Ford Galaxy review
The Ford Galaxy is bigger, more practical and slightly more luxurious than the S-MAX
The Ford Galaxy is closely related to its seven-seater sister car the Ford S-MAX, but while the S-MAX is one of the best MPVs to drive, the Galaxy focuses more on practicality and comfort. The large boot size, increased room for passengers and strong performance makes the Ford Galaxy one of the best seven seater cars for 2013.
The Ford Galaxy is perfect for transporting seven people comfortably. It’s easy to climb into the seats at the back and the generous space means adults can pile into the rear and still have plenty of legroom.
However, it’s let down by the fact that you can’t get sliding doors like the SEAT Alhambra, it depreciates faster than the VW Sharan and is pretty expensive when you consider Ford’s S-MAX isn’t much smaller. In fact, with prices starting at around £25,000, it’ll cost more than rivals like the Chrysler Voyager and Renault Espace.
The Ford Galaxy is really good to drive and comes with a wide range of frugal diesel engines. Petrol versions offer the best performance but come with heavy fuel consumption. The 1.6 TDCi diesel returns 54.3mpg and lowers road tax bills thanks to its 13g/km emissions.
An all-new Ford Galaxy is thought to have a mid-2015 release date. It will get a new bold grille and swept-back headlights. It will also have Ford's latest SYNC technology including a Wi-Fi hotspot, so passengers can surf the Internet. We would expect the rear seats have docking stations for tablet computers, enabling occupants to charge and integrate their own devices with the car.
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. In fact, the Ford Galaxy proves that practicality and fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. 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. The incredible all-round visibility, combined with light controls, make the Ford Galaxy a pleasure to drive. However, there’s no denying that the big MPV dimensions do make it harder to nip around in traffic.
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 for adult safety and you’ve got a very safe MPV. Safety for child passengers was awarded a solid four stars.
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. Despite having similar dimensions, the Ford Galaxy boasts increased headroom which means passengers have little problem getting comfy; they can even slide the seats individually and recline them. 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.
There’s a great deal of practical storage in the Ford Galaxy too. The centre cubby is deep, the side door bins are big enough to accommodate large bottles, and you can get under-seat drawers.
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. The appeal of the petrol versions’ strong performance is balanced out by their heavy fuel consumption.
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, which stand at 12,500 miles regardless of which Ford Galaxy you buy. 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. The Ford Galaxy gets the thumbs up from most owners when it comes to running costs. They told us, in our Driver Power survey, that the Ford Galaxy is economical for a big car, presents great value for money and is practical.