Both the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan are impressively huge family MPVs that can seat seven in comfort. Their forebears actually shared a chassis but these new models are now class rivals. We compare the two to help you pick the one that suits you best…
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Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – styling
The Galaxy hasn’t changed a lot since the second generation model was introduced back in 2006. In profile, there are very few differences to the old version with a shape defined by the spacious interior but this latest model is more desirable thanks to its wide front grille and tasteful use of chromed trim. It’s a lot more upright than the smaller S-Max making it the more practical option.
The Sharan is a little more reserved in terms of styling and could be mistaken for the smaller Touran to the untrained eye. It has an attractive look that some might feel is a bit cleaner and less fussy than the Ford. However, the sliding rear doors of the Volkswagen can give it a bit of a van-like appearance from certain angles, though some may argue that the enhanced practicality is well worth it.
Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – interior
The Galaxy shares most of its interior with the S-Max and the Mondeo – it also has those cars’ large infotainment screen, touch-sensitive radio and ventilation controls and the option of a 10-inch digital dashboard display. Quality is generally good, but the controls can come across as a little fiddly.
Modern Volkswagens never fail to impress inside, and the Sharan is no exception. You’ll find a simple and easy-to-use layout that’s also reassuringly good quality and, while it might not have as many fancy screens and snazzy controls as the Galaxy, it has the option of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for a mere £100.
In terms of practicality, both cars are very well matched. There’s seating for seven as standard with individual chairs for all occupants and plenty of cubbies and extra cup-holders. With all seats in place, the Galaxy offers 300 litres of space – more than a Ford Fiesta! That increases to 1,301 or 2,339 litres with the third and second rows folded respectively.
The Sharan’s boot is larger with all seats up, and the 375-litre capacity is larger than that of a Volkswagen Golf, but folding the third row leaves just 711 litres, with 2,297 litres being available with both second and third rows folded. The Sharan’s great sliding rear doors – they can be either manually or electrically operated offer greatly enhanced access to the rearmost seats, and are perfect for tight supermarket spaces.
Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – driving
Modern Fords are often praised for offering impressive handling and decent comfort, and the Galaxy is no exception. It may not be as nimble as some of the brand’s smaller efforts, but the big MPV still handles well and inspires confidence in drivers. Body roll is well contained despite the high centre of gravity and it’s pleasantly refined on the move, too.
The Sharan is by no means disgraced in this company, however, and handles more like a well sorted road car than a ponderous van. It lacks the sense of sportiness the Ford delivers but offers marginally better comfort and refinement which could give it the edge over its rival for most drivers. Unfortunately, the Sharan lacks the optional four-wheel drive of the Ford – something that might be a concern for buyers living in very rural areas.
Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – engines
Neither car here offers a particularly wide range of engine choices, but it’s the Ford that has the more varied line-up. Fans of petrol power can choose between a 160hp 1.5-litre engine and a 240hp 2.0-litre. Both are turbocharged and the latter is shared with the Focus ST hot hatch, although it’s only available with an automatic gearbox in the Galaxy.
Most buyers will chose a diesel engine though, and the Ford’s all are 2.0-litre units with varying levels of power – either 120, 150, 180 or 210hp. The first is mainly aimed at private hire companies but has enough power for most journeys. Private buyers will probably prefer one of the two middle options, but the top twin-turbocharged engine offers an impressive turn of pace.
The Volkswagen makes do with four choices – one petrol and three diesel. The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine makes do with 148hp. It’ll suit drivers who don’t do many miles but on the open road it struggles to cope with a fully loaded car. The diesels are all 2.0-litre units with either 113hp, 148hp or 182hp – none are especially rapid, especially the weakest one, but the more powerful two suit the Sharan’s relaxed character very well.
Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – value for money
The cheapest Galaxy is £26,695 – that’s for Zetec trim with the smaller petrol engine. Choosing a diesel increases the price by £1,300, with around £800 upgrading it in terms of power. Mid-spec Titanium offers the best value but, if you want the most powerful engines, you’ll need a Titanium X model – before options, the most expensive Galaxy is £36,545.
Prices for the Sharan are generally similar – the basic petrol model is £26,650, with another £700 netting you the a diesel and £900 needed for the mid-powered variant. The most powerful diesel isn’t available in entry-level ‘S’ trim but, in other versions, it costs around £1,400 more than the 148hp engine. The most expensive Sharan will set you back £36,630 before options – a tiny bit more than an equivalent Galaxy.
Fuel economy in the two vehicles is spookily similar, too – the Galaxy returns 56.5mpg in its most efficient diesel guise, with the least powerful petrol returning around 46mpg, and the hot hatch engined one netting a thoroughly mediocre 35.3mpg. Diesel engined Sharans also post combined figures of 56.5mpg (53.3mpg for the top version), with the sole petrol netting 43.5mpg – not too bad if that;s replicated in the real world.
Ford Galaxy vs Volkswagen Sharan – verdict
These two models are incredibly similar in what they offer buyers. Whichever you choose you won’t be disappointed because both make great family vehicles with bags of space and competitive running costs.
Those after a slightly snazzier interior and entertaining handling might prefer the Ford Galaxy but, if ultimate practicality and ease-of-use is your cup of tea, then we’d steer you towards the Volkswagen Sharan. Its sliding doors and understatedly classy cabin are standout points and, when it comes time to sell your car, it’s likely that the Sharan will hold its value slightly better thanks to that Volkswagen badge.
Save money on your new MPV
Whichever you prefer, check out our Ford Galaxy deals page or Volkswagen Sharan deals page to get the best price on your new MPV. If neither of these cars is for you, our car chooser is here to help narrow down your search.