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Buying a Wheelchair Accessible SUV

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  • #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.

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    • #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.

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      • #18
        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.

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        • #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.
          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
          c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
          sponsored handcycle racer

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          • #20
            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, 10:58 AM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by GinoL View Post
              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. 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 will 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.
              new are only 2500 now i believe??
              Bike-on.com rep
              John@bike-on.com
              c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
              sponsored handcycle racer

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              • #22
                Yes, that's true because Explorer was very close to exceeding the GVWR with the 1500 when setup for 7 passengers
                Last edited by GinoL; 02-21-2019, 10:13 AM.

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                • #23
                  Last year when I was looking, I was trying to get away from a minivan, I *really* wanted to get the Braun Explorer. I had rolled up into the PVA(I think) one that went around earlier, and it was a nice low ramp angle and easy roll up to driver area with no seat(drive from chair setup). I finally talked a local shop to put a transfer seat in driver spot, as that is what I use now and like in my minivan.

                  As I was afraid, it was just too tight, not enough roll area between back and front seats for the maneuvers needed to line up for a transfer. I did it, but it was a major p.i.t.a. Even though things get easier thru repetition, I just did not see it ever getting easy enough, to not piss me off every time I transferred.

                  Seeing as how petite you are, that could make a difference, I'm in an 18x18 Ti zra, so I need more room. But you would never be able to have people in the back seat with your chair there, maybe 1 on one side if you moved chair to edge. And there is not enough room in the back for a rigid chair.

                  As Rojo said, the only thing I didn't like was the gear shift setup, I can see it being a rattletrap thing going down the road.
                  "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"

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