There was a time when huge people carriers like the Ford Galaxy were as unwieldy as a Jeremy Clarkson metaphor. There was nothing sexy, stylish or desirable about them; they were functional, durable and practical – closer to a van than a car.
But as these large MPVs have evolved, and their numbers declined thanks to crossovers that are harder to categorise or smaller MPVs than still fit in seven seats, something rather strange has happened to large seven-seaters.
Restyled for 2010, the Ford Galaxy is proof of the evolution of large MPVs.
The Ford Galaxy is a dynamic-looking large MPV that seats seven plus luggage in comfort. The
Galaxy has gained a front end that evokes the other cars in the Ford family and is miles away from the old image of large people carriers.
What’s particularly impressive is the interior of the new Galaxy, with a cockpit-like driving position, comfortable seats, airy interior and excellent visibility. It’s much more car-like, inside and out.
The dashboard is also strong; featuring a new stereo and smarter layout, while the whole interior feels solid and durable. There are cubby holes and binnacles all over the cabin, which extend storage and make the Galaxy a comfortable place to be while on the road.
There are seven seats in the Galaxy, all of which benefit from good visibility thanks to lots of glazed areas and high seating positions – while on some models rear passengers benefit from sun blinds and picnic tables or even DVD screens on long trips.
This should keep the children entertained on longer journeys, but the large dimensions of the Galaxy means adults will be equally comfortable in the rear two rows.
With all seven seats up there’s still decent storage space, but you can fold the five rear seats down to create 2,325 litres of storage space thanks to the Ford FoldFlat System.
I know what you’re thinking. Sure there’s all of this space, but it drives like a barge. Well, you’re wrong.
In terms of driving, the Galaxy uses a chassis adapted from the smaller Ford Mondeo, which provides an engaging drive, particularly for such a large car.
The steering is crisp and there’s little body roll when cornering. The Galaxy also provides an extremely supple ride for passengers.
Despite the large size, the ride is cosseted and there is very little intrusion into the cabin in terms of noise. Engines are relatively quiet, while wind noise can only be heard at higher speeds.
Diesel powertrains offer very strong economy, with all versions of the TDCI diesel engine returning at least 47mpg on the combined cycle, while emitting under 160g/km of CO2.
This means road tax of around £155 – a low figure for a car of this size. It puts the Galaxy firmly back into the consciousness of people who may have deserted MPVs in recent years because of the bank-busting CO2 emissions levels.
A choice of two petrol Ecoboost engines will provide more performance, and is particularly well-matched to the semi-automatic dual-clutch Powershift transmission.
With this combination, the EcoBoost model can squeeze 34.9mpg out of the 200bhp 2.0-litre engine, while a 1.6-litre EcoBoost alternative is matched to a six-speed manual gearbox and pushes fuel economy up to 39.2mpg.
In terms of safety, the Ford Galaxy is fitted with all the latest features. This means front, second and thirds row, and side curtain airbags as well as Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Traction Assist as standard.
Downsizing is a popular trend at the moment, but there are times when nothing less than a spacious MPV will do. In that case, why not make it an attractive one, with a drive more reminiscent of a smaller model.
All in all the Ford Galaxy offers virtually unrivalled size in the passenger car sector.
That it’s so strong in other areas makes it hard to ignore in the MPV sector, or for anyone seeking a large car in any sector.
See the latest new or used Ford Galaxy deals
Book a Ford Galaxy test drive
Find out more about the Ford Galaxy