Ford Galaxy Ecoboost

People-carrier that sacrifices oomph for economy

The people-carrier of choice for Britain’s minicab drivers and space-savvy families across the land has had a revamp with a new, greener engine. The huge Galaxy is already a big seller for Ford – London’s largest private hire firm alone runs 1,600 of them, and Mondeo Man across the country has matured and opted for a Galaxy for his budget and space-conscious family. But does Ford’s MPV make sense with its new frugal EcoBoost petrol engine? It’s certainly the cheapest option but until now most big MPVs have used torque-heavy diesel engines.

The new 1.6 EcoBoost is certainly economical – on several test runs I got close to its officially reported mpg (not always an easy task). This is thanks to some clever turbo-charging and direct injection, which means Ford can replace a larger engine for one with lower consumption and emissions without, in theory, sacrificing performance. And married to a smooth sixspeed gearbox, the new Galaxy is a capable ride.

When I packed a dog, a few friends and a weekend’s luggage into its roomy rear for a weekend away it had enough pulling power though, reaching speed and overtaking at times took some aggressive downshifting and forward planning. It’s hard to imagine the performance won’t suffer with a full-size family on board. Elsewhere, as you would expect from Ford, a company shifting more than 16,000 cars a month, its build quality is excellent and ride silky smooth, with the minimum of road and tyre noise. My test model was a Titanium X, costing nearly £34k with extras including touch-screen sat-nav, rear parking camera, metallic paint and heated seats. Not cheap even for all that, but Ford points out that most Galaxy buyers tend to splash out on higher-spec models.

Some of the technology, including the satnav, isn’t the easiest to use, which is surprising – Ford normally gets its gear bang on. So perhaps it is worth waiting for next year when Ford’s SYNC system rolls out across its range. The new system will offer wi-fi on the go and allow integration to your smartphone, giving access to apps such as Google Maps and Spotify.

The Galaxy 1.6 EcoBoost is still a budget option and a capable way to move people, but I can’t help thinking the small EcoBoost engine’s natural home is in a smaller car. The Galaxy is probably too much for a small petrol engine to cart around in comfort. If you can stretch to it, go for one of Ford’s excellent diesel engines instead.


Price from £19,375

Engine capacity: 1.6 litre

Top speed: 130 0-62 (seconds): 8.5

Fuel economy (mpg): 49.6

CO2 emissions (g/km): 132

THE COMPETITION: The Seat Alhambra is Seat’s best car to date and worthy of consideration, while the Chevrolet Orlando is a budget option. 

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