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The Top Gear car review:Ford Galaxy
For:Very spacious, comfortable, decent to drive, good-quality interior
Against:S-Max is nearly as useful but better and cheaper
2.0 TDCi 180 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:
The Ford MPV to have if absolute space is all. if it’s not, then eyes left...
What is it?
The all-new version of the S-Max’s older, more mature cousin – which, like the S-Max, now sits on the same platform as, and shares its engines and drivetrains with, the new Mondeo. Its more upright body (particularly at the rear – think square rather than curving rooflines) allows for more headroom and a boot which, with all bar the two front seats folded flat, is over 300 litres more capacious than an S-Max’s.
Truth be told, there’s isn’t much between the two, but if a third-row sufficiently spacious enough to hold adults for more than a few minutes is a factor, of the two, the Galaxy may be the one to go for.
Calm and measured, like the S-Max only with a bit of the faux ‘sportiness’ dialed out. Feels big – because it is – but doesn’t heave about the place like you might expect. It’s no sports saloon, but the Galaxy does a decent job of managing its substantial heft. Just don’t expect too much from it – it’s at its best when it isn’t being hustled.
Engines? You do have a choice of a couple of EcoBoost petrols, but you shouldn’t. One of the 2.0-litre diesels is a better bet – our favourite is the middle-of-the-range 178bhp version, which you can have with a six-speed manual or a smooth auto’ (which suits the Galaxy rather well). Those in need of increased traction can even have all-wheel drive. We haven’t tried a Galaxy with AWD yet, but given it’s front-wheel drive 90 per cent of the time – with power metered out when things get slippy – we doubt you’ll notice the difference.
On the inside
Commodious, of fairly high quality and stuffed with tech’ (like the Intelligent Speed Limiter, which reads road signs and limits your speed accordingly). There are soft-touch, solid-feeling plastics aplenty, and all the controls have a distinctly Germanic action to them. Seats in the spacious second-row slide about and recline individually, while the two behind them flip up and down at the touch of button: there’s more family-focused space than the S-Max there, too. There are loads of cubbies and flip-down tables on the front seat backs, of course, but it’s a shame the Galaxy’s lost those airline-style overhead storage bins. Eminently practical, nonetheless.
Save for the 2.0-litre EcoBoost borrowed from the Focus ST (but detuned to 237bhp), the Galaxy’s engines are broadly economical. The only engines which drop below a claimed 50mpg are the two petrols and – if you mate it with AWD and the auto ‘box – the 178bhp 2.0-litre TDCi (we can’t imagine this is a spec more than just a handful will choose). So to run, it won’t be any more expensive than the S-Max. It most certainly is to buy, though. Like for like, a Galaxy is around £2,000 more. Unless you desperately need the extra space and practicality, we’d save the cash and go for the better of the two.