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Best Vehicles for Wheelchairs: Our Top 5 Picks

By Maurice

Best Vehicles for Wheelchairs

If you’re on the lookout for the best vehicles for wheelchairs, you’re in the right place because we know just the vehicles you need to have the most comfortable driving experience. Needless to say, a wheelchair accessible van can help wheelchair users get around town with ease.

You may be excited to learn that today’s market has a variety of options to choose from. You can easily find reliable vehicle models with the right modifications that make them safe and convenient for passengers who use wheelchairs.

In this blog post, we’ve narrowed down our top favorite wheelchair accessible vehicles that come with impressive features and modifications to accommodate passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.

Features to Look for in a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

It’s worth noting that before you can purchase a disability-friendly vehicle, you need to spend at least a few hours to search for the best cars for wheelchair transfer before you can find one that suits your specific needs. Some benefits of owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle are that they not only look great, but they also have better gas mileage than a regular minivan. Moreover, they’re surprisingly easy to park.

Since buying a wheelchair accessible van happens to be a long-term solution, you need to keep the future in mind while making your decision. The first thing you need to explore in a vehicle is its functionality. You need to make a list of specifications that best suit your preferences to narrow down your options and make the buying process a lot easier.

Asking yourself the following questions can help:

  • How many passengers are expected to travel in your vehicle?
  • Do you need additional room for weight, height, or a large power wheelchair?
  • Will the wheelchair user be the primary driver? Or will it be the caregiver?
  • Do you want a fold-out ramp or a slide-out ramp?
  • Do you prefer a side-entry vehicle or a rear-entry vehicle?

Once you have a clear idea about all the must-have features, you can explore different wheelchair accessible vans with confidence and find the one that suits your needs perfectly. You also need to think about the type of vehicle that would be best for you in the long term.

It’s observed that the most practical vehicle for wheelchair-bound passengers is the minivan. They tend to have the most room, provide fast entry and exit with the help of a ramp, offer excellent gas mileage, and make for easy wheelchair transfer in and out of the driver’s seat. Furthermore, there’s a great variety of models and manufacturers in the market to choose from.

When you’re purchasing an accessible vehicle, there are many size variations you need to consider, most notably the size of your family and the size of the wheelchair. For some people, getting a wheelchair accessible vehicle is just what they need, but for others, getting a minivan with cabin maneuverability will be a much more suitable option.

It’s also important to mention that getting a modified minivan certainly has its own set of advantages like convenience as well as being able to see and test out the finished product before buying it.

But thanks to modern technology, you can easily convert pickup trucks, SUVs, and automobiles to disability-friendly vehicles with a handful of modifications and improvements. You can consider sending your old vehicle to the factory to get it converted into a WAV if it fulfills all the mileage and age requirements. Remember to discuss the make and model of your vehicle with your dealer before taking your vehicle in.

Whether a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) is your first or third purchase, you need to keep abreast of the latest technology as well as the vehicle prices so you can snag a fantastic deal and find the best vehicle to complement your lifestyle and preferences.

Volkswagen Caddy Life

Volkswagen Caddy Life

Our first pick is the Volkswagen Caddy life, which is basically an evolved version of the Volkswagen Caddy Van. It’s available in two different lengths; the Standard and Maxi. The Maxi is a more preferable option because it has sufficient space to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter passenger with ease. Not only that, it’s built to provide five seats.

The VW Caddy Life is designed keeping practicality, functionality, and comfort in mind. It comes with two sliding doors and wheelchair access in the back, making for an easy entry for all passengers, regardless of where it’s parked.

Even though it’s not the cheapest wheelchair-friendly vehicle out there, it boasts amazing adjustability settings and comes in both manual and automatic transmissions. Moreover, this multi-purpose vehicle is built with efficiency technologies, and it’s entirely eco-friendly.

It won’t be wrong to say that it has taken some influence from other renowned VW models, but it definitely stands out in terms of style and appearance. It’s designed to adapt to your growing needs every day and takes flexibility to the next level.

It features five comfortable seats and provides access to more space, all thanks to the removable and folding benches. You can use the extra space however you want, the possibilities are endless. It’s also worth mentioning that the single seats in the second row can also be double-folded if the occasion calls for it.

Ford Tourneo Connect

Ford Tourneo Connect

Ford Tourneo Connect happens to be another amazing candidate for our list of best vehicles for wheelchairs. It also comes in two model sizes (Short and Grand) for your convenience. It can easily accommodate around 3 to 5 passengers in addition to a scooter or wheelchair.

It’s important to note that wheelchair access is through the back and it’s made a lot simpler using a light-weight ramp and compact. It’s designed to provide the most amount of space, it operates at the speed of up to 50 mph, and the tailgate offers a generous entrance height of around 1.4 meters.

The Grand version of the Ford Tourneo Connect offers versatility as you’ve never seen before. You can replace the second seating row with two individual seats to make room for the wheelchair user in the middle and make other such configurations depending on your requirements.

The economic value and effortless style make this vehicle an obvious choice for people with disabilities. It offers comfort and functionality and comes with a Pre-Collision Assist system that helps protect pedestrians by reducing the severity of accidents or preventing them altogether. It can essentially detect other vehicles and pedestrians nearby and sends a warning to the driver whenever it detects a potential collision.

Renault Traffic

If you’re in search of a vehicle with additional space, you must consider a Renault Trafic because it might be just the vehicle you’re looking for. Depending on the type of conversion, a disability-friendly Renault Trafic features 3, 4 or even 5 comfortable passenger seats as well as sufficient space for the wheelchair-bound passenger.

It’s a relatively large vehicle designed based on the French manufacturer’s medium-size panel van. Moreover, it can easily accommodate any size of mobility scooter or wheelchair without limiting space. You can also opt for the long wheelbase version if you need additional space to transport other items like medical equipment for the disabled passenger.

It comes with efficient engines, stylish and protective design, and the latest features in order to provide the safest and most comfortable driving experience. Wheelchair access is made possible via a light-weight folding ramp using the standard double doors or an automatic tail lift. Additionally, every Renault Trafic comes equipped with manual air conditioning, DAB radio, and front electric windows.

You can also consider the Vauxhall Vivaro as an alternative. It’s a similar van that was built in the same factory as the Trafic using the same manufacturing process and parts.

Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey

If you’re searching for a wheelchair accessible vehicle that’s sporty as well as stylish, the Honda Odyssey is definitely worth exploring. It’s built on one of USA’s best-selling minivans and features an in-floor ramp to make it accessible for wheelchair users.

It comes with top of the line safety configurations and a disability-friendly design that makes it an easy favorite among handi-capped passengers. With solid safety scores, surprisingly good fuel economy, and car-like handling, it’s the complete package and, hands down, one of the best minivans you can find for drivers with reduced mobility or disabilities.

Not only is the Honda Odyssey the perfect alternative to SUVs, but it also has plenty of room and it’s exceptionally comfortable to move in and out of. The sliding doors are quite big, and the floors are low, allowing for ease of access.

And what’s more, it has also proven to be easy to modify and upgrade for different mobility requirements. You can choose to install ‘Step and Roll’ front seats to replace the driver’s seat or the front passenger seat with a wheelchair if you need it.

It offers first-class convenience and comfort features along with spacious dimensions that have earned it several Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards.

Here’s a list of comfort features you can find inside a variety of Odyssey models:

  • Heated and ventilated front seats to keep you comfortable regardless of the weather
  • 12-way Power driver’s seat that can be adjusted in a number of ways to provide extra support throughout the drive.
  • HondaVAC which is essentially a built-in vacuum that’s meant to make cleaning up the interior space a breeze
  • Tri-Zone automatic climate control system that offers different climate zones as well as controls for the driver and all the other passengers
  • Advanced rear entertainment system to keep your rear-passengers entertained on a long journey by playing from different sources on a 10.2-inch high-resolution screen
  • 8-Inch display audio with high-resolution that comes with a large touchscreen display and allows easy navigation

VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E

VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E

The VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E is a new wheelchair accessible SUV that’s quite large and offers all kinds of comfort features that a wheelchair user would want. It comes with an unobstructed door which is around 32 inches in height that makes for easy and safe wheelchair access.

It combines flexibility, ease of use, and space to make it the perfect vehicle for all kinds of passengers. It also features an in-floor ramp that can slide out, making it difficult for passengers to get dirt inside. In addition to that, it offers optimal maneuverability for larger power chairs.

The front seats can also be removed which means you can easily accommodate multiple seats. Moreover, as an additional option, you can get this car with a towing capacity of 3500 lbs.

The in-floor ramp makes it easy for other passengers to get out of the vehicle on the ramp access side without needing to deploy the ramp, which contributes to overall safety. In addition to this feature, the Honda Pilot Northstar E is 100% crash tested and meets all the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The vehicle is available in multiple configurations, which means if the wheelchair user wishes to sit in the front seat or the middle position, it can be adjusted accordingly. If that wasn’t enough, it can also accommodate two wheelchairs at a time, which makes it a top contender for the best vehicles for wheelchairs.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying that wheelchair-friendly vehicles are a significant boost for those who have family members or loved ones with disabilities. It’s important to explore all your options and make sure they meet your specific requirements to find the right vehicle and enjoy the benefits it will bring.

Buying any of the five wheelchair accessible vehicles we’ve discussed above will provide an excellent and comfortable experience to anyone with disabilities. All of them are reliable, spacious, and often come with reimbursements from the manufacturing companies, making them an excellent choice for anyone. Visit your local dealership, and don’t forget take any of these vehicles out for a test drive before saying yes to the final offer.

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