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Ford Galaxy 1.9 TDi review (2000-2006)
Engine: 1.9-in-line 4-cyl
Fuel type: Diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Date of test: June 2002
What is it?
The Galaxy is the UK’s biggest selling full-sized MPV. Smaller ‘compact’ MPVs like Vauxhall’s Zafira and the Citroen Picasso offer some of the versatility of Ford’s family van but cannot provide the as much space. It shares its roots, and production facility, with the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra, but it outsells both by a huge margin in the UK.It’s a good looking machine too, Ford improving its looks dramatically with a mid-life restyle - distancing it from its VW and Seat rivals with the family face that’s common across the Ford model range.
Read more Ford car reviews
Where does it fit?
The Galaxy is ideal whether used as a business or family vehicle. Competing in a class that was invented (in Europe at least) by Renault’s Espace, the current Galaxy is Ford’s first MPV. With seven seats and a versatile interior it brings nothing new to the MPV party. Competing not only with other MPVs the Galaxy also faces competition from 4x4s, which often provide a similar number of seats – though lack true MPV versatility.
Is it for you?
The 1.9-litre turbodiesel lacks the outright power of the 2.3-litre and 2.8-litre petrol choices – but more than makes up for it with its mid range pulling power. It’s frugal too. An utterly useful vehicle it’s great for the family and is classy enough for business use. As such it’s a favourite as an airport or hotel taxi or for the company car driver with a big family. Remove the seats and you’ve got van-like space; with them all in place there’s space for seven passengers – but not much luggage.
What does it do well?
Carry things. Be it people or whatever, the Galaxy is a supremely able and practical proposition. It feels classy inside and looks it outside. Given its size and weight, 44mpg from that punchy diesel is impressive too. The diesel is easily the pick of the engines, and is available in either 90 or 115bhp outputs – the 90bhp version is capable, but the 115bhp makes it that bit more relaxed when it’s fully loaded. It may be larger than conventional family cars but it doesn’t feel it on the road, being an easy, and even quite enjoyable, drive.
What doesn’t it do well?
Carry much luggage. Like the majority of its competition the Galaxy is only useful up to a point. Fill all those seven seats and you can carry the people, but there’s no room for anything else. Remove the two rearmost seats – quite a task as they’re rather heavy – and the boot’s huge – though you’ve only seating for five. However, unlike some newer, smaller, rivals you need to leave the seats at home should you need the luggage space, ultimately limiting its usability.
What’s it like to live with?
Ford dealers are everywhere and there have been no reports of any major problems with the Galaxy in any of its engine variants. Some drivers might be put off by the size but they shouldn’t be – it’s one of the most car-like of its type to drive out there. With the 1.9 turbodiesel engine you get decent performance combined with good economy for a car this size – that neat design cleaving through the air efficiently.
Would we buy it?
If we needed a full-sized MPV we’d undoubtedly take a test drive in the Ford Galaxy. It’s a big seller on merit – not just as a result of the familiarity of the Ford badge. However, we’d be tempted to look at the VW and Seat alternatives, which are essentially the same vehicle with a slightly different look and badge. The Seat is cheaper, while the VW has that increasingly prestigious VW badge on the bonnet. Both rivals will also be worth more when you come to sell them on, though of the three it’s arguably the Ford that looks the best. There are also a number of good alternatives offered by manufacturers like Toyota, Mitsubishi and the like – some at lower prices.
Read more Ford car reviews
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