Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- This is a genuine seven seat car which offers an enjoyable drive
- Spacious comfortable interior
- Feels like a much smaller car when driving
- The petrol engines are thirsty
- The rear seats are heavy to lift in and out
The Ford Galaxy was designed alongside the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra and as such, the three vehicles are almost identical to look at. However, the interiors have all been crafted separately and the Ford Galaxy is well constructed and spacious. It also handles better than its two rivals feeling much more like a small family hatchback. The diesel engines are all good achieving over 40mpg and are fairly quick as well. The petrol engines aren't as good but if you really want a petrol then the 2.3-litre is by far the best engine.
Exterior and Interior
The Galaxy is virtually identically on the outside to the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra as they were all developed together. The interior is very spacious with all occupants having plenty of head and legroom, even the back row passengers. The seats are all comfortable coming as separate chairs rather than benches which provides more comfortable than a bench seat and also makes them easier to remove. The third row of seats in the six and seven seater options is a bit of a mission to get to especially in the seven-seater as you have to fold down the middle seat in the second row to get to them. With seven seats in the boot is tiny with only enough room for a couple of day packs. However with them out the boot is a much more substantial size that will easily hold five peoples luggage and with the added option of removing all the seats you can turn the inside into a huge space big enough to transport almost anything. As all the seats are removable you can rejigg them around to suit your specific needs.
The dash and central console are well laid out and easy to access. To get improved trim levels you should go for cars after the 2000 facelift as they come with more kit as standard and the Galaxy did undergo a few styling alterations. The trim levels start with the entry level LX which comes with air-con, ABS, driver and passenger airbags, power steering, 15 inch wheels, immobilizer and central locking. The higher trim levels add 16 inch alloys, reading lights, swiveling front seats, cruise control, parking distance sensors, CD auto-changer, leather trim and sat-nav.
Performance and Economy
The entry level 2.0-litre engine was underpowered for this size of car, a fact that was more keenly felt when it was fully loaded with passengers and luggage. The 2.3-litre was a better engine being a good all-rounder going from 0-60mph in just over 10 seconds and achieved the same 28mpg as the smaller 2.0-litre engine. The 2.8-litre V6 is impressively powerful, especially the 2000 facelifted model as it improved the efficiency from 23mpg to 26mpg, closing the gap on the 2.3-litre and is slightly faster than the older model going from 0-60mph in 9.6, but isn't that much faster than the 2.3-litre.
The diesel engines are the better options to go for as they provide the excellent low down pulling power that is needed in large people carriers. The entry level 90bhp unit is best left alone as it is shockingly slow and actually has the poorest fuel efficiency of all the diesel engines at 41mpg. The 110bhp is better at 43mpg and is two seconds faster managing 0-60mph in 13.7 seconds. The 115bhp unit introduced in 2000 records the same time, but has reduced fuel efficiency whilst the 130bhp model goes back to achieving 43mpg and is over a second faster at 12.4 seconds. The top of the range 150bhp isn't a bad engine either recoding 11.5 seconds in a sprint from 0-60mph and is only slightly down on the 130 unit on fuel efficiency achieving 42mpg. The insurance costs range between groups 11 to 14 for most of the engines and goes up to group 16 for the V6 engine.
Like to Drive
The Galaxy is a much better vehicle to drive than the Sharan and Alhambra that it was developed along side feeling more like a family hatchback than a big unwieldy people carrier. The handling is impressive with its taught steering and precise gear changes allowing it to navigate through narrow streets and spaces easily. The ride is also surprisingly smooth especially when fully loaded, but does feel bumpier when it's only the driver in it. Very little wind and road noise enters the cabin and even when pushing the engines you will be pleasantly surprised how well it keeps the engine noise out. The driving position is excellent with you being able to adjust everything to find the perfect driving position and it gives good clear views of the road ahead and all around.
Faults and Repairs
There are several weak spots on the Galaxy with the air-con and suspension causing the majority of problems. The electrics can also prove to be temperamental so be sure to check everything on the test drive, especially the air-con as repairs can go up into a four figure region. Other than that there are no other problems with the engines and gearboxes being tough and reliable and the trim solidly constructed. Servicing is no more costly than their rivals, but costs can be saved by using a reliable independent garage as they can charge up to 40% less than a Ford dealer. Repairs should also fall into the same bracket as their rivals such as the Seat Alhambra, but it is more costly than the Citroen Synergie.