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New Ford Kuga Vignale revealed in production form

Ford expands posh Vignale lineup with more luxurious Kuga SUV, available to order later this year

Following on from Ford's updated 2016 Kuga revealed earlier this year, the family SUV has just gone that bit more upmarket as the production Vignale version is revealed. The posher Kuga is set to go on sale later this year. 

The Blue Oval's Vignale sub-brand is currently limited to only the Mondeo but the Kuga, alongside posh versions of the Edge and the S-MAX, will establish a full range.

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We saw a concept version of the Kuga Vignale earlier this year at Ford's Cologne design studio, but these images show the final production version in its hand-polished 'Milano Grigio' paint.

Like the Mondeo, there's a heap of extra chrome, a new dark-matte hexagonal grille design and dark gloss trim details to bring an upmarket air. 19-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior look alongside unique badging.

Inside, there's hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather and unique stitching for the doors and dash, plus a new 'Cashmere' trim colour. Kuga Vignales also benefit from the firm's 'Active Noise Control' that cancels out unwanted road noise through the speakers, as well as a host of standard active safety tech.

• Hot Ford Kuga is planned but ST badging unlikely

The Kuga Vignale range benefits from several powertrain choices, with a 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol in 148bhp and (auto and all-wheel drive only) 179bhp form available. There's also the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel in either 148bhp form with a six-speed manual gearbox or 177bhp form with the option of a six-speed auto and all-wheel drive.

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Pricing details for the Kuga Vignale have yet to be announced, but expect a notable rise over current top-spec Kugas, with upmarket customer service to go with it. Like other Vignales, buyers will get access to special dealership lounges and additional services including an individual 'relationship manager'.

The plusher SUV comes as Ford found that almost 80 per cent of the 33,000 Kuga's sold in 2015 were top-spec models Titanium and Titanium X models. As the luxury SUV market booms across Europe, Ford decided it wanted a piece of the pie.

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The show model we saw at Ford’s Cologne design studio hints at how elements like the hexagonal grille could be integrated into the car, but designers have also used the freedom afforded by a concept to push the boundaries of what could be achieved by Ford’s production processes and suppliers. The interior, in particular, provides an indication of how Vignale’s leather trim could evolve in the near future.

Vandenberk explains that her team has used this show car to push the boundaries further and give an idea of what Vignale can do next. “You’ll see that the ‘Tuxedo’ line around the seats is even thinner here,” she says. “It’s around half the thickness of the ones on the production cars; this is difficult to do in manufacturing terms, but having it on the concept allows us to push and show the supplier what we’d like to do.”

The same can be said for the Kuga’s paint scheme; it has the Edge’s pearlescent finish, but with more contrast in its highlights. “We’re confident this could be achieved within the current Vignale paint process,” Vandenberk explains, but she has the smile of someone who’s already had the debate with Ford’s production wizards, and won.

When it was on sale, the take-up rate of top-spec previous-gen Kugas was 70 per cent, making the Kuga Vignale an enticing prospect for the company.

What do you think of the plusher, more upmarket Kuga? Let us know in the comments below!

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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