to deliver crap to Europe that they think the 75 percentile will want.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK