£29,945 - £41,195 Price range
46 - 62 MPG
The Ford Galaxy is a large seven-seater MPV praised for its practical and spacious interior. Its main rivals are the Volkswagen Sharan, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.
The quality and materials used in the interior have been improved over the old model and the eight-inch infotainment screen replaces many of the buttons on the dash to make it less cluttered. The seats offer unrivalled levels of flexibility.
Although not as good as the S-Max, the Ford Galaxy is far from boring to drive. The handling inspires confidence and, unlike in rivals, you can specify four-wheel drive for added grip on slippery winter roads. On the motorway, the Galaxy is a very capable cruiser and the only complaint from testers is wind noise that is slightly higher than in rivals.
Engine choice is simple – go diesel. The petrols are modern and powerful, but are not best suited for the Ford Galaxy’s main purpose, which is hauling people and luggage. The diesels have the pulling power and low running costs that make them the more sensible choice.
The Ford Galaxy is more expensive than the S-Max, but it does offer more room and also has a generous standard equipment. The base model has about everything a family needs except sat-nav, which is available for just £300 extra.
The main criticism of the old Ford Galaxy’s interior was that it lacked the quality it deserved. Ford has listened to the complaints and the new car feels much more luxurious and robust inside.
The dashboard is less cluttered than the previous model and is dominated by an eight-inch touchscreen that controls most of the car’s electronics and entertainment. However, testers note that the positioning of the screen combined with sun glare can make it hard to read.
The optional 10-inch digital instrument panel, similar to Audi’s virtual cockpit, is considered by reviewers as more of a gimmick as the graphics are not clear enough.
Ford Galaxy passenger space
The main reason buyers go for the Ford Galaxy instead of the S-Max is the increased interior space, especially in the third row of seats – there’s enough room for adults to stretch their legs and the big windows provide great visibility.
The seats are very comfortable and supportive, if not as good as the body-hugging ones found in the S-Max, and the middle row can slide back and forth, fold down as well as flop forward at the push of a button.
Ford Galaxy boot space
With all seven seats up, the new Ford Galaxy has more luggage space than a Fiesta, rising to a van-like 2,339 litres with all of them flat on the floor. The boot is bigger than the S-Max one, the opening is large and there is no lip to carry the groceries over – the Galaxy is very practical.
Numerous storage areas and cubbies are dotted around the cabin with notable mentions being the huge compartment between the front seats and the 1.5-litre bottle holder in every door.
Nobody expects a large seven-seater to be fun to drive, although the S-Max makes a pretty strong case of combining seven-seater space with the driving characteristics of a small car. The Ford Galaxy is based on the same platform as the S-Max and as a result it inherits its well-weighed steering that provides more feel than an MPV should and suspension set-up that soaks up bumps big and small.
Start pushing the limits, however, and the Galaxy, with its large panoramic roof, shows its high centre of gravity. There’s a lot of body roll when driving the Galaxy fast. However, at speeds reasonable for an MPV, the optional adaptive dampers do a good job of minimising the body lean. They cost an extra £375.
Ford Galaxy AWD
An option for the Ford Galaxy that’s rare in the class is four-wheel-drive. You can have it with the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel manual gearbox or with the 180hp automatic.
The benefits of all-wheel drive become more evident the worse the weather gets, but even in dry conditions the added grip will give you confidence behind the wheel. That said, a set of good winter tyres will get you just as far, and make you a decent saving.
No matter which version you go for expect slightly poorer fuel economy and around a second added to the 0-62mph time.
Engine options include a 2.0-litre diesel with 120, 150 or 180hp outputs, plus a 210hp twin-turbo version. There’s also the choice of 160hp 1.5-litre or 240hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines. Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift automatic gearbox is recommended if you can spare the £1,550 premium because it is praised on its smooth and quick shifts.
Ford Galaxy petrol engines
From a 1.5-litre with 160hp to a 2.0-litre with 240hp – the Galaxy petrol range is broad, but the running costs of a turbocharged petrol engine in a large seven-seater are too great to make any of the engine choices recommendable. The 1.6-litre is able to return a fuel economy of 43mpg and the 240hp one – 35mpg.
Ford Galaxy diesel engines
The diesels are a much better bet for moving around people and luggage. They have more pulling power which translates to less gear changes. The low-power version is specifically targeted at private hire companies and fleet customers because it emits just 129g/km of CO2.
The 150 and 180hp versions are the recommended choices for family customers. The 150hp has power for any occasion and the car never feels like it is struggling with its weight. If you have the money, the 180hp is just as efficient, returning the same fuel economy of 55mpg and offers a nice punch of acceleration when you need it.
The 210hp bi-turbo diesel is not that much faster than the 180hp one and we see no real reason equipping the Galaxy with it unless you want to boast to other parents at the school gates.
Euro NCAP awarded the Galaxy the full five stars when it was tested in 2015, with excellent scores for occupant and child protection.
The Galaxy comes with a range of active and passive safety systems. Traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic parking are just a few. Ford’s automatic city braking is part of a £900 optional safety package that includes most of the above mentioned systems.
No less than seven airbags protect your precious cargo and the stability and traction control programs can adjust engine power and braking force to each wheel to help the driver maintain control during extreme manoeuvres.
The new Galaxy isn’t as cheap as MPVs used to be, but it comes with a lot of standard kit. The EcoBoost petrol engines are better initial value, but if you cover lots of miles, the diesel engines prove to be cheaper in the long run.
There are three trim levels to choose from – Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X. The basic Zetec comes with almost everything a family needs – a big touchscreen infotainment system, climate-control and bluetooth phone connectivity among other things.
Titanium and Titanium X trim add luxurious features such as leather seats, LED headlights, keyless entry, electrically operated boot and a panoramic roof. However, if you don’t have the money for the more expensive trims, the Zetec has sufficient kit for most family needs.
The Ford Galaxy is a very practical MPV with space for seven adults that has improved interior quality and a more generous standard equipment than the outgoing model. It is no S-Max to drive, but it is a very confident cruiser and the fuel efficient diesels make it cheap to run. It is probably not your dream car, but it does everything you want from a large seven-seater and also looks smart, too.