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Old 03-31-2008, 11:10 AM
Location: Beautiful place in Virginia
2,679 posts, read 11,263,332 times
Reputation: 1349


My father was recently diagnosed with a malignancy that has affected his pelvis. It is unclear whether he will ever walk again so this is the purpose of the post:

I am going to take care of my mother and father so I want a vehicle that is comfortable for the family of 5 (Wife,kid, mother, father). However, I need something that can hold a wheelchair, too. He was a chef so I need space for grocery runs with the whole family, wheelchair and the groceries.

I am open to any recommendations on vehicles to purchase (we have a Nissan Pathfinder) that is 'cramped' at best. I am not a big fan of SUVs (I had a Ford Expedition and Mercedes SUV) given the height from the ground and difficulty for elderly and small children to enter. Additionally, the gas mileage on an SUV is appalling.

Aside from hauling the family, I don't do any 'utility' work. It would be nice to be able to use the 'cargo bay' to transport things on a rare or infrequent occassion (Flat Fold down seats would be best over removable ones).

I don't care for a DVD player (my kid has an IPOD Video) and built in navigation is not as good as the Garmin Nuvi.

My wife or I will drive. My father will never drive independently.

I would like Traction and Stability Control, Side Curtain Airbags for all passengers, and in floor storage.

I see the Town and Country and Honda Odyssey as the top 2 contenders.

I am thinking of a minivan or 'cargo van'? Any suggestions from a first hand experience? If there is a hybrid version, I will be open to that even more.

Last edited by titaniummd; 03-31-2008 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:24 PM
Location: Durham, NC
3,533 posts, read 10,080,630 times
Reputation: 2174
A wheelchair and a motorized scooter are two very different things. A wheelchair will fold up, is relatively easy to lift, and will fit just about anywhere. A motorized scooter is completely different. If you do use one, how do you plan to load it into the vehicle (you're talking about 250-300 pounds).
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:48 PM
Location: Floribama
18,462 posts, read 39,053,831 times
Reputation: 17939
I have a Chevy Uplander, and I also still have the book that came with it when it was new. There is a whole page showing an automatic lift seat feature. I don't know if it would help in your situation, but it's worth checking out.

Featured Adaptable Vehicles : Chevy Uplander - GM Mobility - GM (broken link)
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:57 PM
1 posts, read 3,783 times
Reputation: 10
Default Wheelchair Accesible Van

So sorry to hear about your dad. I work for a company in Naples/Fort Myers that does non-emergency transportation. We used to have Ford cargo vans - but switched over to Dodge Sprinters for several reasons. They run on diesel - which while costing more at the pump gets MUCH better mileage. The vans are preferred by the patients - as they ride much better, and have larger windows so that they are able to see well and not feel so much like they are in a cave. They have multiple configurations of removable seats - I have one of the smaller Sprinter vans - and I can fit (comfortably - including the driver) 7 adults and a wheelchair in the back. The lift is fitted in the back. These vehicles can be VERY pricy though. One of the advantages is that they do not have to have much modification to raise the roof/lower the floor - they can be used "as is".

My complaint about these vans is silly - although it may be more inconvenient if it is a "family" vehicle. The clearance on it is 10' - which makes it impossible to go through a drive through at a restaurant or bank. It's very high off the ground - so without assistance - some people have a hard time getting in and out (can be solved by installing steps).

Overall - the vehicle (which gets VERY heavy use) is reliable, needs very little maintenance, and seems much more cost effective than the older vans we had. After putting over 100K miles on the van I drive now - I have NO reservations recommending this to you.

(And with the current state of the economy - I suggest finding a used one - they might be plentiful now).

Also - contact Movin' On Mobility in Fort Myers - they may be able to point you towards some already modified vans that are slightly used. Unfortunately - many people purchase these vehicles - and then only use them for a short period of time....

Hope this was of some help.

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:58 PM
1 posts, read 3,760 times
Reputation: 10
I suggest contacting a local Mobility Equipment Dealer in your area. You can click here, [url=http://vantagemobility.com/dealers/index.aspx]VMI Dealer Directory[/url] and enter in your zip code. A list of dealers will appear and you can contact them to see what type of inventory they have for wheelchair accessible vans, and get some prices. What also will benefit, is to try and get your whole family together and try out different vans. All handicap vans are made differently and have different dimensions, room and features. What works for someone, may not work for you.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:24 AM
7 posts, read 51,179 times
Reputation: 11
I am sorry to read about your father. My DH has MS and prior to going into a powered wheelchair, we had a GMC 4x4 with a trailer on the back specifically made for carrying scooters or wheelchairs. I'd say the only negative was that in inclement weather, it wasn't very convenient.

Now we have a Dodge Caravan VMI conversion. DH still is able to drive so the driver's seat articulates backwards/forwards/turns to help him transfer into the seat from his wheelchair.

I hope you're able to find what will work best for you & your family.
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