New Ford Focus Vignale Estate 2019 review
We like the new Ford Focus Estate and we like the new Focus Vignale, but does combining the two make it one of the best cars in the range?
We love the Ford Focus Estate, and we rate the Vignale pretty highly. However, this car’s sluggish engine and lazy gearbox lets it down. If you’ve cash to splash, do it properly; the 1.5-litre petrol auto is a much better fit.
We already rate the new Ford Focus Estate among the very best family cars on sale, and following our first drive of the range-topping Focus Vignale, we declared it the most convincing posh Ford yet. So, does combining the two make this car here the best Focus to date?
It certainly isn’t short on appeal. The Vignale is just as practical and versatile as the standard Estate, with a big boot and cabin. The load bay measures 608 litres with the seats up, or 1,653 litres down; not far shy of the biggest cars in this class.
Standard kit includes LED lights, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera and SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The glorious Panorama roof (£995) floods the interior with light, but limits headroom.
Elsewhere, it looks and feels just like the hatch we tried last year. The thick leather chairs are comfortable, and the dashboard is solidly built, if not all that dissimilar to the conventional Focus. There are scratchy plastics lower down, but everything you touch feels like its built without cutting corners.
Speaking of corners, this is where the Focus Vignale sets itself apart from its rivals. Even as an Estate it drives sweetly, with well-weighted steering and tight body control. Tyre noise on the Vignale’s 18-inch wheels is still an issue, however.
But our biggest objection on this specific car is the engine and gearbox combination. We like the three-cylinder EcoBoost in the normal Focus, but mating it to the eight-speed auto makes the Estate feel sluggish – both from a standstill and on the move.
But while it fits in a Focus Zetec, or even a mid-spec Titanium, you expect more when spending this much on the leather-lined Vignale. The more powerful 180bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost Auto is just £23 per month more on identical terms, and seems a smarter fit in this specific model. If push came to shove, that’s where our cash would go.