Wondering what are the best wheelchair accessible vehicles are for 2016? Adaptive equipment and technological advances have inspired the auto industry to create modern wheelchair accessible vehicles. Most auto companies strive to meet or exceed the vehicle guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Automakers focus on features such as an integrated in-floor ramp, wide door openings and five feet floor-to-ceiling height. Wheelchair users will be excited to learn more about the best wheelchair accessible cars for 2016.
Mobility Ventures 2016 MV-1
This vehicle was designed from the ground up. It exceeds all ADA vehicle guidelines and comes in a variety of models. The standard in-floor ramp and power door package allows seamless wheelchair access with the touch of a button. The two-stage power ramp allows the user to choose between a long or short length for each individual use. The short ramp provides a 1:4.4 slope while the long ramp measures 1:6. In addition, the spacious flat floor makes it easy for wheelchair users to reach a comfortable driving position.
2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV
This modified Ford Explorer will be available for purchase and will reach dealerships this fall. Key features include increased interior room, an automatic ramp, removable passenger and driver seats plus sliding doors. The new design has created convenience and comfort for drivers and passengers. It also allows the option for the driver to remain in their wheelchair at all times.
2016 Ford Transit Connect
Key features include standard flex flat ramp that folds when not in use, 800-pound ramp capacity, rear wheelchair entry into the vehicle, rear liftgate swings out of the way for convenient entry and holds up to 6 passengers including a wheelchair.
How to Choose a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Wheelchair users have individual requirements to drive safely. The auto industry has created a variety of wheelchair accessible vehicles including SUVs. BraunAbility has made it possible for the industry to adapt specific models into luxury cars for wheelchair users. For example, in 2014 BraunAbility was involved in designing three wheelchair van conversion options for the Honda Odyssey. This allowed wheelchair users to choose from models such as the Braun Honda Power, VMI Honda Northstar, and the VMI Honda Summit. Each model has a variety of specific modifications to suit the needs of wheelchair users.
When choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you will want to know your specific needs. Writing down the specific requirements is recommended. Bring this list along with you to the dealership to assure all of your needs are met. Keep in mind whether you plan to drive independently or be a passenger. Most 2016 models allow for the driver and passenger seats to be removed for either option. This is excellent for those who have an attendant and also like to drive by themselves from time to time.
Side or Rear Entry
The preference depends on the user. While previously accessible models have focused on a rear entry, 2016 models offer side entry. Both are convenient options. Remember side entry vehicles will require spacious parking at every destination you choose. Most ramps are automatic and need ample room without hitting into the car parked next to the parking space. The side entry is increasingly becoming popular among wheelchair users due to the convenience and easy access to the driver area.
A spacious interior is one of the most popular requests for wheelchair accessible vehicles. A car can have every luxury available, but if it doesn’t have space to maneuver easily, it is a big issue. Wheelchairs come in all shapes and sizes. As a wheelchair user, you will want to test the space inside the vehicle to assure it is accommodating for your wheelchair. One model might be perfect for a manual wheelchair user while another is better suited for a power wheelchair user. Practice entering and exiting the car a few times to assure the space is adequate for you.
Test Drive the Vehicle
During your test drive, you should look for comfort, safety and driving ability. Some accessible SUVs are better suited for winter conditions compared to others. If you live in a state that experiences harsh weather conditions such as snow, ice, rain, deep puddles, harsh wind, and hail, you should choose a vehicle that is capable of withstanding all weather conditions safely.
If you have a companion or attendant who drives you to all of your destinations, make sure you bring them along on your search. It’s wise for them to make a list as well to assure their needs are met. Attendants are usually concerned about space, handling of the vehicle and specific accommodations to make wheelchair users comfortable. Removable seats are one of the most popular requests from companions and attendants.
The sense of freedom to drive wherever you want empowers many users. If you enjoy traveling frequently by vehicle, you will need to keep this in mind when choosing your new vehicle. Frequent long distant driving is best suited for durable vehicles that require little maintenance. Inquire with the sales agent regarding gas mileage and other travel related topics.
The 2016 wheelchair accessible vehicles will become available at dealerships this fall. Get prepared to test drive a variety of models to find the one perfectly suited to your needs. Remember to bring along your list of requirements to assure you make the correct choice. Always keep in mind the amount of use and gas mileage when considering a wheelchair accessible vehicle.