What vehicles can be wheelchair accessible? Technically, most vehicle models (sedans, SUVs, trucks, minivans, full size vans, etc.) can be made wheelchair accessible. But just because a vehicle can be converted into an accessible vehicle, does that make it the right one for you, your family and your caregiver(s)? In this post we will take a look at all of the different types of wheelchair accessible vehicles available on the market, as well as some of the benefits or disadvantages for each type of accessible conversion, so you can determine what will work best for your unique mobility needs.
Minivan conversions are one of the most popular options on the market for wheelchair users. Minivan models include the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Voyager, Dodge Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna. Some wheelchair van manufacturers may also have previously owned Chrysler Town & Country and Honda Odyssey inventory also available in stock for conversion. What makes these minivan models so popular with wheelchair users? Here are a few of the advantages to wheelchair accessible minivans:
- Independent entry. Wheelchair users can enter and exit accessible minivans independently utilizing a side-entry fold out or in-floor ramp. The height and weight rating allow the wheelchair user to easily move and turn within the cabin of the vehicle.
- Flexible seating options. Minivans offer wheelchair users multiple seating arrangements that allow for the wheelchair user to sit within the cabin, in the front passenger position and even in the driver’s seat. Wheelchair users can choose to remain within their wheelchair or transfer to a transfer seat.
- Space for passengers. In addition to flexible seating for the wheelchair user, minivans offer enough room for friends and family to sit comfortably within the cabin of the vehicle, as well. This makes the accessible minivan an ideal option for families.
Full Size Vans
Much like minivan conversions, full size vans are one of the more popular options wheelchair users select when buying a conversion vehicle. Models include options like the GMC Savana, Chevy Express, Ford Transit and Dodge Ram Promaster. While full size vans may seem large, they handle much the same as any other vehicle on the open road. Most customers enjoy the extra advantages they provide like:
- Heavy-duty lift power. Full size van lifts have an advantage over minivans in their ability to support even the largest, heaviest of wheelchairs.
- Additional headroom. While some companies tell wheelchair users they need as low of a floor in their vehicle as possible, the tallest of wheelchair users find plenty of space to accommodate their needs in a full size van. With the six inch lowered floor and extra six inches of headroom a full size van conversion provides, the interior height of a full size van conversion is a full 58 inches; more than enough space for the average adult wheelchair user.
- Cargo space for all. The additional room a full size van provides, not only allows for additional passengers, but for all the storage needs a wheelchair user may have.
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are another vehicle option that wheelchair users may have converted for their use. While many SUV models are available and quite popular in the standard market, for wheelchair users the options are a bit more limited. Wheelchair accessible SUVs include vehicle models like the Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, Honda Pilot, Kia Soul and Ford Explorer. While most of these models can be made side-entry like the minivan and full size vans, without a sliding door already in place there is a lot more that needs to be adjusted during the conversion process. In many cases the ramp is also narrower than a minivan can accommodate, making it a little more challenging for a wheelchair user to maneuver into and out of the vehicle.
Truck models like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra can also be converted for wheelchair users. Generally these models are converted with a wheelchair lift and a lowered floor on either the passenger or drivers side of the vehicle. To enter the vehicle, the side panel of the vehicle lifts up and the wheelchair user is lifted with a vertical rising lift directly into one side or the other of the truck. This option is less flexible than other vehicle models as it provides the wheelchair user only one option for where they sit within the vehicle.
There are limited options for accessible sedans on the market. One model is the Fiat 500. With this model a wheelchair user would enter the vehicle with a rear-entry fold-out ramp and remain within their wheelchair. Due to the space needs of the ramp and the access for the wheelchair, the user loses all storage space and any additional seating within the vehicle. Another conversion option for sedans that some wheelchair users choose to make is converting the steering column. This is not always the most ideal option, as the wheelchair user may need to have a caregiver with them whenever they drive, so they can transfer into the driver seat and have their caregiver stow their wheelchair.
Still Have Questions About Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles?
Do you still have unanswered questions about what vehicles can be wheelchair accessible? Our team is ready and waiting to help you on your way to getting those questions answered. Give our team at Rollx Vans a call today. With more combined experience than any other sales team in our industry, one of our sales team representatives will know or find the answers you are looking for. At the end of the day, we want to make sure you are fully satisfied with the accessible vehicle that you choose, and we are here to help you on your way to finding exactly what works for you.