Editor of wheelworldreviews, DAVID HOOPER says Ford has hit the mark again with its impressive Galaxy.
CARS which are good to drive and capable of carrying up to seven people, are few and far between.
Ford is one manufacturer which seems to have got the knack of producing such vehicles. The S-Max I tested a few weeks ago was excellent, and this week’s vehicle, the larger Galaxy, was also most impressive.
While it may look like something the CIA would drive on a secret mission, with its black paintwork and blacked out windows it is a classy, comfortable and practical vehicle which is perfect for the family on the move – and if it’s just moving things you’re into, it’s perfect for that too.
Fold all the rear seats down, and you can easily fit a mountain bike or two, a wardrobe – and maybe even the kitchen sink – in the back, thanks to its large, flat load area
Unlike earlier generations of this type of vehicle, no longer do you have to risk spraining your spring lifting the heavy individual seats in and out of the car when you need to use it as a van – they all fold flat, quickly and easily, into the floor.
The middle row fold foward and slide with the first lift of the leaver on the seat base. A second lift sees it collapse completely. In the third row you find a variation on the theme, with the seat base flipping over and laying flat, before the seat back then folds down.
The cleverly designed and versatile seats are only part of the story though. The interior has a classy look to it, and every bit of space has been put to good use. There are large door pockets to hold all manner of games and books and if your child is anything like mine and loses things in an instant, then the Galaxy offers all sorts of places for things to disappear into.
The centre of the roof is lined with drop-down storage compartments of different shapes and sizes which are ideal for storing books or computer games in.
Up front, mum and dad are well catered for too, especially if they order the optional sat nav and Bluetooth phone system which also controls most of the car’s other functions. Intuitive to use, the clear display relays all sorts of information on everything from where you are going, to the temperature in the car, and full marks to Ford for providing separately adjustable ventilation for the back seats.
The trip computer’s menus on the dashboard in front of the driver take a little longer to get used to but aren’t too bad once you’ve worked them out.
There is a good choice of petrol and diesel engines to pick from in the Galaxy range, and the 2.0-litre petrol in the model I’ve been testing was no slouch. With a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds, and a potential top speed of 135mph, it’s quick enough to keep most people happy. This sort of car isn’t really about 0-60 times though. I was impressed with its refinement – it cruises comfortably and quietly and makes the bumps in the road virtually disappear, with very little disturbance being noticed in the cabin, even on the roughest of surfaces.
The Powershift transmission is also excellent, and if you spend a lot of time on the school runs, crawling through the rush-hour traffic queues, then it’s definitely worth considering when you are deciding which model to buy.
The gear changes are as smooth as they come, almost imperceptible in fact, and of course there is the option of changing the gears manually if you want to.
Recently revised and updated, the Galaxy is a superb family car, and thanks to its large windows, even the smallest family members can enjoy the view.
If you’re looking for a good all-rounder, then the latest Ford Galaxy range surely has to be it.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Titanium.
FORD GALAXY RANGE: From Zetec 2.0 5dr (£22,945) to Titanium X Sport 2.0 TDCi (163ps) 5dr (£29,545).
ENGINE: 1999cc, 203PS four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed Powershift gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 189g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 135mph. 0-62mph in 8.5 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 25.7mpg. Country: 44.1mpg. Combined: 34.9mpg.
Fuel tank: 70 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 24.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publishing.