If you have a power or manual wheelchair, you might have to think about buying a converted van to accommodate it. There are plenty available, but you’ll need to make one central decision before you start looking: side-entry or rear-entry?
Both options come with their own pros and cons, but side-entry conversions are far more popular. Here are just five reasons why.
- Greater Headroom
Side-entry vehicles will have undergone a ‘lowered-floor conversion’. As the term implies, such a conversion involves bringing down the floor of the vehicle, which allows for added headspace. Power wheelchairs tend to seat the user higher up than manual wheelchairs, so that added headspace can be a real advantage.
- Better for Drivers
Are you going to be driving the vehicle instead of just being a passenger? If so, a side-entry model is definitely for you. When you enter at the rear of the vehicle, it’s impossible to get to the front. When you enter from the side, you can move yourself from wheelchair to driver’s seat without too much trouble.
- More Passenger Space
The vast majority of wheelchair-accessible vehicles are converted from minivans. One of the advantages that comes with a minivan is added passenger space – with three rows, most take up to eight passengers. A rear-entry conversion must remove the third-row, so you lose that space. A side-entry conversion only takes one seat from the first or second row.
- Up-Front Seating
Even if you aren’t going to be driving yourself, it’s still nice to sit up front. You’ll enjoy a better view, and you’ll be able to talk to the driver more conveniently. Side-entry conversions let you take the front-passenger seat.
- Greater Popularity
It’s always important to take popularity into account when you’re considering different wheelchair-accessible vehicles. You may want to sell your model eventually, and it’s going to be easier to find both a willing buyer and a good price if you choose a side-entry conversion.