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What is a wheelchair van and what type is best to meet your mobility needs

Silver rear-entry wheelchair van and a blue side-entry wheelchair van and a red handicap SUV sitting side by side on a gray background


Mobility is a crucial aspect of life that significantly impacts an individual’s independence and quality of life. For people with physical disabilities or those who use wheelchairs, a specially designed vehicle can be a game-changer. Enter the wheelchair van: a vehicle specifically modified to accommodate wheelchairs, offering ease of transportation and enhanced mobility. This blog will provide a detailed overview of what a wheelchair van is and which types are the best for someone in a wheelchair.


A wheelchair van, also known as a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV), is a modified vehicle designed to facilitate the transportation of individuals who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters. These vehicles typically feature ramps or lifts for easy wheelchair access, ample interior space to accommodate the wheelchair, and securement systems to anchor the wheelchair during transit safely. Wheelchair vans may be customized further to meet the individual needs of the user.

Find more information here.

Best Types of Wheelchair Vans for Someone in a Wheelchair

Rear-Entry Wheelchair Vans:

Rear-entry vans are often a preferred choice for many wheelchair users due to their practicality. The lowered-floor design provides a direct, straight-in approach via a lightweight, easy-to-use ramp. These vehicles are ideal for individuals who do not plan to drive and are typically more affordable and easier to park than side-entry vans.

Side-Entry Wheelchair Vans:

Side-entry vans allow a wheelchair user to drive the vehicle or sit in the passenger seat. They allow access to the vehicle even when parked next to a curb. These vans come in both manual and power ramp versions, and some even offer a “kneeling” feature, which reduces the slope of the ramp for easier entry and exit.

Full-Size Wheelchair Vans:

Full-size vans are perfect for those who require more space. They are often equipped with a platform lift, which is more robust and can accommodate heavier wheelchairs. These vans have ample room for multiple passengers, making them an excellent choice for commercial use or larger families.

BraunAbility ADA Toyota Sienna hybrid rear-entry wheelchair van
Expanded view inside a wheelchair van with a family inside showing seating arrangements
Blue Ford Transit ADA Wheelchair Van with wheelchair lift out


Selecting the best wheelchair van depends on individual needs, preferences, and lifestyles. Key considerations include the level of mobility of the person using the wheelchair, the size and weight of the wheelchair, the need for additional seating, and the preference for the wheelchair user to drive. Consulting with a mobility specialist can help clarify these needs and guide the selection process.

If you want more information or to speak to one of our mobility consultants, visit our location pages for a location near you.

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.