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Looking for a New Vehicle

Ok, I’m in the market for a new vehicle, but I have a couple of problems in picking one:

  1. I’m handicapped. While currently I can get around with a cane, I will be needing to get around in a scooter in the not to distant future. I current have a scooter, but currently have no way to use it because it won’t fit into my current car without taking it apart first. I would like any new vehicle I get to be able to fit the scooter inside it.
  2. I’m a big guy, - 6’2" & 300+ - so I need a vehicle with a lot of head room, that’s easy to get into and out of, and is comfortable for a big guy to drive.
  3. Any new vehicle will likely have to be modified at some point to allow for brake and acceleration from the steering wheel column.

Given that, I realize I’m looking at like SUVs, Crossovers, Vans, & possible Trucks, but at this point I’m overwhelmed with the choices. So a couple of additional pieces of information maybe helpful.

  1. I live down South were seeing snow is a rarity, but not unheard and were the roads do Ice up from time to time in the winter.
  2. I drive like 98% of the time on just paved roads, only like 2% do I even have to go onto a dirt road.
  3. Most of the driving will be commuting.
  4. Given the choice, I’d prefer gas over diesel.

I want to open this up to any suggestion, because every vehicle I’ve look at so far has seemed to be good, but maybe not just right.

I think you should look at minivans (such as Dodge Caravan) that has already been converted for handicapped use, lift door etc. The controls in these vans work for conventional drivers and also have controls for those with handicaps. The lift door will allow for the scooter to be easily used now and later as you mobility decreases.

In the long run it is cheaper to buy a converted van now, rather than buy a regular car or van for conversion later on.

I have been thinking about Vans as well, which is why I’ve including them in the list, but which model, the Caravan SE, SXT, CREW, or R/T? What about the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Ford Transit or E-Series, Chevy Express (or wait for the City Express in 2014), GMC Savana Passenger, or Nissan Quest or NV. My head is spinning from all the options and choices, that I’m having a hard time making a decision about what would be a good choice and what would be a bad one.

Also, while I’m not pushing SUVs or Trucks per se, would they be good as well. I mention these because the major problem I’ve seen with them is just get ramp/lift to get the scooter into the back of them. Some SUVs would not be able to hold my scooter I think - even if modified and all the Trucks I’ve seen if a lift was installed on the back would hold my scooter - but then again I’d prefer to have a top over the back which would make fitting a scooter in the truck bed harder, as well as getting it out - maybe.

Part of the reason I have not included previously converted vans is I’ve already looked at like 20 or more used converted vans and they all seem to suffer from one of three problems.

  1. They are converted more for someone who is confined to a wheelchair.
  • I’m not confined to a wheelchair, but I will need a scooter to get around more.
  1. They are converted for someone much smaller than me, so driving is a pain.
  • Several converted Vans I could not even get behind the wheel with the seat all the way back.
  1. They are converted for someone who will be driven around by somebody else.
  • I’d like to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

Have you looked at the MV-1? It’s a wheelchair accessible van built from the start

They even offer a service where they’ll bring the car to you to test drive if you aren’t able to make it to a dealership yourself(white glove service)

Yes, actually I’ve been to a MV-1 Dealer, there are three problems. First, I could not drive a scooter into the MV-1 without hitting my head. Second, if you notice the MV-1 is really design for someone in a wheelchair who has somebody else to driver them around - there is no passenger seat. Third, with the seat all the way back, I can’t fit into the driver’s seat. Thus, the MV-1 is really not the Van for me.

HOWEVER, let me say up front, it is a really good Van for the disabled, and if I was totally confined to a wheelchair, I’d be all over it. Because I can still get around, I just need the scooter for things that most people take for granted like going to the mall, or to a fair or anything that takes a lot of walk, or even some walking.

I did read a bit on their site that said they could modify hand controls for the steering wheel so the wheelchair person could drive the vehicle.
But, yeah, if you’re hitting your head trying to get in, then it wouldn’t be a good vehicle for you

One more problem with the MV-1 : they (VPG) are bankrupt. Another DOE-backed company bites the dust…


Yes they told me that they could do that as well, but a two things, even without the change to the steering column I still could not fit behind the wheel - though I guess if they could lower the seat and move it back then that would work and I would hit my head driving a scooter into it, the MV-1 is really design more for a person confined to a wheelchair who has some around assisting them.

I’m not confined to a wheelchair, however the result of a car running a stop sign years ago has left me crippled - with my right foot twisted to almost a 45 degree angle to the right. Long trip puts a lot of stress on my legs and they begin hurting really bad. Even short trips can be a problem. Plus, because of my legs doing something as simple as … like going to a movie, is a major problem.

I would really like a Van or whatever that I can transport a scooter, and other people. Then be able to get the scooter out, and use it even if I’m by myself.

Are there handicap organizations and/or forums that can help with this selection?
I’m not scooter-bound, so anything I could say would be just an uneducated wild guess. One is usually better going where there’s a wealth of experience. :slight_smile:

I would hope they have found something by now.

I have GOT to get used to looking at those dates! :confounded:

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