Why I Love My BraunAbility Toyota Sienna Hybrid Conversion Van
Since getting my first powered wheelchair at the age of four, my family and I have purchased multiple accessible vans. We even had an old minivan in the early years with just a couple of 2x4 wooden boards used as a makeshift ramp. My mom would have to lift me out of my chair and place me in a car seat, and then drive my chair up those two boards. All of this still had to be done in the rain, snow, and whatever else life threw at her. It wasn’t easy, but it was all we had. So, trust me when I say that I have had my fair share of accessible vans! As the years passed on, I tried the high-top vans, the mini vans, and even considered trying an adapted SUV. But never before have I been so pleased as I have been with my most recent purchase. I now have the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid with the BraunAbility conversion and wow, it is awesome!
The Toyota Sienna Hybrid with the BraunAbility conversion is far more spacious than I have had in the past. I can roll inside the vehicle thanks to the automatic foldout ramp and still have plenty of space inside for my Hoyer lift, luggage, shower chair, or all-terrain wheelchair to be in there as well! The best feature is that even with my all-terrain chair in there behind the driver’s seat, I can still roll in, turn to park in the front passenger’s spot, and lock into my restraint. This is so helpful when we are going on a road trip to the beach and want to stop, eat, use the restroom, and load back up. I can still get in and out without having to move out half the luggage! It has plenty of room to keep our suitcases perfectly positioned and I can get in and out as needed. The maximized interior space has a 59” turning diameter and when I am in the front seating area, it is extra-wide so that I can turn left or right a bit and see the sights along the way. The interior height is also amazing, as it is 60.5”. This provides plenty of space for headroom and for my caregiver to maneuver around inside the vehicle.
BraunAbility vs. VMI Vans
One of my favorite features about my van is that it hasn’t even scraped, dragged, or bottomed out on anything! In my old vans with the VMI conversions, I would cringe any time that I saw a speed bump, or hill in the road. I knew that we were about to experience the worst screeching sound in the world as we tried to roll over it. Trust me, it was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. The clearance was never enough and often, I felt like we may even teeter and get stuck in some places. But with this BraunAbility conversion, the ground clearance sits at 5”, and it has been a life changer for me. I now never even have to think twice about the hills and humps in the road because I am confident that my van can clear them with ease. I also love the safety features of this vehicle, as the brake lines are brand-new, uncompromised, and installed with no re-bending or recycling. This feature is definitely a plus for me!
Another feature that is super impressive with this BraunAbility conversion is the quietness of both the road noise and the motor. When you use the push button start, it is completely silent. It is so amazing how quiet this motor and battery is that you don’t even realize it’s running. You just know that it is cranked, and it is ready to go to the next adventure. While riding up the road, I find myself still wanting to try to yell over the road noise, but with this van it’s not necessary. My foldout ramp doesn’t rattle and the wind from the road is airtight and sealed off. My family and I can have actual, normal conversations without even yelling to each other and saying, “What?”, a million times. It is so relaxing, and the suspension and handling is smooth and easy. I love nothing more than riding in my van, tilting my chair back, and listening to the tunes on the radio as we ride on this peaceful journey.
Best-in-Class Wheelchair Ramp Conversion
I also can’t let you go without telling you about my foldout ramp. It is heavy-duty aluminum and guarantees rust-free durability. It easily deploys over the curbs, and it comes out and lays on top of them. This allows me to easily roll inside. The doorway and ramp width is plenty wide enough for my chair and I never feel like I am going to run off the edge with my tires. My wider all-terrain chair even makes it up it with ease, so there are no worries. The door opening width is 31” so this is even better than my old VMI conversion vehicles, which only had a door opening of 29.3”. That extra space really makes a difference. I also love the fact that the back seat has an easy-to-use full-length footrest. Not that I will need it, but my friends say that it is comfortable for them to rest their feet on. And when I come up the ramp, it can easily fold up and stow away when not in use, which allows for an extra turning radius.
As much as I travel, I like to be able to load my van with everything that I need for my journey. The Toyota Sienna Hybrid with BraunAbility conversion can safely carry an additional 22% more weight than accessible vans with a VMI conversion, due to the extra weight of an AWD chassis. This gives me peace of mind in knowing that I can always add that “one more thing” for my trip. And no matter where my travels take me, there’s a certified BraunAbility service technician at one of their 200+ dealer locations across the country.
So, what are you waiting for? With the purchase of the Toyota Sienna Hybrid with the BraunAbility conversion, a safe and relaxing journey is possible without any worries. Join me, and let’s hit the road in style, comfort, and durability. I can assure you that it will be the best decision you’ve ever made.