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WAV Vehicles – Rear vs Side Entry

If you have already done your research and you are in the process of looking for a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), you might be wondering whether you should opt for a side entry or rear entry vehicle.

The answer will depend entirely on your own personal circumstances and/or the circumstances of the wheelchair user, if this is not you.

Side Entry wheelchair accessible vehicle

If the wheelchair user will need to access the vehicle from the side door, they will either be the driver of the vehicle, meaning they will transfer from the wheelchair into the driver’s seat, or they will transfer into the front passenger seat from their wheelchair.

Accessing the vehicle from the side door means that the wheelchair user will have to transfer from their wheelchair rather than stay seated in their wheelchair during the car journey.

Side entry Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle benefits:

  • Ease of Access – side entry, like any other vehicle, does not need to factor in additional parking space, especially when using street parking. Parking in public car parks would need extra consideration in that there would need to be space left to both sides of the car (most disabled parking spaces have additional room available around the car).

Rear Entry Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

If the wheelchair user cannot leave their wheelchair, you will need to opt for a rear access vehicle with a ramp, so the wheelchair can be wheeled into the rear cabin area of the vehicle and the wheelchair user can remain seated in their chair.

Rear entry Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle benefits:

  • Additional Freedom – rear access wheelchair accessible vehicles allow wheelchair users to remain in their chair during the car journey, allowing additional freedom for those confined to a wheelchair or who have difficulty transferring from their chair.
  • Ease of Use – transferring the wheelchair and the user into the vehicle is easier than ever thanks to the rear ramp that provides access to the cabin area.   

Considerations to make

There are different considerations to make when it comes to choosing between a side entry and a rear entry wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Will the user need to stay in their wheelchair?

If the wheelchair user needs to stay in their chair, a rear entry wheelchair accessible vehicle is best suited to your needs, so you can transfer the wheelchair and the user into the car via a ramp. The wheelchair will then be tethered for safety.

Will the wheelchair user be driving the vehicle?

If the wheelchair user will be driving the vehicle, you will need to opt for a side entry wheelchair accessible vehicle as rear entry WAVs only have space for the wheelchair in the rear of the vehicle rather than the front.

How many passengers will you need to transport?

With rear entry wheelchair accessible vehicles, seats are removed to make space for the wheelchair to sit comfortably and safely in the rear of the vehicle, so there’s less room for passenger seats. Most rear entry wheelchair accessible vehicles do have either 3 or 4 passenger seats, so they can usually accommodate the whole family easily.

If you are ready to upgrade to a new wheelchair accessible vehicle, speak to the knowledgeable team here at Wholesale Car Company who would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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