Determining the Best Wheelchair Vehicle for You
This section will help you determine the best wheelchair vehicle for your specific needs.
Pros: You'll find ample interior space, great gas mileage, ease of parking, an extended 4" ramp to negate the need for a kneeling system, easy transfer in/out of driver seat for wheelchair van drivers, indoor wheelchair storage, fast in/out with ramp for wheelchair passengers, and that's just for starters. Walk-through seating is another bonus—people can move around the van cabin smoothly. Sliding power doors open and close the door for you. Minivans offer a lower point of gravity than the SUV, decreasing the chance for a rollover, and they have a higher weight capacity than an SUV. The biggest reason minivans stand out? In a word, price. A wheelchair minivan is significantly less expensive than a full-size SUV with comparable interior space, and they're one of the least-expensive vehicle classes to insure. Finally, the minivan handles more like a car than a truck, making operation less complicated.
Cons: Not available for extra-wide (30"+) or extra-tall (57"+) wheelchair users.
Pros: Mobility cars look great and have potentially better gas mileage than handicap-accessible minivans. Parking is simple, and if you only need hand controls, you can drive sport cars.
Cons: Often the entire trunk or back seat is taken up by the wheelchair, and you can't just roll in and remain in the chair.
Full-Size Handicap Van
Pros: Full-size handicap vans offer a lot of interior space and are useful for extra-large wheelchairs wider than 28" or weighing more than 500 lbs. (with the chair and person combined). This is achievable with a raised roof or the floor lowered six inches.
Cons: Full-size vans are somewhat difficult to park and require more gas. If the floor isn't lowered, the wheelchair user can't see out the windows.
Wheelchair Conversion Van with Kneeling System
Pros: Optimal for tall wheelchairs with headrests exceeding 54" and wide wheelchairs exceeding 28". Vast interior space for storage or passengers.
Cons: More gas required. Raised roof may prevent the vehicle from fitting in your garage.
Disability Accessible Truck
Pros: Trucks are useful for those who need to transport a lot of equipment, hitches are available for use, and you won't look like a soccer mom if you live in Texas.
Cons: Expensive to convert. Transfer is done outside the vehicle while you are exposed to the heat or cold. Requires more gas.
Pros: The SUV is great for style and interior space. The SUV is an off-road vehicle with 4-wheel drive that is useful for extreme snow conditions.
Cons: Typically gas efficiency is not as great as mobility cars, minivans, and trucks. The transfer device is very expensive, and typically you won't have a ramp to easily enter and exit the vehicle.
Pros:The MV-1 is specifically designed as a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, requiring only one warranty, rather than a warranty for the base vehicle and another for the modification only, and this vehicle includes several adaptive "bells and whistles".
Cons: The price can exceed that of a used adapted minivan by thousands, and the mileage per gallon (MPG) can be less than an accessible minivan.
The MV stands for mobility vehicle, and it's the first vehicle designed and built from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility. Neither an SUV nor a full-size van, the American-made MV-1 debuted in 2011, and, because it’s the first handicap vehicle built exclusively for the purpose of wheelchair accessible transport, it is in a class by itself. Using recommendations from wheelchair users and caregivers, MV-1 designers created a car with enhanced structural integrity, an anti-slip ramp surface and ramp lighting, a wider side-deployable ramp and entry way that is beyond Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, and a few other disability-focused enhancements.
Pros: Operate from your wheelchair with handy drive in/out motorcycle seating.
Cons: Driver and wheelchair are exposed to the weather. There's no storage space, no passenger room, it's not safe in an accident, and it's difficult to turn the motorcycle.
Still not sure if an AMS wheelchair van is right for you? Consider trying one of our handicapped van rentals to help you decide. We're confident that you'll love our mobility vans!