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Thread: Buying a Wheelchair Accessible SUV

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Domosoyo View Post
    We are looking for a new vehicle right now too. SUV is first choice. The Honda Pilot is out for us because it only comes with a manual ramp as of right now. So, we are going to drive the Braun Ability Ford Explorer. Those really are the only two major players in SUV conversions with in-floor ramps.

    Also, regarding the comment above about Rollx....they only have Dodge/Chrylser minivans so that wouldn't be of interest to you.
    FYI: We had a major incident with our current Rollx van that I will add details about in an upcoming post. It is very disturbing. I strongly suggest anyone in the hunt for a van NOT consider Rollx.
    The first link KLD posted has a Pilot with an automatic ramp, FYI.

  2. #12
    I have had the Braun Ability Ford Explorer since November 2016, and have over 50,000 miles on it. Absolutely love it! We test drove a Honda Pilot last year. Didn't like it at all because it did not have kneel and the doors with the manual ramp were super heavy. We are going to keep our current Explorer for another 2 years and then get a new one.

  3. #13
    I'll never go back to a minivan. After 15 years of minivans, my Ford Explorer is absolutely wonderful.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mwheelz2 View Post
    Little bit of background. I was born with Spina Bifida (L2 para) Been a full time wheelchair user since I was 3. I got my driver license a few years ago. Been driving a Ford Focus hatchback with Hand controls and have a Tilite wheelchair. Well long term wheelchair use coupled with a weak core and I?m a very petite female (5ft 95 lbs). Lifting my chair on a daily basis is just too much strain on my back and shoulders. I am just starting to look into a vehicle that I can just roll right in and transfer to the drivers seat. I?m really not ready or think I need a van. I?m looking into some type of an SUV. Any tips how to make the purchase the most cost effective..I?m in sticker shock right now. Or an personal stories of things to keep a eye out that a sales person might not tell me? Can I take a used Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer and get it converted with a ramp after the fact? Total newbie in this territory looking for some guidance how to go about this purchase. My local mobility works has bee servicing my hand controls in my Focus. but they are totally in it fior making the sale and not looking out for my needs so I really don?t trust what they say when it comes to this purchase. Any help or advice how to get this started would be appreciated!
    You dont mention cost of budget and for some that is a major concern.

    You can get an SUV and they handle much better then a mini van but at a cost with less space.

    Plus SUV are very expensive.

    So if cost is a factor stick with a mini van, you can get good deals and there is a dealer in Arizona that saved us about $25,000 buying used low miles vs new no miles.

    https://www.azmobilitycenter.com/use...r-sale-phoenix

  5. #15
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    The Pilot isn't a good conversion IMHO. The door is super heavy and you need to open the passenger door as well to get in.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  6. #16
    Can a wheelchair driver use the SUV? Would like to get into a SUV but leery as I've heard space is a problem. I use a wheelchair with a ZX1 attached and transfer into the drivers seat.

  7. #17
    As a two-wheeler couple we have used full size Ford vans for years, equipped with a lift, power door openers, two power seats, hand controls. However, on several occasions we have checked out mini vans in showrooms as well as those owned by wheeler friends.
    At a time when I had excellent arm strength I was only able to get up the entry ramp with considerable effort. Forget trying to carry something on your lap. Later when my arm strength weakened (I'm Polio), I was unable to get up such a ramp at all.

    Now that I'm an oldster, I own and use a zx1 scooter whenever I go out. Since getting the scooter about 5 years ago, we visited another mobility showroom (waiting for a maintenance check up on our Ford van), where I easily scooted up the entry ramp in a mini van.
    Speaking for myself, it's doubtful a wheeler couple could fit and maneuver in a mini van, etc., but maybe if we both were seated in our chairs up front. That would be cost prohibitive, so we stick with our van. As Patrick Madsen said, one can use ZX1 to scoot up the mini van ramp then transfer to the driver's seat.

    There appears to be a decent market for used mini vans, etc. I would not just check a mobility dealer, but search on-line. I'm sorry the names of sites don't come to mind. Boulevard.com may be one and Disabled Dealer another.

    Strongly suggest you visit several mobility dealers and try to get up the ramped vehicles. In addition you may want to look at the ZX1, a very useful piece of equipment (easily and quickly attaches and de-taches to rigid frame chair) to help maintain independence, especially if your arm strength/shoulder health is diminishing.
    Hope you post your progress as this topic can be confusing and frustrating for many folks.

  8. #18
    Senior Member RoJo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjo View Post
    I have had the Braun Ability Ford Explorer since November 2016, and have over 50,000 miles on it. Absolutely love it! We test drove a Honda Pilot last year. Didn't like it at all because it did not have kneel and the doors with the manual ramp were super heavy. We are going to keep our current Explorer for another 2 years and then get a new one.
    I wouldn't wait 2 years to replace your Explorer. The 2020 next generation Explorer will have rear wheel drive. Don't see how a lowered floor will be possible.

    I have a Toyota Braun minivan. I tested an Explorer. The door is narrower but wide enough, barely. The inside seemed like it was tighter than my minivan but was surprisingly just as maneuverable. As a tall person visibility out the front from my power chair was a little restrictive. I like the exterior look because raising the body to allow for the lowered floor looks more natural on an SUV than a minivan.

    I don't like the funky movable gear shifter in the Explorer. For a similar cost to that adaptation they could have just installed a push button transmission selector. Would take up less space and look better.

    Can't remember the name but there is a power device designed to pull manual chairs up minivan ramps.

  9. #19
    same here with the ramp to steep. mini's are to small for us since we carry our bikes etc. i love the full size. not a huge issue parking either. our next will be full size ford or mercedes i think.
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    As a two-wheeler couple we have used full size Ford vans for years, equipped with a lift, power door openers, two power seats, hand controls. However, on several occasions we have checked out mini vans in showrooms as well as those owned by wheeler friends.
    At a time when I had excellent arm strength I was only able to get up the entry ramp with considerable effort. Forget trying to carry something on your lap. Later when my arm strength weakened (I'm Polio), I was unable to get up such a ramp at all.

    Now that I'm an oldster, I own and use a zx1 scooter whenever I go out. Since getting the scooter about 5 years ago, we visited another mobility showroom (waiting for a maintenance check up on our Ford van), where I easily scooted up the entry ramp in a mini van.
    Speaking for myself, it's doubtful a wheeler couple could fit and maneuver in a mini van, etc., but maybe if we both were seated in our chairs up front. That would be cost prohibitive, so we stick with our van. As Patrick Madsen said, one can use ZX1 to scoot up the mini van ramp then transfer to the driver's seat.

    There appears to be a decent market for used mini vans, etc. I would not just check a mobility dealer, but search on-line. I'm sorry the names of sites don't come to mind. Boulevard.com may be one and Disabled Dealer another.

    Strongly suggest you visit several mobility dealers and try to get up the ramped vehicles. In addition you may want to look at the ZX1, a very useful piece of equipment (easily and quickly attaches and de-taches to rigid frame chair) to help maintain independence, especially if your arm strength/shoulder health is diminishing.
    Hope you post your progress as this topic can be confusing and frustrating for many folks.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
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  10. #20
    Senior Member GinoL's Avatar
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    Beware if you decide to get a full size Chevy Explorer 1500 Conversion van and add a lift, transfer seat base, hand controls and power door openers your total curb weight will be about 6750 lbs depending on your actual mobility equipment weight. The GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) on the 1500 is 7200 lbs. This only leaves you with 450 lbs for passengers and wheelchair. Exceeding the GVWR may result in your insurance claims being denied if you are in an accident. You are much better off going with a 2500 version with a GVWR of 8600 lbs depending on the year.
    Last edited by GinoL; 02-21-2019 at 10:58 AM.

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