Geneva Motor Show: Ford Galaxy and Transit

Posted on 21 Jan 2006
Jennings Motor Group Ford Transit

The new Galaxy may not be the most instantly eye-catching of the new cars on

display, but it's a safe bet that it'll have more of an impact on most people's

lives than, say, the Spyker D12 Peking-Paris. Slightly overshadowed by the

sportier S-MAX (no, we're not sure just how different these two cars are,

either), the Galaxy's the plain-clothes people-shifter and no-nonsense family

wagon.

It's less van-like than previous Galaxys, however, clearly taking the Renault

Espace as its role model when it comes to interior layout. Finished in lighter

materials and feeling altogether airier, it has 30percent more luggage space

than its predecessor, has up to 31 storage compartments (we didn't count) and

the option of a full-length glass roof for the full greenhouse effect. The rear

seats fold flat, and in no fewer than 31 different configurations (no, as yet

untested).

Much of this has been made possible by an increase in dimensions: it's 179mm

longer and 60mm wider than before, though the roof is 14mm lower. Seating up to

seven adults plus luggage now - at least small adults, in the rearmost seats -

it is substantially more spacious. New touches include an overhead roof console

box in three different lengths, airbags to protect the driver's knees, the new

interface system as in the S-MAX, with steering wheel-mounted toggle switches

and central display, plus standard air conditioning or climate control. Options

include a DVD system with twin LCD screens in the front seat-back headrests to

keep the kids entertained.

With improved comfort assured, Ford has also overhauled the Galaxy's general

driving characteristics. This is an all-new model developed in-house and built

on the next-generation Mondeo platform, rather than a development of the old

egg-shaped MPV which shared its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Sharan and

Seat Alhambra, and thus should drive more like the new Mondeo than a minibus.

Handling is said to be convincingly car-like, and options include an active

suspension system with continuously controlled damping. Stability control, hill

start assist, tyre pressure monitoring and adaptive cruise control are all also

available, giving the full package of modern driver aids. 

Engines for the line-up are a an entry-level 1.8 TDCI (100 bhp) diesel, the

125bhp 1.8 TDCi, 2.0 TDCi (130bhp, with diesel particulate filter, or 140bhp

with filter optional), or the 2.0-litre 145bhp petrol unit. Further choices may

follow at a later date, though the 220bhp 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbo engine

is reserved for the S-MAX, at least for the moment.

Ford's headline unveiling in Geneva is probably the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet (see

separate story), but there's one other unsung hero on its stand which again,

will sell in far greater numbers than the front-page stars. The Transit van has

been overhauled for 2006, with an all-new engine line-up (six diesels and one

petrol), a coded locking system with rechargeable, waterproof ignition fob,

standard ABS and the option of leather trim, Bluetooth kit, cruise control, sat

nav, and items beyond the expectations of most white van men. It's offered with

front- or rear-wheel drive, dozens of different body sizes and styles, a

heavy-duty front axle, up to three rows of seats and with huge luggage space.

Sales start this summer, and Ford expects to build at least 240,000 a year.

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