Best Wheelchair Vans For Sale For Less!

Are You a First-Time Wheelchair Van Buyer? Our Guide is For You!

Are You a First-Time Wheelchair Van Buyer? We are Here to Help!

Attention first-time wheelchair van buyers: avoid common pitfalls with our comprehensive guide! Finding the perfect mobility solution is essential; with our expert guidance, you can navigate the process confidently.

Our guide is a roadmap for first-time wheelchair van buyers. It is designed to help you understand the differences between conversion types. It will help you identify the important factors when choosing the right wheelchair-accessible conversion for your specific needs. Then, it will explore the significance of where you buy your mobility vehicle and how that decision can impact your buying experience, future service and support, and your overall owner experience.

What is a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle?

A wheelchair-accessible vehicle is a specially modified vehicle designed to accommodate wheelchair users. These vehicles are built with wheelchair ramps or lifts, allowing for easy entry and exit without transferring out of the wheelchair.

The interior space of the vehicle is typically reconfigured to provide ample space for the wheelchair user to navigate and to be securely positioned during transit using various types of restraints. 

Wheelchair-accessible vehicles come in various forms, including but not limited to vans, trucks & SUVs, each tailored to meet different needs. 

What Types of Wheelchair Conversions are Available?

Below are the three main types of wheelchair-accessible vehicle conversions. Each type is designed to address particular needs and levels of ability. Picking the correct conversion type for your specific needs is the most crucial part of the process.

Side-Entry Conversions

Side-entry accessible conversion is the most common conversion type for consumers. It is ideal for wheelchair users who are drivers and passengers alike who prefer to enter and exit the vehicle from the side or curb.

This conversion often includes a fold-out or in-floor wheelchair ramp with an 800 to 1000-pound capacity. Wheelchair users can ride as a passenger in the mid-row, drive, or ride as a passenger in the upfront position. 

There are generally two sizes available: standard size and extra tall. The sizing references how low the floor is made during the conversion process. For instance, the extra tall conversion accommodates taller seated wheelchair users. Picking the correct flooring depth is crucial to ensure a comfortable & safe line of sight.

As mentioned above, most side-entry conversions allow a wheelchair user to drive by either transferring or driving from their wheelchair. This is not possible with a rear-entry conversion.

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Rear-Entry Conversions

Rear-Entry Conversions are an excellent choice for wheelchair users traveling with a dedicated caregiver or companion. The rear-entry conversion is not designed to allow a wheelchair user to drive or ride in the front passenger position. The ramp deploys from the vehicle’s rear, allowing the wheelchair user to ride as a passenger only

Most of these conversions feature a manually operated fold-out ramp system with an 800 to 1000-pound capacity. These conversions are beneficial when parking in standard parking spaces since they eliminate the need for extra space on the side of the van to enter and exit. This also helps eliminate the possibility of other drivers blocking access to the wheelchair ramp and impeding access.

Rear-entry wheelchair van conversions are also less costly and require less maintenance since they are generally built without costly motors and electronics.

Full-Size Van Conversions

Full-Size Van Conversions: This type of conversion is designed for those requiring more space. Full-size conversions provide ample room for wheelchair users and additional passengers. Instead of ramps, these vehicles often come with lifts and can include various luxury and comfort features not found in other vehicle types. 

Full-size van conversions are a better fit for those with large wheelchairs. Generally, these types of vehicles allow users to ride as passengers only. However, there are conversion enhancements that can allow a wheelchair user to drive as well.

Each type of wheelchair-accessible vehicle conversion caters to different needs, ensuring there’s a solution for every first-time wheelchair van buyer. Understanding these options helps make an informed decision that aligns with personal mobility needs, lifestyle, and budget. When considering a mobility vehicle, consulting with a mobility consultant is your best option to ensure the best driving experience and support your independence.

Key Features You Must Look For When Shopping for a Wheelchair Van

  • Ramp Width – Every wheelchair-accessible vehicle conversion type has a different ramp width. The ramp width is dictated by the chassis & ramp type. The ramp width ensures enough room for safely navigating up and down the ramp.
  • Ramp Type – The two types of ramps found on a wheelchair-accessible vehicle are fold-out and in-floor. The fold-out ramp is the most common. It features 2-inch side rails, which help wheelchair users of various skills safely navigate the ramp. It is also easier to manually deploy during a power failure. The in-floor ramp has much smaller side rails and should only be a consideration for someone with good driving skills. The in-floor ramp also makes entry and exit easier for ambulatory passengers since it stows underneath the floor, leaving an unobstructed doorway when not in use.
  • Door Opening Height & Width – The door height is also a crucial aspect to consider and is vital for two reasons. One, it allows a wheelchair user safe entry and exit. A user should not have to duck while entering the vehicle. Second, the door width needs to be able to accommodate the overall width of the wheelchair, including armrests and any other added features. 
  • Interior Height & Line-of-Sight – The conversion and chassis type dictate the overall interior height of the vehicle. The interior height ensures the wheelchair user has an appropriate line-of-sight. A taller seated wheelchair user will need a lower floor than a much shorter one. Not all chassis & conversion types are available in both sizes. 
Where You Buy Does Make a Difference

We cannot stress enough the importance of doing homework before you purchase, especially if this is your first wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

We know you have options for purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. However, making the wrong choice can be costly and even dangerous to you and your loved ones. (View this video by one of our customers who bought online, sight unseen, before coming to Superior.)

Buying a handicap-accessible vehicle from an ONLINE ONLY retailer, sight unseen, is something you should reconsider. Are you willing to take a chance if your purchased vehicle fits your needs? Are you willing to take the word from someone on a computer or phone hundreds of miles away? This person, whose primary focus is hitting their sales goal and their next commission check?

STOP! Take your time and do your research.

You are much better off buying your next wheelchair van from a reputable mobility dealer. A dealer with a showroom where you can touch, feel, and test drive vehicles before purchasing. A dealer where the sales team is not paid on commission. A dealer with a local service department and 24/7 emergency service in case of a breakdown.

What is Your Peace-of-Mind Worth?

If you are still considering an online-only retailer after reading above, be sure you compare apples to apples. We say this because not all handicap van conversion manufacturers use OEM-approved parts or build using the best & safest methods

The wheelchair van conversion industry is somewhat loosely regulated. Many handicap-accessible vehicle converters who only sell their products online do not even crash-test the products they build! But that’s not all. Many make their vehicles using substandard materials and compromise factory OEM components, like brake lines and wiring harnesses.

If you want to learn more about build quality and why it is essential, please review this video series from BraunAbility called “Straight Talk.” This video series does an outstanding job explaining and showing the different aspects of the conversion processes and the shortcuts many online-only wheelchair van converters make. 

One Last Tip and It's Important

When working with a mobility dealer, either an online-only retailer or one in your community like Superior Van & Mobility, be sure they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). NMEDA is the organization to PROTECT YOU by regulating wheelchair-accessible vehicle manufacturers and the mobility dealer network. 

Mobility dealers members of NMEDA must adhere to strict guidelines in selling, servicing, reconditioning, and installing adaptive equipment into any vehicle. For manufacturers that are members, it is required that they MUST crash-test their vehicles, adhere to strict manufacturing guidelines, and routinely undergo compliance reviews. 

Buyer, beware: if you don’t see NMEDA certification associated with a dealer you are working with, you should look to do business elsewhere.  Use the dealer locator to see if the dealer you are working with is a member. 

Superior Van and Mobility is a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) member and an accredited Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealer. We also have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings, if not the highest. Check out our Google, TrustPilot, FEEFO, and To Your Success listings.

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.

Resources & Grants For Wheelchair Vans

Women in yellow shirt sitting in wheelchair with arms out wide on the beach

Are You Looking for Resources & Grants That Can Help You Buy a Wheelchair Van?

Introduction:

For individuals and families whose lives involve a wheelchair, transportation can be a constant concern. The simple freedom to come and go as one pleases, often taken for granted, becomes a complex challenge. Fortunately, the struggle surrounding personal mobility and independence has been recognized, leading to numerous resources and financial aid programs catering to those needing wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This comprehensive guide will explore various avenues available for assistance, including grants and resources, to obtain a wheelchair van, ensuring mobility doesn’t remain a dream but becomes a reality.

Where Can I Get Help or a Grant to Purchase a Wheelchair-Accessible Van?

One of the first steps in your journey involves thorough research. A recommended resource for anyone beginning this process is SuperiorVan.com. Here, we have compiled an extensive list of helpful resources and information on grant opportunities at (https://www.superiorvan.com/research/links-resources/). Our webpage is an invaluable hub of information that connects our visitors to various financial assistance & grant opportunities. From non-profit organizations to Veteran’s assistance programs and manufacturer rebates, our dedicated webpage is a comprehensive starting point that can direct you to potential funding solutions.

Non-Profit Organizations & Grants For Handicap-Accessible Vehicles:

Several non-profit organizations understand the necessity of mobility in enhancing the quality of life. These organizations often offer grants and financial assistance to those purchasing adaptive vehicles:

  1. The National Organization for Vehicle Accessibility (NOVA): NOVA is dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities in pursuing personal mobility. They offer grant programs designed to help cover the costs of vehicle modifications, ensuring safety and accessibility.
  2. Help Hope Live: Known for community-based fundraising for people with unmet medical expenses, Help Hope Live provides a unique approach where individuals can campaign to raise funds for their wheelchair-accessible vehicles, often eliciting local media and community support.
Maddox O''Connor in his wheelchair coming out of wheelchair van

Veterans’ Assistance & Grants:

For U.S. Veterans, specific resources are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Depending on the nature and cause of the disability, veterans might be eligible for grants or reimbursements:

  1. Automobile Allowance: The VA offers an Automobile Allowance for veterans needing a vehicle with adaptive equipment. The grant covers the vehicle purchase price up to a certain amount.
  2. Adaptive Equipment Grant: Aside from the vehicle, the VA’s Adaptive Equipment Grant covers necessary equipment to ensure the vehicle is fully accessible and operational for the disabled veteran.

Veterans should contact their local VA office or Superior Van & Mobility to understand the qualifying criteria and embark on the application process.

Manufacturer Rebate Programs:

Several vehicle manufacturers recognize the financial burden of modifying vehicles for wheelchair access. As a response, they provide rebates that help offset some of the costs incurred during the modification process. These programs are typically available when purchasing a new vehicle, so it’s beneficial to inquire about these options when shopping. For instance, manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, and Ford offer such rebates. It’s imperative to speak directly with the dealer to understand the terms and conditions of these rebates, as they can significantly impact the overall cost.

State Grants and Assistance Programs:

Many U.S. states offer additional resources, often through the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. These departments are committed to helping individuals with disabilities maintain independence, which includes assistance in obtaining modified vehicles for personal transportation. Eligibility and the level of assistance vary widely from state to state, making it crucial to contact local representatives for detailed information.

Fundraising and Crowdfunding:

In an era where social media and digital communities are more potent than ever, personal fundraising and crowdfunding have emerged as practical solutions for raising money for health-related causes, including wheelchair vans. Platforms such as GoFundMe allow individuals to tell their stories and reach out to the community, friends, and family for donations. These campaigns can significantly supplement savings or grants for vehicle purchases.

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

Conclusion:

Investing in a wheelchair-accessible van can be a financial undertaking, but it is essential to recognize that numerous resources are designed to ease this burden. The financial stress associated with securing personal mobility can be significantly reduced by exploring grants, engaging with non-profit organizations, taking advantage of state-offered assistance, and even reaching out to the community through fundraising efforts.

The journey toward purchasing a wheelchair van often begins with the challenge of finding relevant information. Thanks to pages like our comprehensive resources page, individuals and families are better equipped to navigate the path toward greater independence and quality of life. Remember, every resource you engage with brings you one step closer to achieving freedom of mobility and an improved overall lifestyle for you and your family.

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.

Finding Wheelchair Vans for Sale

Grandma in wheelchair with grandson. Grandpa looking through telescope with grandaughter outside house with wheelchair van in background

Looking for a wheelchair van for sale to empower your mobility? Check out Superior Van & Mobility!

Are you looking to purchase a reliable wheelchair van for sale? Look no further than Superior Van & Mobility – where your search ends! We carry an expansive selection of adapted vehicles designed with convenience, safety, and durability in mind. We aim to ensure our customers always have access to the best wheelchair vans on the market.

At Superior Van & Mobility, we understand how important it is for people who require accessible transportation solutions that are safe and comfortable when traveling independently or with family members. That’s why all of our wheelchair-accessible vehicles meet federal standards regarding accessibility requirements as well as additional options like power entry lifts, hand control systems, swivel seats, etc., enabling us to provide custom-built mobility assistance, tailored explicitly around individual needs so that they can enjoy their rides without worry about safety or comfortability concerns along the way.

So, are you ready for ultimate freedom no matter where life takes you? Check out Superior Van & Mobility’s incredible range of specially designed wheelchair vans for sale! Each offers convenience plus maximum accessibility wherever your travels may take you! Do not miss out – call a mobility consultant for your FREE consultation!

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.

When to know it’s time to Consider a Wheelchair-Accessible Van

Recognizing the Right Time: When to Consider a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Our paths may change and adapt to new circumstances as we journey through life. Perhaps you or a loved one has recently begun to use a wheelchair, or the usage has become more regular. With this significant lifestyle adjustment comes many considerations, including whether it’s time to invest in a wheelchair-accessible van. Here, we will explore some key indicators that might signal the need for this type of vehicle.

Increased Difficulty in Transportation

One clear sign that it’s time to consider a wheelchair-accessible van is if getting from place to place has become more challenging. You or your loved one may need help getting into a standard vehicle, or it could take significantly more time than it used to. If loading and unloading the wheelchair has become physically demanding, causing discomfort or even pain, it could be time to consider an upgrade.

Young man pushing older man in wheelchair to enter a van

Growing Dependence on a Wheelchair

If wheelchair uses transitions from occasional to frequent or full-time, it might be time to consider a wheelchair-accessible van. This will make everyday tasks, like grocery shopping, visiting doctors, or enjoying leisure activities, more accessible and comfortable.

Safety Concerns

Safety should always be a priority. If the current means of transportation poses a risk – such as a wheelchair user falling while trying to get into the vehicle, or if the wheelchair isn’t secure during transit – a wheelchair-accessible van should be considered. These vans are designed with safety measures such as securement systems and ramps to ensure safe and easy access.

Woman in wheelchair riding in back of truck
Enhanced Independence and Comfort

Feeling independent and comfortable is essential for everyone. If the wheelchair user feels dependent on others for mobility and experiences discomfort during travel, it might be time to invest in a wheelchair-accessible van. These vehicles can provide enhanced freedom, allowing users to go where they want when they want without needing additional help.

Upcoming Life Changes

If any major upcoming changes in life could increase the necessity of frequent travel, this could also be an indicator. For instance, if the wheelchair user is starting a new job, moving to a new city, or beginning to attend a new school, it might be time to consider purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van.

Recommendations from Healthcare Professionals

Last but not least, the advice of healthcare professionals is invaluable. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and physicians are well-versed in evaluating individual needs. If any of these experts recommend a wheelchair-accessible van based on their assessment of the user’s physical condition and daily requirements, it is wise to consider their advice seriously.

Conclusion

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. No set timeline or universal indicator signals it’s time for a wheelchair-accessible van. You must consider your circumstances and determine the best decision for your lifestyle and needs.

Purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van is a significant investment, but it can drastically improve the quality of life, independence, and comfort of wheelchair users. When the time is right, you’ll find that this decision will open the doors to a world of new opportunities and experiences, making everyday life smoother and more enjoyable.

If you would like more information or to discuss options, please get in touch with one of our mobility consultants. Our mobility consultations are FREE!

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.

What is a wheelchair van & the types available

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

WHAT IS A WHEELCHAIR VAN?

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

CONCLUSION

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.

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.

Top 10 Most Important Factors When Buying a Wheelchair Van

Top Ten Most Important Things to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle

INTRODUCTION

Purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle is a significant decision that can significantly impact mobility and independence. Therefore, to ensure the vehicle you purchase is the best choice, it’s essential to be well-informed and consider several key factors. This article will cover the top 10 most important things to consider when buying a wheelchair-accessible van or SUV.

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

1. ACCESSIBILITY

The primary purpose of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle is to provide independence for wheelchair users. Therefore, it’s important to consider the vehicle’s ramp or lift system type and size, and weight capacity. Also equally important is the size of the ramp and door opening. You must ensure the entry and exit points are wide enough for your wheelchair. You can view various wheelchair van & SUV conversion specifications here.

2. INTERIOR SPACE

Make sure there’s ample room inside the vehicle for the wheelchair user, as well as any additional passengers and cargo. Consider the height of the vehicle’s ceiling, the amount of legroom, and the space available for maneuvering a wheelchair. You can find specific vehicle specifications here.

3. SEATING CONFIGURATION

You may require flexible seating options to accommodate various passengers, depending on your needs. Look for vehicles with removable or foldable seats and the possibility of installing a wheelchair lock-down system.

4. VEHICLE SIZE

Consider the vehicle’s overall size and how it will fit in your garage, parking space, or driveway. Bigger vehicles may offer more room and better accessibility, but they can also be more challenging to park and maneuver. 

5. SAFETY FEATURES

Your wheelchair-accessible vehicle should have essential safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. Additionally, consider any specific safety equipment for wheelchair users, such as secure tie-down systems and restraint belts.

6. KNOW YOUR MOBILITY DEALER

The wheelchair van conversion industry is somewhat loosely regulated, and it’s important when buying a wheelchair van to look for a dealer and manufacturer who is a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) and their QAP (Quality Assurance Program). An NMEDA dealer & manufacturer is regulated to ensure that any vehicle sold complies with set manufacturing and safety standards. This is not always true when buying a wheelchair van from a non-NMEDA dealer or manufacturer. Many non-members sell vehicles that haven’t been crash-tested and built using substandard materials or methods that compromise factory OEM components. Bottom line, ask questions and get to know your dealer!

7. MAINTENANCE & RELIABILITY

Research the vehicle’s maintenance requirements and overall reliability. Some wheelchair vans may require more frequent maintenance or have a higher likelihood of needing repairs. Look for reviews and ratings from reputable sources to make an informed decision. One of our mobility consultants can help provide you this information.

8. WARRANTY & SUPPORT

A comprehensive warranty can provide peace of mind and protect your investment. Look for vehicles that offer extended warranties, and understand the terms and conditions. Additionally, consider the manufacturer’s reputation for customer service and support—even the dealership’s reputation matters. Be sure you purchase from a highly-rated mobility dealer, like Superior Van & Mobility, and that they are a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association).

9. RESALE VALUE

While it may not be the first thing on your mind, it’s essential to consider your wheelchair-accessible vehicle’s potential resale value. Certain makes and models may hold their value better than others, which can be beneficial when upgrading or selling.

10. BUDGET

Finally, consider your budget and the overall cost of ownership in addition to the purchase price. Account for expenses like insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Explore financing options and look for any available discounts or incentives to help you secure the best deal.

CONCLUSION

Buying a wheelchair-accessible van or SUV is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. By taking the time to research and understand your specific needs, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed choice. Keep these top 10 factors in mind as you shop, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect accessible vehicle. 

To learn more or start looking for that perfect vehicle, please contact one of our certified mobility consultants. They will be happy to assist you in locating the right vehicle for your needs and budget.

Expanded view inside a wheelchair van with a family inside showing seating arrangements
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.

Wheelchair Van or Wheelchair-Accessible SUV?

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.

What is a Wheelchair Van?

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

What's a Wheelchair Van?

Wheelchair vans are vehicles that have been converted to make them safely accessible and operational for users in wheelchairs. To make a minivan wheelchair accessible, it takes three main components. First, the floor must be lowered by 10 to 14 inches to adjust for a wheelchair user’s seated height. Second, the mid-row seating must be removed to allow room for wheelchair securement and maneuverability. Third, a wheelchair ramp or lift must be installed to allow wheelchair access. 

Are all Wheelchair Vans the Same?

Many manufacturers convert vehicles for wheelchair accessibility, each using their methods and choice of materials. However, as with any product manufacturing, you have some that are built safer, use higher-grade materials, and provide additional benefits & options to the user. For this reason, it is essential to do your research. 

To begin, get to know the different wheelchair conversion types and options. Understand the differences in materials and methods particular manufacturers use. This is particularly important, as some manufacturers use substandard materials, take shortcuts with techniques, and do not even crash-test their vehicle designs.

It’s a good rule of thumb to ensure the manufacturer of the wheelchair van you want to purchase is a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) member. NMEDA regulates production methods and ensures vehicles sold by their members are crash-tested for safety. Dealers, too, can be members of NMEDA, so it’s also important to ensure the mobility dealer you are working with is also a member.

Superior Van & Mobility and the wheelchair vans we sell and rent are all NMEDA-certified and manufactured by the largest conversion companies in the world.

How a Wheelchair Van is Made

Playlist

3 Videos

For more about wheelchair vans, the types of conversions available, and our current inventory, or if you have questions, reach out to one of our mobility consultants. They will be more than happy to assist you and provide you with information and guidance. 

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.

New BraunAbility Chevrolet Traverse Wheelchair Accessible SUV

BraunAbility Chevrolet Traverse Wheelchair Accessible SUV

BraunAbility brought to market the world’s first handicap SUV, the Ford Explorer MXV. While this vehicle had a special place throughout the wheelchair-accessible market, it proved to have its limitations for many.

The ramp and available interior space were much less than any minivan on the market, making it hard for many users of power chairs to fit comfortably.
Despite having its place for many users, the vehicle didn’t appeal to the larger masses. In 2019 BraunAbility decided to discontinue production of the Ford MXV.

Knowing its customers were still in search of a minivan alternative, BraunAbility knew they needed a replacement, one that would take the place of the Ford MXV and open an opportunity for those individuals who never had a chance to own one because of the size of their wheelchair.

Fast forward to the present and say hello to the world’s first, Chevrolet Traverse wheelchair-accessible SUV from BraunAbility.

Man in power wheelchair sitting in drivers position of chevy traverse wheelchair accessible SUV
Closeup of red Chevrolet Traverse wheelchair SUV from BraunAbility with a man in a power wheelchair going up ramp

The new Chevy Handicap SUV is taking the industry by storm! It is providing a need that had been often overlooked, a minivan alternative. 

The new Traverse mobility vehicle has nearly as much interior space as the Toyota Sienna, but it has a much larger ground clearance and sporty styling that many have yearned. At the time of this article, it was only available from BraunAbility in two trim levels, the 2LT RS package and the 3LT.

The 2LT RS package is the sportier model of the two. In fact, the 20” blacked-out wheels and trim are what set this vehicle apart.

The 3LT model has a more classic look with 20” machine-faced aluminum wheels, dual skyscape sunroof, and rear pedestrian alert. Both models are loaded with nearly every option and advanced safety features, and they are available in seven different colors.

When these vehicles first hit the market, BraunAbility was not accepting customer chassis for conversion, an option for some who already had a Chevy Traverse sitting in their driveway. However, in 2022 BraunAbility announced they would take customer chassis’ for conversion as long as they were the exact 2LT RS or 3LT they sold new.

Standard Features Include:

  • Power, lighted in-floor wheelchair ramp system
  • Larger cabin space and maneuverability
  • Sliding gear shifter for additional space adjustments
  • 3rd-row seating with footrest
  • Driver side fuel door
  • Sliding side-door operation
  • Removable front seating with removable cup holders
  • 3.6L V-6 engine
  • Factory integrated towing receiver
  • 360-degree backup camera
  • Chevy Safety Assist
  • Much more

How Much Does a Handicap SUV Cost?

If you are interested in purchasing one of the NEW Chevrolet Traverse handicap SUVs, expect to pay $80,000 to $85,000. These vehicles run higher than most new accessible minivans because the chassis is higher. However, the good news is that unlike financing a traditional vehicle, where the term usually caps at seven years, mobility vehicles can be financed for up to ten years.

If the price of a new unit is not within your budget, you should start seeing more of these becoming available in the USED market. Expect to pay between $50,000 to $72,000 for a used model. However, that figure can easily be on either side, depending on the year, mileage and condition.

BraunAbility Chevrolet Traverse image with dimensions listed
Door opening usable widthA30.5” 
Door opening usable height (at the middle of door)B54.5″ 
Interior height at the center of the vehicleC58.5″ 
Interior height at driver and passenger positionD58″ 
Ramp lengthE52″ 
Ramp width (usable clear opening)30.25″ 
Ramp angle (with vehicle kneeled)2G8.5° 
Interior floor-length (behind front seat strikers)H57″ 
Overall interior floor-length (flat area)I89″ 
Interior width at passenger doors (doors closed)J64.75″ 
Interior width at B-pillarsK57″ 
Ramp capacity 1,000 lbs. 

(2) Ramp angle is subject to a 1.5-degree variance based on chassis trim level selected and other environmental factors. All measurements were taken with a 250 lbs. approximated wheelchair passenger load at the center of the ramp.

Are you Interested in purchasing a new or used BraunAbility, Chevrolet Traverse Handicap SUV?
Click the button below to shop our current inventory.

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.

Finding a Wheelchair Accessible Van for Sale

Finding a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle For Sale

Finding a wheelchair-accessible vehicle for sale can be daunting if you are unsure where to start looking or know what to ask. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as tricky as it seems. We’ve compiled some information and tips below that will help make the process much easier.

What is a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle?

They go by many names, wheelchair van, handicap van, mobility van, adaptive van, handicap SUV, etcetera. However, for general identification purposes, an accessible vehicle is specifically designed to safely accommodate one or more individuals in a wheelchair for transportation.

To achieve this, a manufacturer utilizes a traditional vehicle chassis and generally removes the flooring from just behind the firewall to the rear seat. Most of the time, a minivan or SUV chassis is used. These vehicle types provide the best conversion result and the largest interior space.

After removing the floor, the manufacturer will replace the removed section of the vehicle with a new engineered flooring system, 10 to 14-inches lower. The lower floor is necessary to adjust for a wheelchair user’s seated height. The lowering provides a more natural line of sight for the user.

In addition to lowering the floor height, another significant component is the integrated wheelchair ramp system. The ramp system is either manually or power-operated and deploys either in a fold-out or in-floor (underfloor) design. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available in either a rear or side-entry configuration. Specific needs dictate which configuration is ideal for a particular user.

How Much Does a Handicap Van Cost?

Handicap-accessible vehicles are available in many types and configurations. Plus, just like a traditional vehicle, they are available as both new and used. For general purposes, a new wheelchair van will cost between $52,000 to $82,000. That includes both the cost of the chassis and the conversion process. A used wheelchair van can cost $13,000 to $65,000 based on its year, condition, conversion type, and mileage. The factors that dictate price are numerous.

Where to Buy a Wheelchair Van or Handicap SUV?

Your best opportunity to find a new or used wheelchair-accessible van or SUV is your local mobility dealer. In your search, you will want to make sure that your local mobility dealer is a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Dealers Association). They are held to strict guidelines in selling and servicing mobility vehicles by being a member. Your local car dealer is not a member or a good source. If you are unaware of your local mobility dealer, you can visit NMEDA’s website to use their dealer locator.

Your local mobility dealer is also your best option for used wheelchair-accessible vehicles. A mobility dealer knows the differences in the types of conversions. They will be your best resource to which conversion type and configuration will work best for your needs, and which manufacturers have the most reliable products. They also know what to look for when reconditioning an accessible vehicle for sale. You will have the best chance of locating a more reliable, well-maintained wheelchair van or SUV from your local dealer. Plus, they will be here for you if you need repair or service. Check our current list of available new and used wheelchair-accessible vehicles for sale.

However, in addition to your local mobility dealer, you may find several other resources. Most of these can be found by searching for a wheelchair van for sale, handicap van for sale, handicap SUV for sale, etcetera in your web browser. Searching by those industry phrases will return a list of resources and vehicles for sale. Some may be for sale by the owner but beware of what you are buying and how it will work for your specific needs. We have often heard that customers who have purchased a vehicle from an individual have had significant issues or find the vehicle does not precisely address their needs.

Can I Finance a Wheelchair Van or Handicap SUV?

Yes, you can finance a wheelchair van or SUV. There are numerous options available if you know where to find them. Your local bank generally will have a hard time if they are not familiar with the vehicle type. However, most mobility dealers have financing available, most only one or two sources. At Superior Van & Mobility, we have six wheelchair van financing sources to provide our customers access to competitive rates.

Financing term options are generally available on wheelchair vans and handicap SUVs from 1 to 10-years. These longer terms allow buyers to spread the chassis cost and additional conversion cost across a more extended period. Rates are competitive to traditional lending sources.

Is There Help Available Paying for a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle?

If you need assistance in purchasing an accessible vehicle, contact one of our certified mobility consultants today or visit our links & resource page on our website. We have compiled a list of helpful links and resources, many of which provide grants and payment assistance for those unable to afford a handicap vehicle. You will find an extensive list of national and local organizations with programs available.

If you would like to receive a FREE consultation with one of our mobility consultants, please give us a call 1-877-545-1888, send us a chat below, or send us your question using the button above. 

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.

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