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Which car manufacturer is best for wheelchair accessibility?

While we all have our favourites, some of us are more married to our automobile manufacturer than others. Are you one of those who puts a great deal of store in their car’s badge, or is it all about the best deal?

Car manufacturers have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves for keeping us coming back for more, whether it’s with loyalty discounts, maintenance services or those unique features that we just can’t live without. But when it comes to wheelchair accessibility, the main question we tend to find ourselves asking is: do they actually seem to care?

Weighing up WAVs

No two wheelchair-accessible vehicles are the same, and it can be hard to compare unless you know what you’re looking for. A lot of manufacturers offer models ideal for wheelchair accessibility conversions, but some have a wider range than others.

We’ve gone through some of the most popular options across the UK – is your preferred brand included?

Ford Tourneo Custom WAV

Ford

Ford buyers are supposedly the most loyal in the world – stats show that 61% of their customers are repeat buyers. Their experience in manufacturing large, reliable vehicles that can accommodate a lot of people also means they have many models ideally suited to wheelchair conversions and accessibility adaptations.

For example, our range includes wheelchair accessible conversions of the Ford Tourneo, Grand Tourneo and Ford Transit, but the Ford Galaxy people carrier is also a popular choice for vehicle adaptations thanks to the ample space within, and the fact that some models are available on Motability.

So, if you or the driver in the family is an avowed Ford loyalist, there’s plenty to pick from.

Fiat

While Fiat is largely known for its small cars – such as the classic Panda, or more recently the Fiat 500, the Fiat Doblo and Qubo are both popular choices in its larger range for wheelchair conversions, with both also handily available on Motability.

As larger cars go, the Qubo is actually relatively compact – high and short, it really is almost cube-shaped. Ideal for city driving, but less useful if you want to accommodate extra passengers alongside a wheelchair.

Vauxhall

The Vauxhall Zafira was one of the most popular vehicles for a WAV conversion for a long time, but the fact that it was discontinued in the UK in 2018, with various safety issues leading to recalls in the years since, means that its popularity even on the used market is starting to wane.

That being said, the new Vauxhall Combo looks promising. This award-winning vehicle is a as robust as it is stylish and benefits from an efficient, class-leading engine, smart safety features and automatic emergency braking.

Cartwright Mobility will be adding the Vauxhall Combo to our range within the first half of 2020.

Kia

The Kia Soul is an interesting wheelchair accessibility option – one of the few smaller hatchbacks seemingly designed with conversions in mind, while managing to be a bit less boxy in look and feel than the Fiat Qubo.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Soul isn’t available under Motability anymore.

Renault

Renault’s reputation for practical family cars made in a more adventurous style is well-deserved – but when it comes to something practical enough for a wheelchair, the options become a bit more limited.

While the Renault Master is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair conversion comfortably, it may be too large for everyday driving.

VW

We’re a big fan of the VW Caddy Maxi, and offer a ready-to-go conversion in our range. Combining ample wheelchair room with plenty of space for passengers too, it packs a lot into its frame – which is a little bit longer but a lot narrower than the Galaxy.

Arrange your WAV test-drive

Just like with any car, the best way to figure out if it’s right for you is by taking a test drive. Get in touch today to talk to the Cartwright Mobility team – if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for we can also make a few suggestions and sort out a demonstration and test drive with a WAV that we think would be right for you.

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