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Ford Galaxy vs. Ford S-Max: which is better?

We compare two popular Ford MPVs in our Galaxy vs S-Max review

A comparisons showing the Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max side by side

Although closely related, there are a few major differences between the Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max that encourage some healthy sibling rivalry. Both are spacious seven-seaters, but the Galaxy is larger overall.

If you’re on the market for an MPV that can seat seven, considering one of these used Ford options is a smart choice.

But which one is right for you?


A comparison showing the S-Max ST-Line badge and the Galaxy sunroof

If styling is important when it comes to picking your ideal car, you might be swung towards the Ford S-Max over the Galaxy. While both models opt for a sleek and simple design that feels timeless, the S-Max is more compact and has a sporty feel.

With the S-Max, you can also choose the ST-Line trim to add details like a unique front and rear bumper and a rear spoiler.

The Ford Galaxy is only available in the Titanium trim and favours a classic look. Its MPV styling shines through with the option for a panoramic sunroof (also available in the S-Max) and the increased size is great for head and legroom.

What are they like to drive?

A comparison of the Ford S-Max and Galaxy models driving

Both the S-Max and Galaxy are comfortable and enjoyable to drive, but the S-Max does feel more refined. By practical MPV standards, it feels sporty and uses a lower centre of gravity to improve handling.

You can also choose the S-Max ST-Line for a firmed-up suspension that feels perfect on roads with lots of twists and turns.

The Ford Galaxy is the better option if space and comfort is really at the top of your priorities. It’s economical too, with the six-speed manual gearbox models claiming up to 52.3mpg.

In comparison, the S-Max offers up to 44.1mpg, but it’s still an efficient MPV in its own right.

Interior and technology

Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max interior

The interior in both the S-Max and Galaxy are visually similar, including many of the same features and the overall slick look that Ford favours.

Both cars offer the Ford SYNC 3 infotainment setup with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as two USB sockets and Bluetooth connectivity.

There’s also a mixture of analogue and digital dials behind the wheel where the instrument cluster should sit, making up the brand’s semi-digital colour cluster. This is an ideal upgrade on the traditional instrument cluster for a sleek modern look.

Boot space and practicality

The boot space in the Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max model

The Ford Galaxy is more generous than the S-Max when it comes to space, but that doesn’t mean the S-Max is small. You’ll still get a 285-litre boot at the rear that can be extended to 965 litres if you fold down the third row of seats.

The Galaxy gets a larger 300-litre boot that’s more spacious when the third row of seats are folded, offering 1,206 litres.

There’s also the option to fold the rear two rows of seats in both models, creating a handy loading space.

With the second and third row of seats down, the Galaxy offers 2,339 litres while the S-Max has 2,020 litres.

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Safety and reliability

Ford is well-regarded for building reliable and safe vehicles, even offering a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty on new models.

Although these ratings have now expired, both the Ford Galaxy and Ford S-Max receive a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when they were tested in 2015.

Both models get ISOFIX car seat points for safe driving with children, and electronic stability control (ESC) as standard.


Ford Galaxy

Length: 4,848mm

Width: 1,916mm

Height: 1,747mm

Ford S-Max

Length: 4,796mm


Height: 1,655mm

Verdict: Ford Galaxy vs. S Max: which should you buy?

If you’re on the market for a practical, seven-seater MPV then either the S-Max or the Galaxy will be well suited. The big decisions come when you have to weigh up whether the extra space in the Galaxy is worth sacrificing the sportier trim options and styling of the S-Max.

It’s also worth considering that while the Galaxy offers more space, you do only get the choice of one trim. It’ll usually be the more economical of the pair though, so could be the best pick if you know you’ll be making lots of road trips.

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