Which Mobility Vehicle is Right for You: Minivan, Full-Sized Van or SUV?

If you or a loved one is in the market for a handicap accessible vehicle, you probably have tons of questions about which type will be best for you.

Mobility vans increase the independence, freedom and comfort of those living with mild to severe physical disabilities. They come in a huge variety of types, sizes and designs in order to fit each passenger’s specific needs.

Typically, larger vehicles such as SUVs, minivans or full-sized vans will be best for handicapped accessibility. All three types will have their own benefits depending on what you’re looking for. This article will give you an overview of the differences between the three types of mobility vehicles and give you a better idea of where to start your search.

Owning a mobility vehicle is a liberating experience you will not want to miss if you live with a disability. If you’re a caretaker or family member to someone who needs handicap accessible transportation, you will find an increase in the happiness and well-being of your loved one.


Our Price
$132,995
Retail Price
$134,995
Mileage

441
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13534

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Our Price
$132,995
Retail Price
$134,995
Mileage

421
Stock #

13513

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Our Price
$86,995
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$89,995
Mileage

16,395
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13543

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Our Price
$45,995
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$48,995
Mileage

30,185
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C13558

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$55,995
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$58,995
Mileage

81,535
Stock #

13551

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Our Price
$124,995
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$126,995
Mileage

23
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13454

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Our Price
$132,995
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$134,995
Mileage

417
Stock #

13350

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Mileage

12,022
Stock #

13553A

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Mileage

16,395
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Mileage

35,064
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13548

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Mileage

12,497
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13536

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Mileage

11,785
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13541

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Mileage

20,920
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13510

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Mileage

59,152
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C13511

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Mileage

56,072
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13490

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Mileage

401
Stock #

13495

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Mileage

111,636
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13350B

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Mileage

10
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13401

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Mileage

421
Stock #

13367

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Mileage

6
Stock #

13371

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Mileage

59,179
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13350A

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Mileage

102,013
Stock #

13334A

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Mileage

9,261
Stock #

13334

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Mileage

430
Stock #

13301

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Mileage

34,174
Stock #

12500

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Mileage

40,061
Stock #

12516

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Mileage

6,466
Stock #

12400

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Mileage

30,349
Stock #

12612

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Mileage

911
Stock #

C13317

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Stock #

12010

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Mileage

1
Stock #

12449

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Mileage

3
Stock #

EXTUVL

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Mileage

14
Stock #

11732

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Mileage

14
Stock #

1284

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Mileage

3,210
Stock #

12180

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Mileage

3,691
Stock #

11216

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Mileage

3,691
Stock #

11216

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Mileage

4,800
Stock #

11706

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Mileage

5,309
Stock #

11700A

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Mileage

7,785
Stock #

12389

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Mileage

8,989
Stock #

12416

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Mileage

11,484
Stock #

11724

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Mileage

14,245
Stock #

12487

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Mileage

17,568
Stock #

12047

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Mileage

17,679
Stock #

11852

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Mileage

23,163
Stock #

11566A

Availability: SOLD

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Mileage

25,419
Stock #

12061

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Mileage

26,063
Stock #

12111

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Mileage

28,828
Stock #

11442

Availability: SOLD
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Mileage

28,887
Stock #

11900

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Mileage

30,031
Stock #

11328

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Mileage

31,514
Stock #

11884

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Mileage

37,031
Stock #

11131

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Mileage

38,058
Stock #

12007

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Mileage

42,424
Stock #

12282

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Mileage

43,454
Stock #

11758

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Mileage

44,744
Stock #

12114

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Mileage

46,735
Stock #

11620B

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Mileage

47,191
Stock #

12299

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Mileage

48,056
Stock #

11449

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Mileage

49,943
Stock #

11744

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Mileage

50,516
Stock #

11722

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Mileage

59,208
Stock #

11261

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Mileage

65,913
Stock #

11677

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Mileage

66,603
Stock #

12307

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Mileage

67,724
Stock #

12277

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Mileage

73,965
Stock #

12048A

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Mileage

86,109
Stock #

11570A

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Mileage

94,582
Stock #

12174

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Mileage

57,369
Stock #

13272

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Mileage

393
Stock #

13301

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Mileage

51,615
Stock #

13251

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Mileage

7,671
Stock #

13276

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Mileage

43,166
Stock #

13048

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Mileage

45,945
Stock #

13063

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Mileage

95,769
Stock #

12648A

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Mileage

70,106
Stock #

12486

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Mileage

29,656
Stock #

12648

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Mileage

45,556
Stock #

12640

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Mileage

425
Stock #

12679

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Mileage

24,531
Stock #

12720

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Stock #

12679A

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Mileage

41,089
Stock #

12682A

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Stock #

12953

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Mileage

12,636
Stock #

12929

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Current vans for sale

Handicapped minivan

handicapped-minivan

Wheelchair minivans are the most commonly used handicap accessible vehicles on the market. They provide just enough space to hold a wheelchair comfortably and their sleek and easy drivability make them highly desirable. Handicap minivans are fuel-efficient and come with extremely high safety ratings. Makers such as Dodge/Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Toyota produce some of the safest minivans on the road.

One of the reasons handicapped minivans are most commonly produced is due to their ability to add features that can help wheelchair users with just about any disability. Wheelchair minivans can be modified to have rear-entry or side-entry equipment lifts. Depending on what the specific health needs are for the passenger with a disability, a minivan can be adapted to serve just about any purpose.

Wheelchair minivans also come with sliding doors. This is a big help when exiting or entering the van on a wheelchair.

Full-sized handicap van

full-sized-handicap-van

One really nice benefit to a full-sized handicap van is their space! Full-sized mobility vans can hold not only the passenger in the wheelchair, but also the rest of the family or friends, too! Additional passenger seating is extremely useful if you plan on using your van to transport more than just the person with the disability and their caregiver.

Another benefit to driving a full-sized wheelchair van is how much cargo room they offer. Wheelchairs can be considerably large and bulky.

What if the passenger requires additional equipment such as a breathing machine or heart monitor? A full-sized conversion van will allow ample space for this extremely important machinery.

Additional headroom in full-sized handicap conversion vans allows passengers increased comfort in the interior cabin. If you plan on using your van for longer trips, such as vacations or family visits, a full-sized van may be the way to go.

Full-sized conversion vans also have the ability to hold double-post lifts. Since wheelchairs can be extremely heavy, depending on the size of the passenger, you may need to purchase a stronger lift. Double post lifts are for wheelchairs that weigh up to 800 pounds. If you think your wheelchair may exceed the weight range of a standard lift, you will likely need a full-sized van that can maintain this type of lift.

Entering and exiting with a wheelchair is typically pretty easy in a full sized wheelchair van. However, be aware that if your van has doors that don’t slide, you may run into problems in confined spaces, such as certain parking lots.

Wheelchair SUVs

wheelchair-suvs

Sport utility vehicles are the least common of the three types of larger sized vehicles that can be made mobility accessible. SUVs such as Ford Explorers are recently starting to be converted for wheelchair use. While SUVs may be sleeker and more compact, they offer the fewest benefits for handicap users. SUVs tend to be smaller, allowing only room for a wheelchair passenger who plans on driving the vehicle or sitting in the front passenger seat. In rare cases, a smaller mobility impaired passenger such as a child can sit in the second row.

Another downside to a converted handicapped SUV is the safety factor. SUVs are known for tipping over more easily than vans. Depending on the weight of the wheelchair, this may or may not be more of a safety liability.

The drivability and parking of SUVs is typically easy. However, remember when you open your doors you will need plenty of space to exit the vehicle using your lift. You may have difficulty entering or exiting the SUV in more confined parking spaces.

One last thing to consider if you’re looking into a wheelchair-equipped SUV is the type of lift you will need. For safety reasons, only side-entry lifts are possible in most SUVs. If you or a loved has a disability that requires more equipment, you will most likely need a rear-entry lift.

Overview – Comparison chart

  Good for heavy equipment Good for numerous passengers High safety standards Ability to use different types of lifts Ease of entering and exiting lift
Minivan
Limited Limited Yes Yes Easily
Full-sized van
Yes Yes Yes Yes Limited
SUV
Limited No No No Limited

Additional tips for purchasing a mobility vehicle

  • Your vehicle must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Requirements. National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an excellent resource to check out to ensure the vehicle you’re looking at is up to these standards. NMEDA is dedicated to the professionalism and safety of reliable mobility equipment for drivers and passengers with disabilities.
  • When looking at a used or new wheelchair van, never hesitate to ask as many questions as possible. Doing some research beforehand can help prevent you from ending up with a vehicle that is not right for you.
  • Test! Test everything the vehicle has to offer—hand controls, lifts, rear or side entry ramps, everything. Make sure the interior space is suitable to your needs, and if you plan on driving, the steering wheel access is comfortable. Take the vehicle out for a test drive. Take careful note if the van feels as if it is rocking, making noises or has other troubling sounds.
  • Check to make sure that the van’s electrical system is heavy duty enough for the equipment you will be requiring. If you require a lift system, the chassis must be built to maintain that amount of weight.
  • Carefully examine the interior for any loose panels, rusting or faulty welding.
  • Always examine the warranty to make sure conversions have not voided the document.
  • Many states offer disability van grants or loans. For example, California offers an AT Loan Guarantee Program. The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) and California Assistive Technology Exchange (CATE) administer guaranteed loans for people with disabilities who need transportation. Go online to see what financing is available, or discuss your options with one of the helpful sales associates at Classic Vans.

Finding vehicles

There are several ways to go about finding a car dealer with the proper inventory for your needs.

  • Contacting local dealers in your area can help point you in the right direction to finding who is selling mobility vans.
  • The Internet is a great resource for finding handicap and mobility car dealers. If the vehicle you are wanting is not in the area, many dealers have special programs to help get you the car you want to your location.
  • Again, contacting your health care provider or larger physical therapy offices in your area will sometimes yield specific referrals.

Let Classic Vans help you find the perfect mobility van!

We hope this article sheds a bit of light on some of the differences between handicap accessible SUVs, full-sized conversion vans and minivans. Once you decide which type of vehicle is best for your situation, be sure to research the different types of lifts and equipment you will need as well.

The following articles are a great place to start:

Classic Vans, located in Hayward, California, specializes in helping customers find the perfect new or used wheelchair vans. We offer both full-sized and minivan mobility equipped vehicles.

Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly mobility van experts and let us help you find the perfect affordable disability vehicle for you!