When it comes to buying a new vehicle, everyone should be able to choose something that’s comfortable, reliable, and suits their needs; including individuals who are wheelchair bound and their families.
If you’re shopping for a new wheelchair accessible van, you know that there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration; most importantly, the vehicle has to be designed in such a way that it can be converted to allow for accessibility. Important features to consider when shopping for a van that can be converted into a wheelchair accessible van include:
- Entry. The best wheelchair vans offer either side or rear entry. The type you choose depends on your specific needs. For example, if the wheelchair occupant intends on driving, a side entry van is the best option; but, a side entry vehicle can also accommodate those who don’t plan on driving. For wheelchair-bound individuals that don’t plan on driving, a rear entry vehicle might be a better solution, as the ramp deploys from the back of the vehicle, which can makes parking easier, allowing the individual to enter and exit the van with ease.
- Space. The van also needs to offer enough space to comfortably accommodate the occupant and his or her wheelchair. The wheelchair should be able to easily fit through the entry point, the individual should be able to enter and exit the van without bumping his or her head, and there should be enough space inside the van so that the wheelchair can be maneuvered with ease.
- Safety. Of course, safety is also a top priority. Vans that have received top scores in side and rear crash test ratings are the safest options for wheelchair-bound individuals. The safest vans features side curtain airbags that provide protection for rear passengers if a collision occurs.
In addition to the above, there are other personal factors that are important to consider when shopping for a van that can be converted for wheelchair accessibility; budget, overall style, and features, for example.
Before shopping make sure you take all of these factors into consideration so that you can find a vehicle that will best suit the needs of the wheelchair-bound person, as well as anyone else who will be using the van.
Top 5 Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Our Favorites!
Taking the above-mentioned elements into consideration, we’ve scoured the market for the best vans that can be converted for wheelchair accessibility. We’re happy to report that we found a lot of options to choose from, and the following five makes and models are our top picks, as all can be modified to allow for side and rear entry, feature powerful engines that can support added weight, and allow wheelchair-bound individuals to drive or ride as passengers with ease.
Toyota is hailed as one of the best car manufacturers overall. All of their vehicles are built with safety in mind and are extremely durable and reliable. The Sienna is a great choice for wheelchair accessibility, thanks to the dual electric sliding doors, which allow for side entry from either the left or the right of the vehicle. This van is easy to modify, as it can accommodate ramps and lifts. It also offers plenty of room for standard sized wheelchairs and makes it possible for wheelchair-bound individuals who wish to drive to access the driver’s seat.
Dodge Grand Caravan
The Grand Caravan from Dodge has a track record of excellence among minivan drivers. It’s extremely reliable, durable, and spacious. Like the Sienna, it the Grand Caravan features available dual power sliding doors that allow for easy wheelchair access. The interior is offers extra headroom and provides the ideal amount of space for those riding in wheelchairs, as well as lifts and ramps. Wheelchair passengers can also easily access the cockpit area if they wish to drive.
Chrysler Town and Country
If you’re looking for a luxury wheelchair accessible van, the Chrysler Town and Country is a great choice. It’s loaded with high-end features for exceptional comfort, convenience, and safety. There’s plenty of space in the back for wheelchairs of varying sizes; there’s also a great deal of storage space for ramps and lifts. Dual electric side entry doors provide easy entry, and the drive system can be easily modified for those who wish to install a hand throttle for driving.
Another great side-entry wheelchair accessible van is the Honda Odyssey. Loaded with safety features, this vehicle always ranks high in crash tests. Two side entry electric doors allow for easy entry into the vehicle, and there is plenty of head clearance. There’s also lots of space in the back for maneuverability, and wheelchair-bound individuals can either drive or ride as passengers with ease.
When it comes to wheelchair accessible vans, there are several options to choose from, but these five vehicles are definite standouts. All have excellent safety ratings, offer plenty of space, are easy to convert, and provide easy access and maneuverability.