Searching for a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), whether it be for yourself or someone you love, can often be confusing. With the wide variety of different types, styles and sizes available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose, and more importantly, which one will best meet your specific needs. Here at WAVS GB, we understand this and have put together this brief, helpful guide to advise and support you in choosing a mobility vehicle that is 100% right for you.
There are several different types of wheelchair accessible vehicles, each with their own different features and benefits. Depending on what it is you are looking for, here are some things you’ll want to consider when choosing a wheelchair accessible car.
The first thing you should think about when it comes to buying wheelchair accessible vehicles is size. How many people will regularly be travelling in the car? If you travel a lot, you may need to ensure there is space for any luggage and additional equipment that needs to travel with you. As with any car, the smaller vehicles are usually the cheapest, so it is worth factoring this in when making your decision. At WAVS GB, we stock mobility vehicles that range in size from three and four-seaters such as the Renault Kangoo Expression or the Fiat Doblo Multijet, to five and even six seater vehicles such as the Volkswagen Maxi Life or the Peugeot Expert Tepee Independence SE. Our vehicles go from small to medium WAVs, up to family size, so you are bound to find one that is the right size for you.
As with any car, deciding whether you’ll need a manual or an automatic drive vehicle is important. We stock both manual and automatic WAVs, giving you the choice as to what suits you the most.
There are four main types of wheelchair accessible cars: rear passenger, ride-up-front, drive from wheelchair and transfer seat. Here, we will go through each in a bit more detail to give you an understanding of the differences between each vehicle type.
The rear passenger style of WAV allows the person using the wheelchair to access the vehicle from the rear, remaining seated in their wheelchair at the back of the vehicle for the duration of the journey. These are usually the more budget-friendly option for travelling with a wheelchair.
It may be that the person using the wheelchair would prefer to ride in the front of the car, to allow them to chat more easily to the driver as well as view the road ahead. In these types of vehicles the person would still enter from the rear of the car, but sitting in the front passenger position, rather than the back. Whilst this may be preferable, it does also mean the loss of a seat in the back of the car to make way for the wheelchair to gain access to the front, so it is worth taking into consideration if there will be more passengers using the car.
Some WAVs include different adaptations that can allow the person using the wheelchair to drive from their wheelchair. These adaptations can be very expensive. For more information, contact a member of our team who can advise you. Usually, cars requiring such adaptations will have to be converted by a separate specialist car conversion company.
Some accessible cars can be fitted with seats that swivel, facilitating easy transfer from a wheelchair into the seat, while the wheelchair can be stored in the back of the car.
Apart from the transfer seat option, most wheelchair accessible vehicles will need to be accessed via a ramp or a lift. These often need to be added or specially converted, as most WAVs are not built with them attached. Any conversions needed should be taken into account when budgeting for a mobility vehicle. At WAVS GB, we have the ability to modify vehicles to suit your needs, just inquire with one of our team for more information.
There are three main types of wheelchair ramps for cars. Firstly, the standard manual ramp, which is usually attached with a hinge and folds out from the back of the car. This is the least expensive type of ramp. Second, the mid-folding ramp, which folds in two and can be easily stored away, leaving a clear view through the rear window. Finally, there is the hydraulic assisted ramp, that folds out easily for quick loading and unloading.
It may be the case that extra help is needed when a person in a wheelchair is getting in and out of the car, in which circumstance, a lift might be the preferred option. Lift options include a rear platform lift which is powered using a remote control; or a side entry lift, which acts as a platform that lowers and rises from the side of the vehicle.
Many of our WAVs come with an electronic, remote controlled winch, making it easier for the person using the wheelchair to get up and down the ramp safely.
If you’re unsure whether you can afford a brand new vehicle, you could think about cutting the cost by buying a second hand, used car. We offer high quality used wheelchair accessible vehicles for sale. Browse our range, or speak to one of our team about our used vehicles. All our vehicles are serviced with a 200 point inspection and are given a new MOT on delivery.
Whenever you are considering buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle, it, of course, goes without saying that you’ll first need to consider your or your loved one’s needs. Ensuring the vehicle is comfortable and suitable is of utmost importance.
Fortunately, we offer a free home demonstration with all of our vehicles, so that you or they can try before you buy, making sure the vehicle is absolutely right, before paying a single penny. For more information on this, contact one of our WAVS GB team today. We also offer Live Chat, so that you can speak with a helpful representative right now to have your questions answered.
WAVs GB has over 35 years of experience in the accessibility vehicles and wheelchair car industry, providing services to users across the UK. We stock a wide range of different types of wheelchair accessible vehicles at our showroom. Our expert team are always on hand to offer advice, so do not hesitate to get in touch on 01761 471540 if you have any questions, we are happy to help.