Ford Galaxy review
The Ford Galaxy is bigger, more practical and slightly more luxurious than the S-MAX
After many years of offering a re-badged version of the Volkswagen Sharan, the latest Ford Galaxy goes its own way – and it’s much the better for it. It’s really good to drive, has full seating for seven adults along with a wide range of frugal diesel engines. However, it’s as expensive as rivals like the Chrysler Voyager and Renault Espace – the range starts at around £25,000 – and its cheaper, sportier S-MAX brother is more desirable despite being a little smaller.
Our pick: Ford Galaxy 2.0-litre TDCI (138) Zetec
The Ford Galaxy is much boxier than the S-MAX sister car – that’s the price you pay for the extra space on board. However, it still boasts plenty of stylish touches, with neat LED-style tail-lights. Even standard Zetec-trimmed models get alloy wheels, while top-spec Titanium X models add extra chrome trim to enhance the looks.
The Ford Galaxy drives better than any full-sized seven-seater has a right to. It’s not quite as agile as the sportier S-MAX, but it has great steering, corners with poise and resists body roll. It also has a compliant ride and seems to completely insulate occupants from road and wind noise, even at motorway speeds. Pick of the engine line-up is the gutsy 2.0 TDCi diesel engine in 138bhp Zetec form – there is a 1.6-litre 113bhp diesel, but it’s likely to be underpowered, while the 161bhp 2.0 diesel only comes in Titanium trim and costs more than £28,000, some £2,500 more. If you’ve got the cash, the flagship 200bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol is fast but it’s much more thirsty on fuel. If you need an automatic, Ford Powershift gearbox is quick and smooth but adds £1,500.
The Galaxy has loads of airbags on-board, including front and side airbags for the two front seats along with window airbags for the front two rows. There's also a knee airbag for the driver too. Factor in standard traction and stability control and a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating and you’ve got a very safe MPV.
As with the S-MAX, the Ford Galaxy's driving position is great. You sit high but still low enough so that you don’t feel you’re ‘on top’ of the car, while the A-pillars are slim, so it’s easy to see out. The driving position has loads of adjustment, the dashboard is well made with lots of soft-touch materials, and all the controls are logically placed. The Galaxy’s big plus over the S-MAX is the fact that adults really can travel in the sixth and seventh seats. What’s more there is more rear headroom and overall boot space. With the rear chairs in place boot space is still a respectable 308 litres – which is about the same as offered in a supermini. There’s a huge amount of room in five-seat mode, and with everything folded flat, there’s an enormous 2,325 litres, rivaling small vans for loadspace. It’s easy to fold all the seats, while the centre row moves back and forth and access to the final two is good.
There’s no doubt about it – if you want to minimize your fuel and tax bills, go diesel – while the Ecoboost petrols are smooth and quick, they just can’t compete. The 138bhp 2.0 TDCi strikes a good balance, returning 47.1mpg and 152g/km of CO2. There is an entry-level, tax-friendly 113bhp 1.6-litre TDCi version which emits 139g/km and should do over 50mpg, but we wouldn’t recommend it as you will have to work it hard when fully laden. As for running costs, the Galaxy is a large car, so you can expect heavy tyre wear. Budget a reasonable amount for diesel servicing, too. Zetec cars have dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, Bluetooth and all-round electric windows. Titanium brings cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, rear air-con, a USB port for iPods and a DAB radio. The flagship Titanium X gets leather seats and a panoramic glass roof.