IT may be long in the tooth but the Ford Galaxy remains Britain's best selling large MPV.
Now with a reworked powertrain and styling tweaks inside and out, it is facing up to younger and smaller challengers for customers and giving them a run for your money.
The latest version of the 1.9 TDI engine in 130PS guise is one of the proven power plants from Volkswagen which has virtually dominated the market in sub-two-litre versions.
It is strong and surprisingly economical, smooth and flexible to drive and, matched with the ever-so-easy changing six-speed manual gearbox, it provides robust acceleration however laden and can turn in excellent economy overall if you have a light right foot.
The steering is also finger light and precise to give useful agility in town while underfoot the brakes slow the Galaxy in a rapid and controlled manner.
I like the layout of the secondary switches close to the column and hands while the straightforward instruments are very clearly displayed as well.
Heating and ventilation provide a well maintained, controllable and good output, backed by powered windows with Quickclear heated windscreen.
Oddments room is very good throughout and this really is a family model, but you may wonder why you have to pay £125 for each integral child seat which cleverly converts the usual adult seat into one for a nipper.
The test model was in high-spec Ghia trim but a dealer would still ask a further £3,000 for the optional Journey Pack comprising Multimedia system, sat nav and improved sound system.
You would really have to use it a lot to get your money's worth out of it, but I would be happy to spend just over £1,000 on the safety related Technology Pack which includes brighter headlights, electronic stability control and headlight washers, and the £200 Versatility Pack gets you a luggage cover, cargo net, bag and coat hangers.
As it comes, the Ghia specification includes anti-lock brakes, six airbags, privacy glass and alloys.
The rearmost seats are only really suitable for small children to wiggle into and you have little luggage space when they are occupied, but the access and room in the middle row and front pair of seats is very good.
The Galaxy ride is slightly firm but comfortable and you can hear how well it absorbs bumps with little body roll on winding roads. There is a natural tendency to run wide on corners but it's all easily kept in line and there are no real vices.
The performance is respectable as well and the high driving position means you can judge and anticipate conditions to maximise the available power.
The Ford Galaxy is a true workhorse and it's little wonder they are loved by the taxi trade, particularly the oil burners, and you can rest assured that this popularity is reflected in the residual value after three years.
Little wonder it remains one of my favourite, familiar MPVs.
Ford Galaxy 1.9TDI 130 Ghia
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,896cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 12.8 secs
Combined mpg: 43.5
Insurance group: 13
CO2 emissions: 176g/km
BiK rating: 25%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 12yrs anti-rust