Car group tests

Ford Galaxy vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso & SEAT Alhambra

We see if Ford’s new Galaxy can divert some of the MPV glare away from award winners from Citroen and SEAT

Ford clearly thinks two cars are better than one in the MPV class. Its Galaxy and S-MAX people carriers have been sold side-by-side for nearly a decade, and this year sees the launch of all-new versions of both.

Best people carriers & MPVs

We’ve already tested the S-MAX, where it came second to Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso. In that test, we thought the new Galaxy, with its bigger internal dimensions, might be a better pick than the S-MAX. Now we can find out.

Once again we’ve lined up the Grand C4 Picasso for a rematch – can our class champ’s price advantage make up for the fact it trails the Ford on space? 

Best family cars

The Citroen retained its Best MPV crown at our New Car Awards 2015, plus we’re throwing into the mix the model that won the gong in 2013 – the SEAT Alhambra – to see exactly where the Ford fits in the seven-seat MPV market.

So, how will the new Galaxy compare against two of the best in the business? 

Ford Galaxy review

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso review

SEAT Alhambra review

Click the links above for individual reviews, and scroll down to see which large family holdall comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Versatility

Our measuring tape reveals the Galaxy has the largest boot floor area of these three, but the Grand C4 Picasso offers a lower lip, which makes loading easier. The Ford’s tailgate doesn’t open very high, so tall users may bang their heads, while the SEAT’s sliding doors mean you’re unlikely to suffer any car park dings when opening them.

Seating options

All three cars feature a trio of Isofix mounts in the middle row, and enough room to fit three child seats comfortably. SEAT offers a pair of integrated child seats for £425. These feature pop-up seatbases and headrests with additional side protection, and use the standard seatbelts.

Efficiency

The Grand C4 Picasso is the cleanest car. It emits 105g/km, compared to 129g/km for the manual Galaxy and 158g/km for the Alhambra. Go for an auto, and the figures are 115g/km for the Citroen, 139g/km for the Ford and 154g/km for the SEAT.

Verdict

1st place: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

It’s clear that the Grand C4 Picasso is very tough to beat in the people carrier class. It doesn’t have the outright boot space of the Ford Galaxy, but it more than makes up for it with a host of practical touches. Combine this with a relaxed and refined driving experience, low running costs and a long kit list at a great price, and it really is the only car to choose for big families.

2nd place: Ford Galaxy

The Galaxy is a refined and comfortable people carrier, and there’s no arguing with the vast boot space. However, the car has lost the driving pizzazz that made its predecessor so attractive. Plus, it feels cheap inside compared to the Picasso, despite its higher list price. Running costs are reasonable on the auto model, but we’d save even more cash and take the S-MAX instead.

3rd place: SEAT Alhambra

There’s a lot to like about the SEAT, including its spacious cabin, useful sliding doors and long kit list. It’s also surprisingly involving to drive, yet doesn’t offer a big enough space advantage over the Citroen to justify its price. The diesel is punchy, but high CO2 and running costs hold it back – although the imminent new model, with its cleaner engine, should be more competitive.

Key specs:

 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 2.0 BlueHDi (150) Exclusive+Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi (180) auto TitaniumSEAT Alhambra 2.0 TDI (177) SE Lux
On the road price/total as tested£27,110/£30,680£32,345/£37,265£32,420/£37,060
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£10,925/40.3%£13,067/40.4%£12,093/37.3%
Depreciation£16,185£19,278£20,327
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,028/£2,056£1,608/£3,216£1,867/£3,734
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,430/£2,384£1,603/£2,672£1,603/£2,672
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost25/£412/B/£2024/£419/E/£13022/£400/G/£180
Servicing costs£499 (3yrs/35k)£390 (2yrs)£20p/m (24 months)
    
Length/wheelbase4,597/2,840mm4,848/2,849mm4,854/2,919mm
Height/width1,644/1,826mm1,747/1,916mm1,720/1,904mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,997cc4cyl in-line/1,997cc4cyl in-line/1,968cc
Peak power/revs148/4,000 bhp/rpm178/3,500 bhp/rpm175/4,200 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs370/2,000 Nm/rpm400/2,000 Nm/rpm380/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd auto/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/repair kit70 litres/space saver70 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seat modes)165/632-793/2,181 l300/1,206/2,339 l267/658/2,297 l
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,705/545/1,700kg1,760/840/2,000kg1,842/688/2,200kg
Turning circle10.8 metres11.6 metres11.9 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/2yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20k miles (1yr)/19618k miles (1yr)/781Variable miles/128
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.20th/9th25th/26th15th/27th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars86/88/68/5 (2013)N/A96/80/46/5 (2010)
    
0-60/30-70mph9.8/9.2 secs9.4/9.0 secs9.4/9.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.0/6.9 secs3.7 secs (kickdown)3.6/5.5 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th7.9/10.9 secs5.3 secs (kickdown)7.1/8.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph130mph/1,900rpm129mph/1,900rpm129mph/2,100rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.5/35.8/9.4m47.7/32.4/9.8m49.7/36.2/9.8m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph65/44/55/65dB66/46/57/67dB69/47/57/65dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range45.5/10.0/550 miles40.6/8.9/625 miles40.6/8.9/625 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined54.3/74.3/70.6mpg46.3/57.7/52.3mpg37.7/54.3/47.1mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.9/16.3/14.5mpl10.2/12.7/11.5mpl8.3/11.9/10.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket166/105g/km/19%186/139g/km/25%186/158g/km/29%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/rear/yesSeven/yes/yes/£400Seven/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/adaptive cruise ctrl£1,350/yes/noYes/yes/£900£1,285/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/part/£2,000Yes/£3,050/£250Yes/yes/yes
Met paint/LED lights/power tailgate£520/£750/yes£545/£1,000/£400£585/no/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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