New car suggestions for partially disabled man, please


#1

I write on behalf of a friend who many years ago lost his right leg and was fitted with a prosthesis. When he drives, he controls braking and acceleration with his [very strong] left leg and foot and props his prosthesis-fitted right leg on the front passenger seat. To do that, he has needed a car with a front bench seat and, most important, a steering column- or dash-mounted shifter, since he finds it impossibly difficult to lift the right leg over a floor-mounted shifter console. He’s currently driving a 2004 Sable but is looking for a new car and can’t find anything on the market that meets those requirements. Can anyone suggest an American- or foreign-made passenger car or small SUV that comes with a front bench seat and a shifter that’s mounted on the steering column or the face of the dashboard ? Many thanks.



Superannuated Crank


#2

Hmmm…A new car or a used car? You did not tell us which he is shopping for!

If he is looking for a used car, there will be many more choices out there, but the ones in particular that he should seek are Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis sedans (They are the same car, with only slight detail differences between them.) These cars have been made with essentially the same equipment for so many years that the bugs were worked out of them long ago and as a result, they tend to be quite reliable.

Also to be found on the used car market are various Buick sedans with bench seats.
Additionally, for a few years at least, the Toyota Avalon sedan was available with bench seats

If he is looking for a new car, I believe that the only possibility would be full-size Buicks. Ford has discontinued the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis.


#3

@VDCdriver Many thanks for the response. Friend is looking for a new car, although I suppose he’d settle for a recent vintage used vehicle.

superannuated crank


#4

Has he considered having hand controls installed? That would eliminate the need to get the prosthetic leg out of the way of the pedals, which would open his options to pretty much any car he wants. They tuck under the steering wheel.


#5

You can still get a Grand Marquis new, but they are closing down Mercury, so you won’t be able to get one new for too much longer. The plant doesn’t close until September 2011, I believe, but I’d bet that the Grand Marquis leaves production before then… there may not be a 2011 model, so what’s on the dealer lots now may be about all there is left…


#6

A good point; your suggestion is being forwarded to him and his wife. Thanks for the idea.


#7

I believe the hand controls idea was considered a long time ago and was found wanting. But I’ll pass that on to my friends and let them mull it over. Thanks for taking the time and effort to respond.


#8

One other is the Lincoln Town Car, also built on the CV/GM chassis.


#9

A small truck like the Range comes to mind. It’s getting neigh on impossible to find bench seating anymore. I think the Chevy Impala has a bench seat option with a column shifter.


#10

Many, many thanks to all who responded to my query. Disabled friend and his wife are considering all suggestions except the hand controls idea and will probably make their decision before winter sets in. If this thread is still alive when the decision is made, I’ll post the details here.

superannuated crank


#11

Any car on the Panther platform (Mercury Grand Marquis/Lincoln Town Car, you can no longer buy a Crown Vic new) or an Impala should be fine.

The Honda CRV has a shifter mounted on the dashboard. I’m not sure if it will work:


#12

Wow ! That’s an interesting layout Honda has on the CRV. I’ve just e-mailed friend and wife to call their attention to the photo you kindly included. I’m not sure it would work for friend, because of the bucket seats; on the other hand, if there’s no high center console between the seats it might be viable. Many thanks.


#13

I went to Japan a few years ago. This configuration is very common there, even on models we see here.