Ford Galaxy 2.0TDCi facelift review

We review the facelifted Ford Galaxy to see if it's as good as its domination of the private hire market suggests.

"The S-MAX is sporty spice, but the Galaxy has been made into posh"

What is it?The current Ford Galaxy outsells its nearest rival, the VW Sharan, by 5:1. And that’s because its combination of usable space, reliability and economy makes it the perfect private hire car. But instead of resting on its laurels, Ford has facelifted the Galaxy to make it better than ever.

What’s it like on the outside?While its sister car, the S-MAX, is the dynamic, sportilicious one, the Galaxy has always been the understated, sensible seven-seater in Ford’s range. So while the S-MAX remains sporty spice, the Galaxy is supposed to appear more premium this time around.

But to be honest, unless you’re one of the very few members of the MPV-spotters club, you probably won’t notice that the new Galaxy gets a more sculpted, premium bonnet; a bolder, more premium trapezoidal grille and lots more chrome to make the appearance generally more premium. Did I mention the LED taillights? Well there are some premium examples of those too.

It’s safe to say that Ford hasn’t done much with the styling, but the tweaks are enough to keep the Galaxy looking fresh. And why mess with a good thing if you’re outselling your rivals by so much anyway?

What’s it like on the inside?Ford has taken the difficult and slightly controversial step of ditching the long-standing Ghia nameplate for its posh models. So now your top-spec Galaxy is a more generic Titanium, leaving just the Mondeo left carrying the name of the famous Italian styling house until it gets its facelift later this year.

But while the Ghia name has gone, the posh end of the Galaxy range is where the majority of the facelift changes have occurred. Titanium models get the option of bespoke Windsor trim or some really comfy Alcantara and leather seats like in my test car. Also worth having off the options list is the new premium stereo which sounds really clear, bassy and is perfect for drowning out passengers that you don’t want to speak to.

The inside of the Galaxy is otherwise unchanged, and for very good reason too. The configurations of seats make loads of sense, and are easy to flip and fold. The boot is massive and the huge expanses of glass make it like, airy and not at all claustrophobic, even when you’re travelling in the very back.

What’s it like to drive?The Galaxy’s ace card is its practicality, so it comes as a bit of a surprise the first time you find a decent twisty road and it proves to be hilarious to drive. The chassis is superb, providing loads of grip, and a ride that’s super smooth. The steering is positive, the brakes are powerful and the gearbox makes light work of snicking between ratios. Ford’s TDCi engine is willing and torquey too, and it has to be good as 97% of Galaxy’s are sold as oil burners.

VerdictThe Galaxy deserves its place at the top of the large MPV tree. But while it is excellent at doing the traditional seven-seat thing, there are new rivals from different sectors appearing all the time to steal its thunder. However, the Galaxy’s captive private hire market means it’ll keep selling well, and those who do get behind the wheel will be surprised by just how good it is to drive. We’re not sure how much it’ll cost though. Ford has raised its prices five times in the last 14 months, so buying the best might not be cheap.

Car Specs - Ford Galaxy 2.0TDCi Titanium

Engine:2.0-litre diesel, 163hp
0-62mph:9.5 seconds
Top speed:127mph
Economy/emissions:49.6mpg/152g/km CO2
Price/On sale £30,000 (est)/April

We rate:Excellent chassisbr />Superbly practical

We slate:What will it cost?More innovative rivals

Rating: Image removed.

By Tom Phillips

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