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The Grove S-MAX and Galaxy extended test drive

(26 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jun-10 18:32:20

Following the brilliant day eight Mumsnetters and their families had with Ford at the Grove in Hertfordshire on 8 May, where they test drove the new S-MAX and Galaxy cars, two lucky Mumsnetters were picked to have an extended test drive over three weeks.

They will also be making a video diary which will be uploaded to the Mumsnet motoring with Ford microsite once the test is over.

This thread is where they will record how they are getting on with the cars (a Galaxy Titanium X 2.0l TDCi manual 6-speed and a S-MAX Titanium 2.0l TDCi power-shift with media system).

If anyone has a query about the cars, please post them below and hopefully one of our Mumsnet testers will answer them - if not we'll ask Ford. To find out more about Ford or anything Mumsnet have done with them click here


Please use this thread to record your thoughts & experiences with the car - please also introduce yourself on the thread, tell us about your family and what car you normally drive as well as what car you are testing. Below are some suggestions to help you get started:

What do the children think of it?
How easy is it to fit car seats/adjust seats etc?
What's it like to drive?
It is a comfortable ride?
What's the boot space like?
How does it cope with different road condition eg town, country, motorway?
Has testing this car changed your perception of Ford cars at all?
What one thing do you like best about it?

Many thanks and safe driving!


OP’s posts: |
weblette Wed 16-Jun-10 20:46:29

Will post in detail tomorrow pm, we've got the Galaxy. Taking it on a jaunt round the M25 to buy a load of tents...

WinkyWinkola Thu 17-Jun-10 20:47:41

Yes, will report after the weekend. We're going to take it on school run tomorrow. And next week and use it as often as poss.

Does this mean we're eligible for millions in John Lewis vouchers? Or did I dream that bit?

'My' SMAX is the palest blue you can think of. It's a gorgeous looking car.

Of course predictably the colour is the first thing I think of but I get so bored of seeing silver, black or dark grey cars on the U.K. roads. Cars need to be of gorgeous colour. I like the paler colours too.

weblette Thu 17-Jun-10 21:04:52

Well the Galaxy is sitting on the drive with the boot full of tents atm.

It's usually full of children - I have 4 aged 10, 8, 6 and 2. And their friends. And their school bags and kits bags and tennis rackets, cricket bats, an instrument or two.

Every now and then there's even dh if he needs a lift somewhere.

Just now I'm heading out to the Beaver Scout colony I run so there's usually a load of stuff for that too. That's where the tents come in - piled round the M25 to the Decathlon store at Lakeside today to equip our summer sleepover.

It's the first longer m'way drive I've done in it.

Will post tomorrow.

Hi Winky!!

WinkyWinkola Thu 17-Jun-10 22:08:37

Hi Weblette.

But what colour is it?

weblette Fri 18-Jun-10 08:35:56

The kids reckon the colour's light gold, looking at the brochure it's called Chill Metallic - silvery with a goldish tone.

Took a little getting used to. We've always had silver cars for the MPV, the scratches don't show so easily....wink but this works - it's just that little bit different.

It's the Titanium X spec, the highest one, with some extras added on. We like extras. Lovely dark grey leather seats, panoramic sun roof with the 'central console' to puot things in in, haven't let the dcs use them as I have horrible visions of finding mouldy sandwiches when I hand it back...

Engine is the 2.0 TDCi Duratorq. Surprisingly powerful for a 2.0 - the size of the car, you'd expect to need a bigger engine to get it shifted but this is pretty nimble.

Fuel economy's been good so far - filled it for the first time yesterday after 400-odd miles, the dash display reckoned there were another 89 miles in the tank but having a car with this facility already I know it's not always the most reliable system. That's lasted me nearly 2 weeks of my usual driving.

A reasonably full tank cost £69, £20 or so more than I pay to fill my Grand Scenic but I'd probably have had to fill it sooner.

I already have my vouchers 'spent' Winky...

weblette Fri 18-Jun-10 18:00:43

Oh well, three cheers for the extra seats - ended up with an additional child plus her guitar this afternoon. Friday's always the worst when it comes to bringing home dirty kit bags.

I'm getting much quicker at moving the seats around - there's a knack to pulling the tags in the right order so you don't end up clambering over to pull something out you should have done earlier. So it only took a minute or two to get the back row converted from being the tent transporter

Last week I did an Ikea run - yes the ultimate test for how much you can cram into a car. With all the back seats down the space was huuuge. Ds3 decided to have a little dance around in the back to try it out

We usually travel with two car seats - an Isofix for ds3 and a booster for ds2. The Isofix points were an absolute doddle to access, much much easier than in my GS. The seats are a decent width too, in all rows, so the booster doesn't feel cramped.

One little niggle, the centre seat belt gets in the way when you climb into the back but it's a minor quibble.

weblette Sun 20-Jun-10 11:28:06

New experience last night - driving in the dark on the way home from the Green Day concert at Wembley.

Discovered a couple of neat features - the corner-following headlights and the little 'puddle light' on the mirror so you can see where you're going once you get out the car.

The headlights are xenon so very bright (I usually curse people driving with them blush and the full beam wouldn't have been that out of place as a floodlight at Wembley.

Rather wacky the first time you notice the corners lighting up then fading but seems useful.

Love the mirror light though, I'm such a klutz it'd come in handy when I've to root around in my bag for the house keys or have dropped the car keys

WinkyWinkola Sun 20-Jun-10 21:11:00

I'm test driving the S-MAX TDCI Titaniumn 6 SP with multi media DVD system. In a beautiful shade of frozen white.

To me, this car has a real sense of luxury about it.

I don't drive an automatic usually so we've had a few hiccups i.e. bunny hops with everyone in the car and a ranting dh who was convinced we were all going to meet our maker.

But embarrassingly enough, as long as you don't use your left foot, it's very very easy to drive. Thank goodness.

I love the way you just push a button, depress the brake and the engine starts. It seems very Buck Rogers to me. It's a small thing but small things do make me very happy!

So, reversing out of our very narrow horrid, nerve wracking drive, I discovered that a camera projects the image of what's behind you onto the little screen where the sat nav/radio etc is. The image has lines on it to guide you. This, accompanied by the beeping parking aid, is wonderful and reassuring. And amazing.

The kids loved the way the wing mirrors pop out when you open the car. I know that's not particularly new feature but it is to us and it's kind of cute. And of course, the sliding sun roof cover had them thrilled too.

We've got dvd player and screens built into our current car - Galaxy - so the kids didn't particularly take notice of that feature. It is a brilliant add on to have though. Car journeys are really less painful when you can get the children to stare at the goggle box for much of the time. grin

Fitting in the three car seats in the middle row - one baby and two booster (all bulky) - was really easy. Obviously, unless you have a minibus, it's still a wee bit crowded but no more so than we're used.

We'll use the very back row of seats soon to see how they are with car seats and adults in them.

We too went to Ikea! And the boot really is very roomy. Even with the buggy in there, we got loads of stuff in. And there's that neat little bar across the boot door to stop stuff rolling out.

Will investigate what the space limitation is with the back row of seats up. We very much need a buggy still and if we need to shop etc, it's good to know that the car can take it all!

It's the little things like that that impress me really - there's a little pocket to put your sunglasses. There's built in mirror so you can spy check on the nippers. The built in sun screens for the back two rows even though the glass is tinted.

And heated front seats. My word. What luxury especially yesterday which was a very grim day.

It's a very smooth ride, this car. I get the feeling it's just raring to go though. I've only driven a bit on the motorway and it was quite busy yesterday so didn't really get much speed up. Will do though. I'm still a wee bit nervous because it's an automatic and I've only driven manuals.

One thing does concern me esp. when parked on a slight hill - I stop, move the lever (?) into 'P' position and then the car moves back slightly. Maybe ten cms? Can't be sure but you do think, "Oh?"

School run tomorrow.

How long do we have the cars for, please? And how much video footage do Ford want?

WinkyWinkola Sun 20-Jun-10 21:22:59

Meant to add, I think it's the small things that show me that they're really really considered well what features should go in this car.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Jun-10 11:29:29

winky - glad you're enjoying it - you have the car for 3 weeks from as much video as you can I think - bits when you can - it will edited down! smile

OP’s posts: |
weblette Mon 21-Jun-10 12:18:22

Sob it's my last week!!!!

Agree completely with Winky - it's the details that really make a difference with the car. It all seems to very well thought through.

I've got the highest trim level - Titanium X on the Galaxy, but drove the next level down - the Titanium - the at The Grove.

At both levels the car feels solid and well-made. I hated how plasticky our old Zafira felt, subsequent hirings didn't do much to change that. Grand Scenic's much better but the Ford does come out top.

One thing I've realised, the kids are actually fighting a little less - they've much more room so there's less opportunity/inclination for them to bash each other as they're not on top of each other.

The very back seats are adjustable on the Galaxy so even with them up there's still plenty of space - I've comfortably managed to get a buggy plus shopping in.

With four dcs we tend to avoid flying - it's just too flipping expensive - so our usual mode is to drive, typically to France via Eurotunnel.

The standard configuration for us is one seat up at the back and everything crammed into the last space in big laundry bags - it's amazing how much you can squeeze in! I also have an absolute hatred of roof boxes, but I reckon we'd manage to do our usual load comfortably in the Galaxy.

weblette Tue 22-Jun-10 15:06:04

Something that's really amused me is the reaction of friends and neighbours. We live in a village - a large one but still small enough to know lots of people in it.

Since having it I've had all sorts of questions and comments, from the spry 70yr old over the road who thinks it looks marvellous and would love something similar for transporting her plants (!) to my teenage neighbour who says it's not really his kind of car but it looks cool anyway.

One of my fellow Scout leaders is a bit of a boy-racer, well dad-racer now... He's got a souped up RS but gave the car his thumbs up.

A couple of other school mums have older Galaxy models so we've had a good compare and contrast session.

One was an ancient but very well-used/loved W-reg. What a difference! Far more functional, the seats had to taken out to open up the back. Tbh this is what I would always have thought of in the past if you'd suggested a Galaxy to me. I remember them being a favourite crew car for TV news cameramen.

Another friend had a much more modern Ghia spec - not many tweaks between two but she still approved!

WinkyWinkola Tue 22-Jun-10 19:59:55

Lol. Yes, mums at ds's school have sauntered over for a quick admiring stroke of 'my' elegant S-MAX. They all drive those horrid boxy Range Rovers.

It is mine now, isn't it?

weblette Tue 22-Jun-10 20:19:24

Well the Galaxy is obviously mine too, possession being nine tenths and all that...

weblette Wed 23-Jun-10 11:30:27

The Galaxy now looks reassuringly more like our usual car - the boot is a tip of recycling, school stuff and four fishing nets

Kids have managed to keep it v tidy, highly unusual for them. It smells like a new car although I'm guessing the leather seats help with that.

Did the Heathrow run this morning for the first time in ages to get dh onto a shuttle flight.

The one thing I find slightly disconcerting at times is judging the size - it's slightly wider than the Grand Scenic so I'm paranoid about twanging the wing mirrors. The narrow taxi tunnel was therefore a bit of a trial but we emerged unscathed

Having said that, although it's bigger than I'm used to, it doesn't feel like a bus when driving which surprised me - I expected to be much more aware of the overall size.

WinkyWinkola Wed 23-Jun-10 16:56:58

The S-MAX is really powerful! It nips up hills like nobody's business and that's with four kids and a baby in it. My word. And on the motorway, it fair zips along no bother at all. I'm impressed.

I've found though that with the back seats up, you can't get a big buggy in the back. Is this unreasonable? I've got a Phil and Ted's - no way will that fit in with the back row of seats up. But a Maclaren does go in very easily. And you can put shopping in alongside too. I thought that was pretty darned good going.

Friends have commented on how surprised they were to see the back row of seats in what looks like a normal five seater car.

In terms of terrain, there's some rough ground on the dcs school - stones, dust etc - and it was barely noticeable in the S-MAX whereas usually I feel like Bo and Luke Duke rollicking through that dust bowl.

Plus, with car seats in the very back row, the dcs were very comfortable. No sense of being cramped when I pulled the middle row forward a bit.

I'm going to try the back row with adults next to see how they feel.

Still enjoying more week to go.

weblette Thu 24-Jun-10 08:56:43

You can certainly get bigger stuff in the G with the seats up, not sure about a P&T. We usually have one of the seats down so run it as a six-seater.

This morning was my last school run in it *sob sob* but appropriately enough it was full!

It's going to be very hard to hand it back...

weblette Fri 25-Jun-10 09:55:41

Ds3 is in tears - he's just said bye-bye to the car as the lovely Steve drove it away.

It's been a very quick three weeks, far too short - how about three months next time please Ford??

At the start of the whole process I was so determined to be as subjective as possible but by the end I think that's gone out of the window, I confess.

We've thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Galaxy or Eamon as the kids called it due to the reg plate

It surprised in lots of ways with the flexibility, space and adaptability. The quality of finish and high level of spec were very enjoyable and it's a brilliant drive.

Space and gadgets were top of the children's 'we love list', for me it had to be fantastic drive the Duratorq engine gives - it just zips and feels far more powerful than a 2.0l. It's so quiet, it really doesn't sound like a diesel. Even car-phobic dh admitted he thought the Galaxy was very smooth and spacious - from him, high praise indeed.

The Fold Flat System for the seats is just so darned clever. It must have taken a serious team of origami experts to work out the engineering. It's probably this that really elevates the Galaxy above the rest.

There were some things we didn't get round to testing - the speed limiter for instance as there wasn't really the situation to use it.

The voice activation system also went by the by.

Not sure if more amazed or horrified by the fact that in the three weeks I clocked up 850 miles! That was on a tank and two thirds of diesel, which I reckon is very good going.

Doing the test drive has definitely changed my perceptions of Ford cars. My previous form with Ford amounted to an ancient Mondeo auto we used to have - it was known as the tank because that's what it certainly felt like. The old Galaxy model too seems too hefty, too clunky and just wasn't a car I would have considered appropriate for us.

The major sticking point with the Galaxy has to be the price - it isn't cheap. An entry level Zetec will starts from £22,000, the Titanium X I had has a base price of £29,445, with the extras I had it heads up towards £32,500.

Having said that, I can understand why it's the price it is compared to other makes. Certainly against the Renaults, Nissans, Vauxhalls and Fiats I've driven, the Ford level of finish was way higher.

Conclusion? Would we buy a Galaxy after our test drive? Almost certainly yes. It will more than likely be our next car. When that happens will depend on finance, very obviously, and also how quick the dcs grow!

Thanks for the opportunity Ford and Mumsnet, we've had a blast! Our poor old Grand Scenic is going to feel so very very small....

WinkyWinkola Sun 27-Jun-10 20:55:01

The S-MAX is so fast! And so quiet and smooth considering its a diesel engine.

Just been on the M1 with dh. Usually, I notice immediately when he's over the speed limit but we were well over 100 mph blush before I even noticed because it's like this car is raring to go and easily get to that speed without even noticing. Is that a plus when the national speed limit is 70 mph?

Also, been trying out boot space. You can have one seat up in the back row - so it becomes a six seater - and fit in a big double buggy like our Phil and Ted's or a dog - very easily.

You could have four young kids - two needing buggy - and manage well in this car. You might need a roof pod if you were to go on holiday and had lots of luggage for a such a family but for every day stuff, travelling with six seats, buggy and shopping is no bother at all in this car. I was surprised. You couldn't have four kids and a dog and a buggy in there though. Not sure what car could, mind.

I'm now trying to figure out why one would actually buy the Galaxy instead of an S-MAX now. I know the Galaxy has that bit more room but I'm not convinced it's that much more and the S-MAX is that bit less intimidating in terms of size when parking etc.....

I've yet to try out adults in the very back row actually. Will do that to evaluate comfort for them. Two kids car seats in the back row are absolutely fine and the kids - albeit small ones aged 5 and 3 - were very happy there as they could see the dvd screens. I couldn't really hear them very well as they seemed quite far away!

All the kids at ds's school call out, "Nice car, Winky," "New car, Winky?", "Why've you got a new car, Winky?" I've explained 100 times but I'm bored of explaining and I'm now going to tell them that my uncle is chief exec of Ford and I can have a new car whenever the damn hell I like! grin

I'm very fond of this car. I'm even beginning to be converted to the notion of automatic gears......

weblette Sun 27-Jun-10 23:02:01

For us the difference between the two comes with older kids - they just need that bit more room. When mine saw the headroom in the Galaxy they were very very happy. The S-Max seemed so much lower in height when we looked at it at the Grove.

Since at least two of my four are likely to be reasonably tall, getting the extra space in early seems a good idea.

Our poor Grand Scenic does seem so small now after the Galaxy I think where it really counts is in the very back seats. Dd at 10 already feels cramped in them, 8yr old ds1 isn't too far behind. As you can't use full car seats with them it does reduce our options.

Can I have my Galaxy back, pretty pretty please?????

WinkyWinkola Thu 01-Jul-10 12:07:08

The beautiful S-MAX has gone. sad

We've all enjoyed it very much. It's an elegant, powerful and stylish car that is deceptively roomy.

DH and I were discussing the other day that when we need a second car, the S-MAX is definitely the one we'll get alongside our Galaxy so that we can carry the dcs and their pals whenever necessary.

Give us it back, would you?

WinkyWinkola Thu 01-Jul-10 14:42:44

Dammit, I miss that car.

weblette Thu 01-Jul-10 17:08:25

We've been without it for nearly a week, sob. I keep looking covetously at them as I pass them in the street... blush

WinkyWinkola Thu 08-Jul-10 22:39:43

I want it baaaaaaaack.

My Galaxy just seems so laborious in comparison.... .. ...

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