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january 25, 2018
The 5 best cars for people with disabilities
 
We've selected 5 cars that all have different features that makes them best in class for certain adaptations or uses. Whether you're walking or an active wheelchair user or even a carer for someone passive, this is a good place to start.
What is it that makes a car a good choice for a wheelchair user or a person with disabilities? Well, that depends on the abilities of the user. Most cars can easily be fitted with solutions such as hand controls, pedals and hoists. Swivel seats, wheelchair lifts and ramps all have different requirements that makes certain cars more or less suitable. In the end, it's all about your abilities and your needs.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the best choice for one person isn't always the best choice for someone else. Don't buy a car before talking to your vehicle adaptation technician.

 

Ford C-Max
A comfortable car for both driver and passenger

The Ford C-Max is a great choice for passengers using swivel seats or a Carony-type wheelchair. A wide and high door gives your plenty of room to comfortably use a seat lift. The ample luggage compartment has room for large wheelchairs and even some mobility scooters.

Price point:
$$$

Alternative:
Volkswagen Sharan (slightly less favourable door opening)

Suitable adaptations:
Hand controls, pedals, seat lifts, Carony-type solutions and wheelchair hoists

 

Mercedes-Benz V-Class
For the independent driver with a large family

The Mercedes-Benz V-Class has the best seating capacity combined with good measurements for a driver's side seat lift. A total of 7 passenger seats and great big luggage compartment makes this our choice for the independent driver with a large family.

Price point:
$$$$$


Suitable adaptations:
Hand controls, pedals, seat lifts, Carony-type solutions, wheelchair hoists and wheelchair lifts

 

Volkswagen Caddy
Easy to enter / Best all-round car for adaptations

The height of the seat and the roomy door opening makes this car easy to enter, regardless if you're sitting down or doing a transfer from a wheelchair. It's also the most all-round car in the market today. Volkswagen were very generous with space when designing the Caddy which makes it possible to adapt with almost anything you can come up with. Since the Caddy is a good choice both in pre-adaptation and post-adaptation we see it as a future proof choice. You might not need a swivel seat to enter your car today, but if you do tomorrow, you can install one in your Caddy.

Price point:
$$


Suitable adaptations:
Hand controls, pedals, swivel seats, seat lifts, Carony-type solutions and wheelchair hoists

 

Toyota Yaris
For the city-living independent driver or passenger

The Toyota Yaris is small yet roomy car with a low gas consumption. Its door opening is quite large which makes getting in and out easier but also makes it a suitable choice for a swivel seat adaptation.

Price point:
$

Alternative:
Skoda Fabia

Suitable adaptations:
Hand controls, pedals and swivel seats

Photo by BraunAbility

 

BraunAbility Entervan
A powerchair user that is unable to transfer to or from a seat

If you are unable to transfer to and from your electric-powered wheelchair a lowered floor might be your only option. Lowering a floor is a big permanent alteration to the car that voids any OEM warranty. Companies like BraunAbility have a long experience in converting vehicles and offer good warranty and many thought through solutions. Also make sure your rear-entry or side-entry car comes with proper basic safety functions. Your car should at least have a 3-point seat belt, head and neck protection and a high quality wheelchair lock.

Price point:
$$$$

Alternative:
Lowered floor versions of Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner and Volkswagen Caddy

Suitable adaptations:
n/a
 
Conclusion
What can be achieved with vehicle adaptation is a combination of the car's design, your abilities and the available solutions. A high roof and wide door opening are things to look for in a car that's easy to get in and out of. Automatic transmission is pretty much a must when it comes to pedals and hand controls.

It's impossible for us to evaluate every single car manufactured, so don't be discouraged if you can't find your favourite car. Talk to your local vehicle adaptation technician, they will help you make the right choice that matches both your needs and desires.