2015 Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 180 review
The new Ford Galaxy offers more space than the latest S-Max for not a lot more money. We've driven it in the UK to find out how good it is...
Since the first version was launched twenty years ago, the Ford Galaxy has been ferrying families around and, according to the sales charts, it’s been incredibly popular. In 2014 it outsold both its main rivals, the Seat Alhambra and VW Sharan.
Now there's an all-new version available, which promises even more interior space, and we’ve just driven it for the first time in the UK.
The new car features a chrome-slatted front grille and new headlights that closely follow the design of the current Mondeo. Those headlights are LED, and on some models they are adaptive as well, so they can be left on high-beam continuously without blinding other motorists.
Engine options include a 2.0-litre diesel with 118, 148 or 178bhp outputs, plus a 207bhp twin-turbo version. There’s also the choice of 158bhp 1.5-litre or 237bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines.
What’s the 2015 Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 180 like inside?
Climb inside the new Galaxy and it feels spacious. There's plenty of interior space, whether you are travelling in the front, middle or rear.
As a driver you get an elevated driving position with a great all-round view of the world around you; a welcome feature when it comes to parking manoeuvres. However, the size and angle of the windscreen pillar can block off your view through right-hand bends.
The driving position is superb, and all shapes and sizes should be well catered for by numerous seat and steering wheel adjustments. The front seats are comfortable, but they could benefit from more side support to hold you more firmly in corners.
The dashboard is functional and there are surprisingly few buttons. Many of the functions are taken care of by Ford’s latest Sync 2 infotainment system and voice commands. The system isn't perfect, but it’s a pretty good hub navigated by a decent 8.0in high-definition touchscreen.
Although the models we drove were pre-production versions, the upgrade in quality over the old car is noticeable. The majority of surfaces are in soft-touch plastics with gloss black and chrome highlights.
There's good storage in the form of deep door pockets, a good-sized glovebox, various cubbyholes and cup holders, plus a large area under the central armrest.
The middle row of seats has room for three six-foot adults in chairs that individually slide forwards and backwards, and also recline. That space is all the better for a low central tunnel and lots of foot space under the front seats. Pull a lever on the top of the outer seats and they tilt and slide forwards to allow easy access to the third-row seats.
Like the Alhambra and the Sharan, these will also fit full-size adults. There’s enough glass area back there to prevent claustrophobia and each passenger gets a cubby box and their own cup holder.
The boot is huge. According to Ford's figures, with the third-row seats up the boot space is 300 litres. Convert it to a five-seater and the boot transforms to a vast 1301 litres, or a van-like 2339 litres with only the front seats in place.
The Galaxy is well equipped, too, with entry-level Zetec models offering front and rear parking sensors, Ford Emergency Assist and 17in alloys. Mid-trim Titanium models add privacy glass, sat-nav, the adaptive LED lights and lane assist, while top-line Titanium X trim includes heated electric leather seats, a panoramic roof and semi-automatic parking.
What’s the 2015 Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi 180 like to drive?
We expect the 148bhp diesel engine to be the popular choice as it represents a good blend of performance and efficiency for a reasonable price. It offers better fuel consumption and emissions but similar performance to the equivalent diesels in the Sharan and Alhambra. However, for our drive Ford had only the more expensive 178bhp diesels available.
This is a good engine and actually offers the same CO2 emissions and fuel consumption as the 148bhp engine, but with a bit more punch. It’s got plenty of low-down shove from 1500rpm, and it’ll continue pulling all the way to 4000rpm. It’s smooth and quiet within this rev range, too.
With the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the change action is precise and slick. If you opt for the six-speed auto gearbox it flits between gears serenely and reacts quickly when you kick it down.
Our car had 18in wheels and the ride was still as smooth, if not better than either of its rivals, softening off all but the harshest of bumps with ease. In fact, rather than feel any harshness from large potholes, you are more disturbed by the noise as the wheels thud over them. You also hear a bit of road and wind noise, although it's not intrusive.
For a tall car, the handling is also superb, 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 afterwards settles down to feel stable and controlled.
The only real issue is the steering. It’s nicely weighted when you’re tracking straight, but as you start to turn the wheel the weight drops away, making it quite tricky to judge your inputs. In this respect, we prefer the more consistent steering on the two VW Group cars.
Should I buy one?
The Seat Alhambra has historically offered better value for money than the Galaxy. So, with a new Alhambra arriving shortly, the obvious answer would be not until you’ve tried that as well.
There's also a question mark over the old model's reliability, raised in the latest What Car? ownership satisfaction survey, which we hope Ford will have addressed with this new model.
Other than that, this is an extremely practical and capable car that manages to be as fun to drive as you could expect an MPV to be. If you rarely need to carry seven adults and can make do with less space, the Ford S-Max offers nearly as much for around £2300 less, but if you regularly need space for seven adults the Galaxy is the one to go for.