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Long-term report: The Ford Focus Vignale – a car packed with surprises

Reviews | Published:

It’s been a month of surprises with Ford’s tip-top Focus Vignale. Dave Brown explains all…

The Ford Focus Vignale sits at the top of the Focus range

After more than 4,500 miles of trouble-free motoring in this poshest of Ford Focuses, I was beginning to think EF19 YPC and I were living a charmed life.

In fact, there is still very little to complain about. As I’ve mentioned before, the car is supremely luxurious and refined and bristling with useful technology.

However, there has been a bit of a hitch recently – and all to do with the sunny summer weather we’ve been enjoying (at least in our part of the world).

In a nutshell, the retracting sun shield beneath the sun roof had a bit of a funny turn. It moved back without any trouble to allow the roof to be opened but then stubbornly refused to return to its original position, ending up looking a bit sorry for itself and bent out of shape.

The Ford's sunroof failed to retract properly on one occasion
(PA)

It remained like that for a couple of days and I was on the verge of calling our friends at Ford for some assistance when, all of a sudden, it decided to play ball again and has been behaving itself ever since.

Ah well, the heat affects us all in different ways, I suppose.

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This Focus really is a car that’s full of surprises. I’ve only just paid proper attention to the fact that the doors are fitted with protectors that emerge to cover the edges of the metalwork when they are open.

The door protector system is extremely handy
(PA)

They really are a clever touch and together with the aftermarket alloy protectors we mentioned in our last report are helping to keep the car safe from any annoying little dings and scratches.

The door protector system folds neatly away
(PA)

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One piece of advice I’d give to anyone tempted to splash out on a new Focus would be this: Don’t rely 100 per cent on the speed limit display shown on the dashboard.

I say that after a trip on one of the UK’s new-fangled ‘smart’ motorways, where variable speed limits are displayed on overhead gantries.

One lane was closed on a particular journey I made recently and the limits applied to the other lanes gradually declined from 70mph to 60, 50 and finally 40. The car picked up the speed limit cut to 60 but there was a bit of a delayed reaction as far as the two further reductions were concerned.

Incidentally, the cause of all this turned out to be a car (towing a caravan) that had broken down and reinforced my view that ‘smart’ motorways are anything but and have made motorway driving considerably more dangerous for all concerned.

The Focus has proved to be a reliable everyday vehicle
(PA)

At the time, and unusually for me, I had passengers on board – the in-laws, to be precise, who were very impressed with the levels of comfort and refinement in the rear seats. They had no complaints about the amount of leg room, thanks in part, no doubt, to the fact that the front seats have been designed with a new slim profile. The clarity of the eight-inch touchscreen, as well as the quality of the image displayed via the rear wide-view camera, both came in for praise, incidentally.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the car does attract some admiring glances whenever I’m out and about. It really does look the business, thanks to its 18-inch Liquid Aluminium alloy wheels, Vignale front grille and body styling plus ruby red paint job.

Inside, it’s a nice place to be too, with full Vignale leather seat trim, snazzy floor mats front and rear and ambient multi-colour lighting.

I’ve read other reports that have suggested the price of a Ford Focus Vignale is a bit steep (almost £32,000 as we’ve mentioned before) but I’m not sure I agree. If I had that kind of cash available for a new motor, I’d definitely be tempted…

  • Model: Ford Focus Vignale
  • Engine: 1.5 EcoBlue diesel engine, eight-speed auto
  • Price (as tested): £31,900
  • Power: 148bhp
  • Torque: 370Nm
  • Max speed: 129mph
  • 0-60mph 9.1 seconds
  • Fuel consumption (combined): 51.4mph
  • CO2: 121g/km
  • Mileage: 4,508

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