Side Entry vs. Rear Entry Handicap Vans

Are you looking to purchase a handicap van, or convert an existing one to allow disabled access? Buying a reliable vehicle is only the start of the choices you must make. If you want optimum mobility, then you need to consider side or rear entry options.

Both of these options have pros and cons depending upon how you wish to use the van. Below, we give our lowdown on side and rear entry vans.

Side Entry Pros

Side entry vans tend to be the preferred choice in today’s current market. The reason for this is that they allow more flexibility when deciding upon the floorplan of the van, and can allow more seats for passengers or space for wheelchair users. They often utilize a lowered floor conversion, giving more headspace for the wheelchair user.

Entering from the side is also essential if a wheelchair user is a driver. By having a designated strapping system, with a good floorplan, the driver should be able to get themself into position easily. Many side entry vans have removable front seating, so the user can easily be a front passenger or driver.

Side Entry Cons

Side entry requires good side clearance. If you are looking for a parking space, you may struggle as bays are not designed to have space for wheelchair users to maneuver between parked cars. If you plan to be going to places where disabled bays are few and far between, then it may be a problem.

In addition, the floorplan required can impact the space available in the vehicle. This is particularly true if you want to house a number of passengers who are in wheelchairs.

Rear Entry Pros

Rear entry vans are popular due to the ease with which they can park. They often have a powered ramp at the rear, so wheelchair users can easily enter and exit the vehicle wherever they park. This factor should not be underestimated if you plan to travel to urban areas where it may be hard to find spots with good side clearance.

Interiors can be modified, with a lowered center cut area to allow more headspace and access for larger wheelchairs. A rear entry also tends to be a slightly less expensive conversion option.

Rear Entry Cons

The cons of rear entry are the limitations it places on your vehicle floorplan. The majority of the cargo area will be made of the space for the wheelchair. Although it often tucks away, you also have the motorized ramp which may get in the way as well.

In addition, the wheelchair user can only be a passenger. They do not allow access to the driver’s position, so a wheelchair user can not be the driver. Instead, a wheelchair-bound driver should use side access.

Discuss It With an Expert

If you are considering side and rear entry vans for the first time, then discuss it with a professional to ensure you make the right choice. The Ability Centre has a proven track record and expertise in delivering high-quality mobility products. Contact us today with any of your queries, so we can help you elevate your quality of life with a handicap van.

Revability Toyota Sienna rear entry wheelchair van