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Ford Galaxy 1.8TDCi 125 Zetec road test report

1.8TDCi 125 Zetec

Ford’s practical, functional and successful Galaxy MPV was first launched in 1995. Eleven years on saw the release of a re-engineered, second-generation Galaxy with fresh exterior styling and an all-new interior, and few other models can offer quite such a bewildering combination of engines, power outputs, transmissions and spec levels.

Road Test Reports Says4 star rating
A front-facing image of the Ford Galaxy

Image number 2 of the Ford GalaxyImage number 3 of the Ford GalaxyImage number 4 of the Ford Galaxy

Performance Performance - 3 stars

On paper this 1,753cc, 118bhp, 5-speed manual, 125 horsepower, turbodiesel version will do 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds with a max of 114mph. I can’t verify the precise accuracy of those very plausible figures, but I can report that on a 2,170 mile return trip abroad, the laden Galaxy cruised for hours at a relaxed 3,000rpm in top gear, which equates to a steady 100mph. So, all’s well then, except for a tricky clutch action coupled with a diesel engine that wants to stall when pulling away at anything below 1,500rpm. This power void requires a certain throttle/clutch technique, even when pulling away from a standstill on the level.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

In the 2,000+ miles covered while on test, pretty much every kind of road and driving situation was encountered, from fast, continental motorways to twisting mountain roads. With five aboard plus luggage you can’t expect an MPV to handle like a sports car, (if that’s what you want then Ford’s sportier S-MAX MPV is worth considering) but the Galaxy steers, handles and stops at least as well as you’d expect, and provides a comfortable ride. (An active suspension system with Sport, Normal and Comfort modes is available as an option. With this suspension automatically adjusts itself according to conditions.)

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 3 stars

Compared with other cars of this class and price the Galaxy fares well. The interior and dash is modern and cleanly designed, although the brushed metal effect interior finish may not withstand prolonged wear and tear. It’s hard to pass conclusive judgement on a car which you’ve only had for a couple of weeks and on which nothing broke, but if you spend a lot of time stop-starting in hilly terrain then I suspect the clutch could tire before anything else does.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

Looking at this model’s equipment list, pretty much everything associated with safety and security comes as standard: ESP, central locking, alarm, seatbelt pre-tensioners, immobiliser, active head restraints, Isofix child seat mountings – they’re all included. Airbags are in abundance too, with front, side and curtain airbags all standard-fit, as is a driver's knee-protector airbag. Coupled with the Galaxy’s new body structure and advanced crumple zones this all adds up to a full 5-star EuroNCAP occupant safety rating. And then there’s the options list…

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

The latest Galaxy still has seven seats in a 2-3-2 arrangement, but the second and third rows now stay in situ when folded flat. This means that you don’t have to lug and store heavy seats elsewhere, and that three kids prone to bickering on a long trip can all be seated apart. But with luggage for five also on board, I opted for a more conventional 2-3-0 configuration and hoped that the three-abreast squabbling didn’t get too out of hand. Everyone soon noted that seat comfort was good, and with a capacious rear loadspace (from 308 to 2,325 litres) and luggage loaded towards the rear, the three middle-row seats can still recline thus helping occupants to nap.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

Despite being driven with five aboard plus luggage in cities, in mountains and at prolonged high speed, over the entire test the 1.8TDCi returned a very respectable 39.7mpg according to its own trip computer. This compares with the official (and less realistic) combined figure of 45.6mpg. This model’s whole life costs work out at about 34p per mile, which again is perfectly reasonable for a capacious 7-seater. All in all, this Galaxy is a sound bet, and better looking than most MPVs.

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