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The Top Gear car review: Ford Galaxy
For:Big, dynamic and gorgeously put together
Against:Not worth the extra is costs over the S-Max, despite the extra space
2.0 TDCi 163 Titanium 5dr
Ford’s iconic people-carrier has gone upmarket, but hasn’t relinquished its practical roots. Good
There’s a posh cab company in London with a fleet of Galaxys just like this one. You’ll often see them outside the BBC, just down the road from...
The other battle raging is flat versus stepped floor, and with it, removable versus folding seats. And here, the Galaxy has changed sides.
What we say:
Taller than an S-Max, somehow not as cool, but the Galaxy is a fundamentally fine SUV
What is it?
Ford says the seven-seat Galaxy is the big, luxurious people carrier to the near-identical S-Max’s sportiness. Don’t be too drawn in by the marketing guff though – there’s not that much between them.
Most of the Galaxy’s extra comes by way of its obviously bigger backside. It’s also a bit taller, but not hugely so. It does mean that people with heads can sit in the rearmost two seats, however – and that could make all the difference.
As per the aesthetic similarity between the Galaxy and S-Max, so, too, is the driving experience – which is a good thing. It is set up more on the comfort side, though, and you can’t escape the feeling that it’s a bulkier thing. You might construe that as a negative, but, let’s be honest, these things are called people carriers because that’s what they’re supposed to do, and this is still far, far more capable on a B-road than it has any right to be. Most of the time it’ll be ferrying stuff from one boring locale to another, however, and at that job it excels.
The suspension pours a thick, gloopy dose of smoothness over the road, so it’s comfy for all, and with one of the more powerful diesels it will haul a full load of seven along as though they’re not there – the 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel is the best price/performance compromise, though the 2.2-litre is, if you can aff ord it, like a Viking tug-of-war team on Haribo: swift and torquey, it’s surprising fun here.
On the inside
Other people carriers are bigger, but the majority of families won’t need any more space than the Galaxy provides, although in the unlikely scenario that all seven seats are always in use, the boot is a not-so-grand 308-litres. That’s only 23 more than in the S-Max, too.
There are loads of pockets and bins and nets and things in which to dump stuff, though, so it is a family-friendly cabin. It’s driver friendly as well, fashioned using German-quality plastic but with flair (for an MPV). Plus the seats drop flat easily.
The issue the Galaxy has is that because it’s really not that much bigger than the S-Max, plainer looking and no better in quality, Ford’s enormous premium feels cheeky. A like-for-like Galaxy can cost in excess of £2,000 more than the S-Max. Otherwise, it’s an alluring people carrier in the ownership stakes, if not quite the luxury transport Ford thinks it is. The diesel mpg figures are all Courtney Cox – well, nudging their 50s and very appealing – and they’re quiet units. Ford’s double-clutch Powershift is as smooth as any and will aid resale too.