The 2012 winners
1Ford Galaxy Titanium X
2Toyota Prius Plus
5Vauxhall Zafira Tourer
And so the champion reclaims its crown. Toppled last year by the Volkswagen Sharan, the Ford Galaxy, as ubiquitous as a TX4 in Central London thanks to Addison Lee, is once again voted the most suitable MPV for chauffeuring and private hire.
It’s always a difficult class to judge, as vehicles entered range from low-cost Korean minibuses to near-luxury large vans. But the mid-sized all-rounders usually hold sway, and so it proved again in 2012.
The Ford Galaxy is now such a well-sorted car that it’s actually difficult to find significant faults in it. A 2010 facelift gave the Galaxy more up-market looks. Judges praised the quality of the transmission thanks to an excellent DSG automatic gearbox, and indeed, driveability, features and low on-road noise and vibration were the Galaxy’s strong suits.
It’s a genuine seven-seater too, though in this configuration there is a compromise on luggage space – just about the only chink in the Ford Galaxy’s armour. Galaxy’s all-round competence keeps it ahead of the field, notably its principal rival, the Volkswagen Sharan, which beat the Ford into second place last year, but couldn’t repeat the trick in 2012.
Sharan is still an impressive car, with the added advantage of large sliding rear doors and marginally more luggage room than the Galaxy in seven-seat mode. But it’s not as good dynamically, and its boxy looks were less admired than the Galaxy’s lines.
Into the mix this year – indeed, splitting the two main contenders – was Toyota’s new “big” Prius+. Transferring the Prius’s frugal, green hybrid powertrain into a bigger MPV body has created a very useable vehicle – but only if you’re considering it as a five-seater. Nevertheless, a smooth drive and good build quality won favour.
Roll of Honour