Side-Entry vs. Rear-Entry Handicap Vans: Which is Right For Me?

One huge consideration when it comes to picking out your wheelchair accessible vehicle: the side-entry wheelchair ramp vs. rear-entry wheelchair ramp decision. This is a big purchase you're about to make, and you need to consider it from all angles. Each entry option has its pros and cons, and we'll walk you through the two.

The Low-Down on the Side-Entry Wheelchair Van

The side-entry vehicle is the more popular of the two options. It is a lowered-floor conversion, allowing for more headspace for comfortably fitting a passenger in a wheelchair into the vehicle. Side-entry vehicles typically have removable front seats, allowing the wheelchair user to ride in the front passenger spot or actually drive the van. They can house both foldout ramps and lifts or the infloor ramp, and a center cut conversion is available for the side-entry as well.

Popular models featuring the side-entry are the BraunAbility Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Pacifica, the Honda Odyssey, and the Toyota Sienna. Typically this conversion is a bit more expensive than the rear-entry option.

A Closer Look at the Rear-Entry Handicap Van

The rear-entry wheelchair accessible vehicle features a foldout ramp and has a lowered center cut area for the wheelchair. This offers more interior space, allowing for bigger wheelchairs to fit. However, the wheelchair cannot get to the front seat positions, meaning they cannot drive the vehicle or ride as a front-seat passenger.

Both entry types can utilize either manual or automatic ramps or lifts. Typically the rear-entry is the less expensive conversion of the pair.

Important Questions To Ask about a Wheelchair Van

It is important that you speak to your mobility dealer about both entry styles to make sure you get which one is right for you. Important questions to ask are:

  • Will my wheelchair fit in this vehicle with this entry?
  • What position do I want the wheelchair to sit in the vehicle?
  • Will the wheelchair user be operating the vehicle?
  • Will there be an attendant to the wheelchair user when the vehicle is in use?
  • What are the most important things for me in my wheelchair-accessible vehicle?

The most important step in making a choice is meeting with your mobility dealer and getting your questions answered. Everyone is unique, and your BraunAbility dealer knows the questions to ask to make sure we find you the perfect vehicle to fit your needs.

Just Starting Your Search for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles?

This step-by-step guide helps you identify what kind of vehicle is right for you based on your lifestyle, budget, and style. Take our lifestyle quiz to find out what wheelchair accessible product is right for you. 

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