Which Vehicles Can Be Converted for Wheelchair Access?

You might be pleasantly surprised at just how many conversion options are available

One of the first concerns of customers in the market for a new or used wheelchair-accessible vehicle is selection. Before you can make an informed buying decision, you’ll want to know what vehicles are eligible for conversion — and, you just might be surprised at your options.

Wheelchair-Accessible Style to Match Your Personality

Not only can your handicap vehicle meet the demands of your lifestyle, it can be an extension of your unique personality. Here are the wheelchair-accessible body styles available for conversion:

Car. The primary concern with vehicles in this body style category is that the wheelchair user can’t enter or exit the vehicle while still in the wheelchair. However, replacing the factory seats with special powered seating can help to alleviate this challenge. Other details to note:

  • Hand controls — available in multiple configurations — enable the wheelchair user to drive the vehicle safely
  • Powered wheelchair lifts enable the wheelchair user to stow the mobility device in the backseat or the trunk
  • Assistive power seating rotates the user from the wheelchair to the car seat for comfortable riding

Minivan. As one of the more popular conversion options, the wheelchair-accessible minivan boasts versatility — offering the handling of a car with the space of a van. In addition, enhanced safety and fuel-efficiency factors make this an intelligent choice for a variety of lifestyles. Other details to note:

  • Side- and rear-entry conversion styles available to meet the needs of the wheelchair user
  • Removable front seat option expands the interior to accommodate two wheelchair users
  • Powered and manual ramps save time and energy when entering and exiting the vehicle

Full-Size Van. For those wheelchair users with families — or, with particular needs requiring a roomy interior — the full-size wheelchair-accessible van is a smart choice. The power of the full-size van engine coupled with the larger interior space gives this adapted vehicle a performance edge. Other details to note:

  • Side- and rear-entry conversion styles available to meet the needs of the wheelchair user
  • Motorized lifts can replace the ramps to assist wheelchair users in entering and exiting the vehicle
  • Front or rear cargo holds on the exterior of the van can support a full-size power-chair

Pick-Up Truck. Despite it’s nontraditional status, the adapted pick-up truck is an option for those wheelchair users that appreciate the flatbed design. The compact interior resembles closely the feel of a car — and, offers many similar advantages and challenges. Other details to note:

  • Hand controls — available in multiple configurations — enable the wheelchair user to drive the vehicle safely
  • Powered wheelchair lifts enable the wheelchair user to stow the mobility device in the backseat or the trunk
  • Assistive power seating rotates the user from the wheelchair to the car seat for comfortable riding

Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV). Another nontraditional option for adapted transportation, the wheelchair-accessible SUV is typically a built-to-order item that is wholly customizable. While it lacks the interior room of the minivan, it does offer the ability to get into and out of terrain that might be a bit too rough for a car suspension. Other details to note:

  • Power platform lift transports the wheelchair user into the back behind the front seats before retracting underneath
  • Wheelchair tie downs ensure a safe ride, with a variety of attachment designs to maximize comfort and stability
  • Customization options are available to reduce the perception of an adapted vehicle

For more information on wheelchair-accessible models and options, contact one of our knowledgeable, compassionate mobility specialists — either by phone at 800-391-1518 or using our convenient web form — and, we'll be happy to answer all of your questions.