The new Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate is the highest-spec version of the Kuga. Because Ford see it as an entirely separate model, we’ve given it its own review.
Like the standard model, it’s safe, good to drive and immensely practical. For family buyers who want that blend of drivability and usability, it continues to be a solid option. As the highest-spec version, it also feels a bit more special inside and comes with the likes of quilted premium leather upholstery. But with prices going as high as £36,000, the question is whether or not it’s worth it.
Ford has a long history in manufacturing cars, to find out more read our article.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate review.
Overview of the Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate
On the Road
The Kuga is no longer the best-handling car in this class, but it’s right up there among the best. As per with any Ford model, its steering is excellent, and the amount of communication between you and the front wheels is unrivalled.
It’s a high-riding car, of course, so body lean will be noticeable if you chuck it into bends with too much enthusiasm. However, it’s not too much of an issue. Moreover, the suspension setup has been engineered in such a way that the car feels composed and predictable.
It’s easy to park too, with Ford now including an automatic parking system and acoustic sensors as standard.
In terms of the engines, Ford have been chopping and changing the line-up a lot in recent years. For 2018, they’ve settled on a 1.5-litre and a 2.0-litre diesel. The latter is available in two separate power guises, and it comes with the option of an automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive. The former, meanwhile, is strictly manual and front-wheel-drive only.
That said, the 1.5-litre diesel will have enough for buyers who aren’t looking for ultimate power. It develops 118bhp and has a 0-62 time of 12.8 seconds.
We prefer the 2.0-litre diesel. As well as coming with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive, its smallest variant develops 148bhp, which we think is the minimal power output requirement for a car of this size. It has plenty of pulling power and can haul you from a standstill to 62mph in 10.1 seconds.
The larger variant of the same engine develops 178bhp and has a 0-62 time of 9.2 seconds.
Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate Interior, Design and Build
As the highest-spec model, the Vignale trim is the most luxurious Kuga there has yet been. It comes with a power-adjustable driver’s seat, ambient lighting, Sony speakers and “tuxedo-stitched leather.”
It’s all pleasant stuff, and it goes hand in hand with what was already a pleasant, family-friendly cabin. For 2018, Ford have reduced the number of buttons on the dashboard and the layout is more organised.
The introduction of the brands SYNC3 multimedia system has helped to this end, as it takes care of most of the functions. As such, the dashboard is smart, clean and feels and looks good.
Comfort is decent, even if the ride is a bit firm. The Vignale isn’t helped in this regard by the fact that it sports 18” alloys, but it also comes with supportive seats. So they shouldn’t be too bad.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with insulation, however, with the Vignale trim getting treated to double-glazed windows that literally let nothing in.
Is the Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate practical? It’s bigger than last time, and head and legroom is perfectly fine for all. Three adults can fit in the rear and be comfortable even on longer journeys, and while there are more spacious cars in this class, the Ford will suit young families perfectly.
The boot is bigger than last time too and now measures 456-litres post-facelift. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,603-litres. It comes with a low floor and a wide opening for ease of use.
Other than that, storage solutions are good. The door pockets are big enough to hold a 500ml bottle, and the glovebox is reasonably sized.
Equipment and Safety of the Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate
The Vignale is a very plush model and it’s superbly kitted out. It comes with its own bespoke body kit, floor mats with double stitching, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and ignition, a 9-speaker Sony stereo, heating for the front seats, a 10-way adjustable driver’s seat, quilted premium leather upholstery, a heated windscreen, bi-xenon headlights, 18” alloys and metallic paint.
In terms of how safe it is, the Kuga is a very safe car. Euro NCAP awarded it 5/5 for its crash test performance and we have no worries on this front.
Standard safety kit for the Vignale model includes an automatic parking system, traction and stability control, airbag, seatbelt pre-tensioners, a fatigue detection system, traffic sign recognition and a lane-keeping aid.
Is Ford reliable? Read our unbiased summary here.
Costs of the Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate
Prices for the new car rise to £36,095. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel is our top pick as an all-rounder, and it’s also fairly economical. It can return 60.1mpg on a good day and emits 122g/km of CO2, which sees it qualify for a BiK rating of 24%.
The 178bhp variant of the same engine, meanwhile, is good for 54.3mpg economy at best. This is a reasonable figure when you consider that it comes with four-wheel drive as standard.
Meanwhile, the smaller 1.5-litre 118bhp diesel engine is the cheapest to run. It returns 64.2mpg at best, but will likely be too underpowered for anyone looking at the Vignale trim.
Pros and Cons of the Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate
Floor mats with double stitching and a 9-speaker Sony stereo are just a few of the goodies that come with the highest spec version of the Kuga.
It’s not too big and it’s not too small.
Great to drive and park
An automatic parking system and acoustic sensors are fitted as standard to help with parking.
The Vignale trim is firmer than the lower spec models and the ride is more miss than hit.
The Kuga Vignale will have poorer resale values than rivals.
Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate vs Audi Q5 Diesel vs BMW X3 Diesel
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Ford Kuga Diesel Estate review.
Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate vs Audi Q5 Diesel
The new Audi Q5 Diesel is expensively priced but a very comfortable and powerful alternative to the Vignale.
The Q5 is a big car that never used to drive like a Hatchback – until now. Audi’s engineers have somehow managed to make this tall car drive like a much smaller one. And we say “somehow” because they’ve fitted a stiffer suspension setup, and yet the car smooths over poorer surfaces with ease and resist body lean well.
It’s almost magic.
Still, there are one or two caveats, and the car isn’t perfect. The steering might be precise but it lacks feel and you never really know what the front wheels are doing.
In terms of its engines, there’s currently just one available. This is a 2.0-litre 188bhp diesel that motors its way from a standstill to 62mph in just under 8.0 seconds. Audi will be releasing two more variants of the same engine later in the year with power outputs of 161 and 148bhp.
Running costs? The sole diesel returns 56.5mpg. This is an incredible figure when you take into account the fact that it comes with a seven-speed automatic ‘box and four-wheel-drive as standard. It also comes with 18” alloys as standard, but specifying either 19 or 20” alloys will knock its economy down a touch.
CO2 emissions, meanwhile, can be as low as 132g/km or as high as 136. It depends what you specify.
Inside, the Audi is typically Audi – classy, sumptuously put together and very luxurious. The design is elegant and the build quality is sophisticated.
However, buyers might find the “floating” seven-inch infotainment display a bit too awkward and cumbersome. It’s clumsily fitted too, and it looks totally out of place with the otherwise upmarket cabin.
Other than that, we have no complaints.
Is the Audi Q5 practical? It’s bigger and more usable than last time, and it’s clear that Audi have really thought about how families use cars. The door bins are big, as is the glovebox, and the ergonomics are sound.
The boot, meanwhile, measures as much as 610-litres if you slide the rear seats as far back as possible.
Ford – £36,095
Audi – £39,860 – £46,560
Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate vs BMW X3 Diesel
The new BMW X3 Diesel is comfortable, laden with technology and beats the Ford when it comes to driver appeal.
The X3 took the entertaining Jaguar F-Pace as its blueprint, and as a result it’s one of the best-handling cars of this type ever. Like all BMW’s, it handles tidily, its steering is sharp and it does a good job of hiding its bulk.
That said, it’s not up to the standards of the F-Pace and its steering loses its accuracy in the towns and cities.
Put your foot, down, however, and the steering is amazingly precise. Overall, the X3 is a great all-rounder that’s both fun to drive and comfortable.
In terms of its engines, a 2.0-litre diesel model sits at the bottom of the range. It produces 188bhp and covers the 0-62 dash in 8.0 seconds flat. It’s quick and emits a characterful noise that settles down once you’re cruising. It’s our top pick but if you want a lot more pace and power, the 3.0-litre diesel model develops a crushing 261bhp and covers the 0-62 sprint in 5.8 seconds. However, we think most buyers will find that it’s an unnecessary engine.
Especially when you take a look at running costs. The smallest diesel can return 56.5mpg on a good day and emits 132g/km of CO2. The 30d model, meanwhile, returns 49.6mpg and emits 149g/km.
Inside, the X3 is beautifully finished and well kitted out. Its style is a lot like the 5 Series, and we love how the infotainment display is mounted high.
But it’s the quality on display that really impresses us here. The materials are all top notch; they’re soft to the touch, look great, and BMW have used lashings of aluminium and gloss black here and there, too. It’s all seriously luxurious stuff and models come with 3-zone climate control and Vernasca leather upholstery as standard.
Is the BMW X3 practical? The interior is generously proportioned but all models come with five seats only. The wheelbase has been stretched this time around, and legroom is better.
There’s a real airy feel to the cabin and four adults will be able to sit in comfort on longer journeys. If you squeeze three into the rear, however, shoulder room will be tight.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 550-litres. Fold the rear seats and its well-shaped boot extends to 1,550-litres.
BMW – £39,105 – £51,665
Verdict of our 2018 Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate Review
The Kuga itself is a solid car, with the Vignale trim adding more than a few touches of luxury for those who like the Ford brand, but who also appreciate the finer things in life. If you love Ford, there’s no reason to look elsewhere for your upmarket fix. The new Ford Kuga Vignale Diesel Estate is safe, family-friendly, great to drive and superbly kitted out.