What is it?
Ford’s big MPV fitted with the new-generation petrol 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine.
The Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max were the first vehicles in Ford of Europe’s range to be fitted with the larger 2.0-litre Ecoboost unit and the seven-seater offers the toughest test of the abilities of this smaller engine.
The 1.6 Ecoboost is available in Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X trim, with prices starting at £24,645 for the Zetec example. Ford ceased production of the £23,845 2.0-litre, 143bhp petrol Galaxy in September 2010, so the 1.6 Ecoboost Zetec is the cheapest in the range.
Our test car was the Titanium X trim that starts at £29,045. Optional extras fitted to our car – such as touch-screen sat-nav, reversing camera, metallic paint, front variable climate control, a retractable tow bar and uprated seats – pushed the price up to £33,195.
That sounds like a hefty price tag, although Ford’s research indicates that Galaxy customers traditionally opt for high-specced models.
What’s it like?
Married to a slick six-speed manual gearbox, the Galaxy 1.6 Ecoboost is a capable, quiet and relatively efficient MPV.
If the Galaxy is to be used as Ford intended – as an efficient transporter of sprawling families and swallower of luggage – then wisdom suggests a smaller-capacity petrol unit isn’t best suited to the task.
But with 158bhp and 177lb ft, the petrol unit isn’t short of power and torque, however, if you’re likely to make regular use of all seven seats or the maximum luggage capacity of 2325mm (in two-seat mode – one of 32 possible seating configurations), there will be occasions when you are left yearning for the extra low-end punch that most of the diesels in the range possess.
The Ford Galaxy has fairly precise handling for a vehicle of its size – 4820mm long and 2154mm wide – and stability is impressive for a vehicle with such proportions. Not that B-road blitzes will be high on the agenda of many Galaxy drivers, but even on a family trip to the inlaws/seaside/shopping arcade (delete as applicable) it is nice to be behind the wheel of a large vehicle that feels relatively involving to drive.
The driving position and cockpit ergonomics are hard to fault. The driver has an upright seating position that allows clear all-round visibility. Ford resculpted the centre console during the most recent Galaxy redesign to incorporate an integrated armrest and even more storage space than most families could find use for.
Should I buy one?
Although the 1.6 Ecoboost is an impressive engine in isolation, it’s difficult to build a completely compelling case for this Galaxy over its diesel brethren. Most of the oil-burning variants offer considerably better economy against the claimed 39.2mpg of the 1.6 Ecoboost, which features stop-start technology.
On the 1.6 Ecoboost’s side is price: the Zetec version starts at £24,645 and the equivalent entry-level diesel is £25,445. It’s worth downloading the ‘petrol versus diesel’ calculator at our sister website, whatcar.com, to assess whether you’d save on a diesel in the long run.