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First drive: Ford Galaxy – on sale June 3

Ford

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Review

The new Galaxy marks a huge step forward for Ford’s MPV. The outgoing model has been the UK’s best selling large people carrier for 10 years, but its design, shared by the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra, is well past its best.

Ford has gone it alone in developing its replacement, which is expected to achieve 10,000 sales annually.

Its seven-seater configuration is one of few similarities to the old model. Thanks to an increase in overall size and an innovative folding seat system, plus more car-like driving dynamics, Galaxy is now a far more pleasant vehicle to use.

It is easier to access thanks to a lower ride height and has boot space increased by almost a third, allowing for two large suitcases. The new FoldFlatSystem, shared by its S-Max sibling, allows each rear seat to be folded individually, consigning old Galaxy’s problem of removing and storing seats to history.

Another innovation is Ford’s Human Machine Interface (HMI). This uses simple steering wheel-mounted toggles and clear menus to view on-board computer data and access systems such as air-con and in-car entertainment.

Galaxy will be available from June 3 in three trim variants: LX, Zetec and Ghia. Top-spec Ghia models accounted for 45% of outgoing Galaxy registrations and Ford executives want this to continue. It is loaded with kit that will attract commuting executives, such as cruise control, and automatic lighting and wipers. The Ghia X-Pack adds leather interior and a panorama roof.

Zetec trim provides the value for money balance, while LX will appeal to families trading up to more seats.

Ford has given Galaxy a competitive entry price, at £19,495 for LX trim with either a 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol or 99bhp 1.8-litre turbodiesel and five-speed manual transmission. Bigger budgets will get two more turbodiesels to choose from; a 123bhp 1.8-litre with five- or six-speed transmission, and a 138bhp 2.0-litre with a six-speed ’box.

Ford had primed us that MPV users aren’t interested in stylish looks or a decent drive, they simply want maximum space and practicality. But we quickly discovered that Galaxy is a fine vehicle in its own right.

Price: £19,495-23,995
Engines: 1.8-litre TDCI: 99bhp; 1.8-litre TDCI: 123bhp; 2.0-litre petrol: 143bhp; 2.0-litre TDCI: 138bhp
Performance: 0-62mph 14.3-10.2 secs; top speed: 106-120mph
Transmission: Five speed manual, six speed manual
Efficiency: 34.8-45.5mpg, 166-194g/km CO2
Rivals: Ford S-Max, Vauxhall Zafira, Volkswagen Touran
Strengths: Space, comfort, flexibility
Weaknesses: Dearer than S-Max
Opportunity: Style and comfort will ensure wide market appeal
Threat: S-Max sibling does it better
USP: Seven seats and luggage capacity in a decent package

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