Ford Galaxy face-lift: driven
* Practical and great to drive * Big premium over S-Max, though * On sale in April, from £26,000 (est)...
What is it?
The Galaxy is the larger and more comfort-biased of Ford's two big MPVs. This face-lifted version like the updated S-Max has new engines, more high-tech options and a range of cosmetic tweaks.
The Galaxy's face-lift isn't as far-reaching as the S-Max's, but there's a new bonnet, grille and bumper at the front and LED lights at the rear. There are new roof rail and alloy wheel designs, too, while high-spec models get extra chrome trim to enhance the Galaxy's luxury image.
What's it like to drive?
Very good indeed. A taller body and slightly softer suspension mean it's not quite as agile as the S-Max, but the Galaxy is almost as enjoyable, with a supple ride and sharp handling and steering. The makeover includes extra soundproofing for improved refinement and the Galaxy is a great cruiser, even if the bulky shape does create some wind noise.
The car we drove had the most powerful version of the three new 2.0 TDCi diesel engines available. With 161bhp it has enough pull to haul you, the family and your luggage along at a decent lick and it's smooth and quiet, too. From launch, 113- and 138bhp versions of this engine will also be available, while the petrol options will be a 143bhp 2.0 and Ford's brilliant new Ecoboost 2.0-litre SCTi engine. This 200bhp turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engine comes with a 'Powershift' twin-clutch transmission as standard and is impressively strong and quiet.
Is it practical?
Few cars come close to matching the Galaxy for space and versatility. Although it shares its fundamentals with the S-Max, the taller body gives more headroom and the rear-most pair of seats is mounted higher for better comfort and legroom. Unlike the S-Max, two adults can travel in the back in decent comfort. Fold them down flat and you're left with a vast boot and lots of space for five. Large doors, three full-size middle row seats and a flat floor make it great for families and everything feels built to last.
How much will it cost?
Despite being closely related to the S-Max, the Galaxy costs a lot more. Prices haven't been announced yet, but there's currently a premium of around £3000 and that's unlikely to change. That means you can expect to pay at least £26,000, but all cars come well equipped.
What Car says:
A superb if expensive MPV