Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Even the 220d, the smallest, cheapest V-Class engine is up to the job and pulls well from low revs, but if you are regularly filling all those seats we’d suggest you plump for the more powerful 300d.
Its extra shove not only helps it feel relatively brisk, but it’s also quieter – not having to rev it so hard to make progress tempers the engine noise. Both engines come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and this works well, producing slick shifts.
Another area in which the V-Class lags behind its purpose-designed MPV rivals is refinement. Wind and road noise are reasonably well checked, but you get lots of suspension noise over broken surfaces. The diesel engines, which were slightly tweaked during the 2019 update, are pretty quiet unless you work them hard but, overall, the Ford Galaxy is a far more relaxing car to travel in.
The Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo versions have the same suspension and engine set-ups, but all the additional fitments inside bring a hefty chunk of extra weight. This serves to provide a somewhat more settled ride at a motorway cruise, but makes the V-Class feel even more cumbersome along twisting roads. You’ll definitely prefer to gently shuffle from one picturesque campsite to another, rather than hot-foot it between them.