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Distinguished member
Sep 12, 2006
We are starting to look for vans. I want to know the must haves and the things to avoid. Thanks, Rhonda

If you search the forum for "wheelchair van" you'll get 60 hits; at least one of these is a thread devoted to the topic:


p.s. I bought a used Chrysler Town & Country lowered-floor Braun ramp van 2 1/2 years ago. I found it on the Internet in California, bought it from a private owner, had it shipped to Boston where I flew down from Newfoundland and took delivery and drove it home. It happened to come with hand controls which I didn't need at the time but now use daily. I am very pleased with it. It has a powered remote control driven ramp and side-door. My biggest problem was that it only had about 3 1/2" of clearance and I dragged it on curbs, driveways and snow. I solved the problem by buying big, 2" oversize SUV tires for it. I paid $15,000 US for it. I assume you live in Canada, Rhonda, and, if so, the dollar is now nearly at parity with its US counterpart so the American market for these vans is very attractive. Vans from the southern US are nearly rust-free and can provide good value. One caveat - if you are importing, ensure that the model you buy is cleared by the Canadian government for import. At the time I wanted to buy a Toyota Sienna rampvan but they were not authorized for importation. I believe they are now.
I have part time use of a 2005 Pontiac Montanna rear entry lowered floor van that has 4 Captain chairs with the chair sitting in the tunnel behind the rear seats. The ramp is manual and my wife has no trouble lifting it up or down as it is balanced quite well. We have not used it in the snow yet so we will see. It has the rear heat and air which is a must have. You do have to raise your voices from the front seat as it is a bit noisy in back.
We have a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan with a VMI conversion. The van 'kneels' and has a power operated side door & in-floor ramp. Front seats are removeable. (They are really easy to remove, I got the passenger seat out and into the house on my own.)

My husband drives up the ramp in his power chair and because the chair has very good turning radius he turns right into the passenger seat area. There are just the two of us so it was really important that he could sit up front next to me and have a good view ahead.

It is low to the ground so I don't know how it will be in the ice and snow. But city driving on clear roads is great.

Only disadvantage to the side entry is that you need space for the ramp to extend and to get the wheelchair clear of the ramp. But so far it has not been a problem for us. Love that van!
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