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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It has a versatile cabin with up to seven seats

Against The seats are heavy to lift in and out

Verdict One of the best big MPVs to drive

Go for… 1.9 TDCi (110)

Avoid… 2.8 V6

Ford Galaxy MPV
  • 1. The air-con system is a known weak spot on the Galaxy, so give it a thorough work-out during the test drive
  • 2. The rearmost seats aren't easy to get at and they're heavy to lift in and out
  • 3. The engines and gearboxes are robust as long as they are serviced on time. Brakes, too, give little cause for concern
  • 4. The suspension can give trouble - and not just on cars that have been used for hauling heavy loads
  • 5. On early cars, water leaks through the ventilation could affect the electrics
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Ford Galaxy MPV full review with expert trade views

The Galaxy was developed alongside the virtually identical VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra, but it's a better drive than either. In fact, it feels more like a family hatch than a big MPV.

All the engines - most are sourced from VW - do a decent job but the Galaxy really excels for its blend of taut handling and quiet, long-distance refinement.

The ride can feel firm with only the driver on board and at slower speeds. However, it improves with a few people on board and becomes well balanced at speed. All the controls - gearshift, pedals, steering - have a well honed feel, too.

The comfortable driving position gives a good view and there's decent space in all three rows. The rearmost seats aren't the easiest to get at, though, and they're heavy to lift in and out. Luggage space is limited with all seven seats in use.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Buyers are after late models; 1.9 TD 115 Zetec auto the pick as petrols fall

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There was a major face-lift in September 2000, so for a more up-to-date look, stick to cars made after then. And, check carefully how many seats any potential buy has: most Galaxys seat seven, but some only seat five while the plush ones accommodate six.

Whichever model you buy, air-con is essential, However, it wasn't standard across the range until February 1999, so be careful with lower-spec early cars.

Trim levels started off in 1996 as Aspen, GLX and Ghia, before Zetec and LX models came along in early 1999. LX is best - everything you need at a more affordable price.

All engines do a sound job: the 2.8 V6 is swift but drinks petrol; the 2.0 and 2.3 petrols are perfectly adequate, although the pick of the range is the 110-113bhp 1.9 turbodiesel. It dishes out good pulling power yet returns 40mpg. There are also 89bhp, 128bhp and 150bhp 1.9 turbodiesels, but none has such a good balance of qualities.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Above-average reliability, but air-con faults cost lots

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

By and large, it's an economical car for its carrying capacity. There are plenty around and that helps to keep prices realistic, while running costs are reasonable, too.

Servicing bills are broadly similar to those for its relatives, the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra. According to Warranty Direct, you should be able to save 40% off the labour cost by going to a good independent garage rather than a Ford dealer.

Warranty Direct's data also suggests that, if anything does go wrong, it's likely to cost more to fix than, say, a Fiat Ulysse or Citroen Synergie, but about the same as the Sharan or Alhambra.

Insurance spans groups 11 to 14 for all models, apart from the hottest V6s, which are group 16. The V6 will also give mid-20s to the gallon. The 2.0 and 2.3s should be good for mid-30s, which is much more acceptable, and the diesels a very healthy 40-50mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Buyers are after late models; 1.9 TD 115 Zetec auto the pick as petrols fall

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The air-con system is a real weak spot on the Galaxy, particularly on face-lifted cars made from September 2000 onwards. Give it a thorough test, because fixing it could well mean a four-figure bill.

The suspension can also give trouble - and not just on cars that have been used for hauling heavy loads on a frequent basis. So, always insist on a thorough test drive.

Likewise, on early cars, check out the electrics, as water leaks through the ventilation could affect them. However, this was cured on later Galaxys.

Even so, it's worth checking that all the windows open and close properly, that the alarm is fault-free and that the central locking operates reliably. Also check the wipers - a separate problem can make them reluctant to turn off.

Some 2.0-litre cars have had problems with the engine's electronic brain (the ECU), so check it runs smoothly. However, in general, the engines and gearboxes are robust as long as they are serviced on time. The brakes, too, give little cause for concern.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Above-average reliability, but air-con faults cost lots

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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