Handicap accessible SUVs are in their infancy. Poor gas efficiency and restricted interior space make SUVs the least viable candidate for wheelchair/scooter conversion. Though SUV modification technology may improve in the future, as of 2013 only the driver’s side or front-passenger side of an SUV may be modified for accessibility.
Rather than a power sliding side door standard on most minivans, the side doors of SUVs typically modified for wheelchair accessibility vary by manufacturer. Some have a gull-wing door that lifts up rather than swings out; others have rear side doors that open outward from the front. A ramp or power platform lift transports the person in a wheelchair or scooter into the accessible SUV in either the driver’s seat or front-passenger seat. Once inside, the ramp or platform lift retracts and stores under the vehicle, and the wheelchair user takes either the driver’s position or the front-passenger position and locks the chair into place to prepare for travel. The biggest “con” for an accessible SUV is its lack of fuel efficiency.
Read more about optional handicap van features, including transfer seats and hand controls!