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Wheelchair Van or Wheelchair-Accessible SUV, What’s Right For You?

Image of VMI Toyota Sienna, BraunAbility Chevy Traverse & BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica wheelchair-accessible vans.

When it comes to finding a vehicle suitable for individuals who use wheelchairs, a few options are available, such as wheelchair vans and handicap SUVs. Both vehicles have been designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities and provide them with the freedom and independence to travel. However, each vehicle has unique features and advantages that appeal to different users. In this blog, we will compare wheelchair vans and handicap SUVs to help you decide which is best for your needs.

Older man in power wheelchair entering BraunAbility Toyota Sienna wheelchair van

Wheelchair Vans

A wheelchair van is a specially modified one designed to provide wheelchair accessibility. These vehicles come in various sizes, from minivans to full-size vans, and can accommodate multiple wheelchair sizes. One of the most significant advantages of wheelchair vans is that they come with various options for entry and exit. There are rear-entry and side-entry options, and depending on the user’s needs, one may be more suitable than the other.

For individuals with a larger wheelchair and who travel with a caregiver, a rear-entry vehicle may be more suitable as it allows for a larger, longer ramp to be installed. This makes it easier to accommodate more types & sizes of wheelchairs. On the other hand, a side-entry vehicle may be more suitable for those who drive or desire to ride up-front alongside the driver.

Wheelchair vans have various customized features, including ramp types, power options, wheelchair tie-downs, and seating arrangements. These various features allow users more control over their mobility while ensuring safe and comfortable travel.

Red Chevy Traverse wheelchair SUV from BraunAbility at park with ramp out and guy in wheelchair with basketball

Handicap SUVs

A handicap SUV is also designed to provide accessible travel for individuals with physical limitations. These vehicles are typically larger and higher off the ground than vans, making them more attractive for individuals who require more ground clearance and towing capacity. Handicap SUVs are designed to provide additional versatility and functionality.

One of the most appealing features of handicap SUVs is that they allow travel off-road. This mainly benefits individuals who enjoy outdoor activities or live in rural areas.


Both wheelchair vans and handicap SUVs give the user the freedom and independence to travel. Each vehicle has unique features and advantages that appeal to different users. Wheelchair vans are ideal for individuals who may only require a ramp for easy entry and exit, while handicap SUVs are better suited for off-road adventure types.

Ultimately, choosing between a wheelchair van and handicap SUV will depend on the individual’s specific needs and preferences. It is important to consider factors such as interior space, available options, type of use, and cost before deciding. By taking the time to research and compare these vehicles further, and talking with a certified mobility consultant, you can make an informed decision that will provide you with the mobility and freedom you desire.

Picture of Richard W. Maxwell, MBA

Richard W. Maxwell, MBA

Richard Maxwell, is a seasoned automotive marketing executive with over two decades of experience. Starting in 1999 with his advertising agency, Maxx Design & Marketing, he has consistently delivered innovative marketing solutions. After earning his MBA, Richard shifted focus to adaptive technology, serving as Marketing Manager for Superior Van & Mobility. Today, he leverages his expertise to promote and educate others about adaptive equipment in transportation and drive change in accessible mobility.