Of the four diesels available, the 2.0-litre 148bhp engine is the most popular choice because it represents a good blend of performance and efficiency for a reasonable price. It returns lower fuel consumption and emissions than the equivalent diesels in the Seat Alhambra and Volkswagen Sharan, while acheiving similar performance.
The 187bhp version of this engine actually offers the same CO2 emissions and fuel consumption as the 148bhp version, but with a bit more punch. It’s got plenty of low-down shove from 1500rpm and will continue pulling all the way to 4000rpm.
There is also a 118bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine, but it feels a bit weak in the bulky Galaxy. Since it makes no improvement on the 148bhp and 187bhp versions for economy and emissions, we’d avoid it. The top-powered 237bhp unit is, typically, much more expensive to run with higher CO2 and worse fuel economy figures – it's also only available in the top spec Titanium X trim, so naturally gets a higher price tag.
The 163bhp petrol option lacks the shove of the diesel variants, and, although the on-the-road price is the cheapest in the range, running costs will be considerably more, so it's best to stick with the diesels.
The standard six-speed manual gearbox is precise and slick, and the optional six-speed automatic gearbox flits between gears serenely and reacts quickly when you kick down for more acceleration.
Ride quality is smooth; with the Galaxy's suspension takes the edge off all but the harshest of bumps. In fact, rather than feeling any harshness from large potholes, there's more disturbance from the noise made by the wheels as they thud through them. You'll also hear a bit of road and wind noise in the cabin, although it’s not intrusive.
The handling is also excellent for such a tall car, making it one of the most agile seven-seat MPVs you can buy. The body leans a bit as you turn in to a corner but settles down to feel stable and controlled.
The only real issue is the steering. It has enough weight when you’re tracking straight, but its satisfying initial heft drops away as you start to turn the wheel, and it can be tricky to judge steering inputs.