BraunAbility recently introduced two new vehicles: the Toyota XL van and the MXV Ford Explorer SUV with “Tilt N’Go” seating. The Tilt N’Go feature allows either front seat to be tilted forward, which expands the maneuvering space needed for positioning a power wheelchair or other mobility device in any location in the vehicle.
The Toyota XL extends the van’s length by 6 inches to provide more wheelchair maneuvering space and room for additional passengers in the rear seat. BraunAbility is also offering a Chrysler Pacifica van, pointing out that it has features and interior space that will accommodate larger wheelchairs; unlike other caregiver vehicles, it also has a power ramp available.
Several modification companies are advertising their efforts to create more interior room in minivans, which are slightly smaller but will accommodate power wheelchairs. There are also several vehicles on the market that are described as “caregiver” vehicles because they are accessed by manual ramps or may not accommodate drivers who want to remain seated in a wheelchair to drive.
Despite that, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association points out it has more than 600 members in the United States and Canada, and that manufacturers continue to improve the safety and convenience of accessible vehicles and accessories that have been around for years. In 2018, they are also introducing accessibility in some new vehicles that have not previously been modified.
With spring arriving in most of the northern hemisphere, people are putting away their winter gear and looking forward to getting outdoors and traveling to areas that might have been covered in snow a short time before. Many people also shop for new vehicles or make improvements to those they own at this time of year, but shopping for an accessible vehicle has changed over the last few years.
Mergers and consolidations seem to be the trend when it comes to mobility equipment. Many of the companies that sold or modified vehicles in the past have given up their independent status and now share a corporate name and identity with their peers across the country.