Used Ford Galaxy
The Galaxy originated as a joint project between Ford and VW, manufactured in Portugal and with components from both companies leading to an end product of three different vehicles; the Ford Galaxy, VW Sharan and the Seat Alhambra. Launched in 1995, the Galaxy and its stablemates were part of a growing new class of vehicle, the MPV. Previously, those needing a seven seater or something a bit more than a family estate were stuck with unwieldy, van based vehicles, whereas this new breed were engineered to feel and handle like large family estates but with the capacity to comfortably seat seven passengers plus luggage.
Engines offered at launch included two petrol units, a 2.0 litre from the Mondeo and a 2.8 litre V6 from the VW Golf, plus two more VW diesels, 90bhp and 110bhp TDIs. Ford soon added a 2.3 litre petrol from its Scorpio to the line up. 1997 and 1999 saw minor revisions including the original trim levels of Aspen, Ghia and GLX become LX, Zetec and Ghia. In 2000 the second generation Ford Galaxy for sale drew away from VW, taking design cues from the Mondeo as well as improved engines and ride refinements.
The used Ford Galaxy's next major update was in 2006, completely jettisoning any remaining links with VW and altered to reflect the position in the Ford line up of its new S-MAX vehicle. With the S-MAX designed to cater to the sportier MPV crowd, the approved used Ford Galaxy became larger and included features such as Home Safe Lighting, Quickclear heated windscreen, a cooled glove box and a 'Foldflat' system allowing the second- and third-row seats to fold flat into the floor.
Bang for your buck
The Ford Galaxy can comfortably seat either five or seven passengers, depending which model you choose – some of the entry level models missed out on the two rear seats, so check for this if you're looking to buy.
There are a number of seat configurations, all with the option of unclipping and removing. Flexibility is the watchword here. Higher spec models also allow front seats that can swivel round and face the rear. Some of the early basic models did not have air conditioning, a quite important feature with this much glass surround and helpful with residual values.
You may find a few early 4x4 V6 models and a short-lived V6 Ultima, with wood trim and leather seats, apart from which you can expect specifications to follow the pattern of other Fords with the same badge, with the LX the entry level, the Zetec sportier and the Ghia more luxurious, plus the later Titanium as an uprated Ghia.
What you'll pay
Early, basic cars are available at just over £1,000, with higher spec models a few hundred more. 2.3 litre versions start at about £2,000 for a P-reg GLX, with higher trim levels about £300 more sequentially. S-reg LX and Zetecs are closer to £3,000.
The turbo diesels are more desirable but harder to find. A90bhp Aspen will command about £2,000, with the GLX a few hundred more. There are six seater Ghias for about £1,800, while the seven seaters are substantially more at £2,900. R-reg 110bhp diesel turbos are in the region of £3,500.
What to check
There have been various, fairly minor fault reports such as dodgy trim and unwarranted transmission noise. The 2.0 in particular has suffered from a clanking camshaft and make sure the drivebelt replacement schedule has been followed. The used Ford Galaxy is a big car so check also for parking damage.
£110 will get you a clutch assembly kit, £800 a full exhaust system including catalytic converter and around £320 an exchange alternator. Front brake pad sets retail at £50 and a replacement headlamp will cost you a little over £100. Front shock absorbers are about £45 and rears a little less.
How it drives
Ford like to call the Galaxy the car of the future: a vehicle with the capacity of a van in the same space, at the same price level and driving experience as a normal family estate. In fact you could say it's better, with the higher driver position and airy cabin giving a great vantage point on the road.
In effect, it handles like a Mondeo or any other large family car. Where you might expect roll or wallowing around corners, the Ford Galaxy holds its ground. It's also no more difficult to park or expensive to run than an estate. An excellent second hand buy.