Best cars for wheelchairs

Need the best wheelchair-friendly car but don't want to compromise? We've rounded up the best options using data sourced from the RiDC

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Dec 11, 2020

There are all sorts of adaptations that can be made to cars to make them wheelchair-friendly. These cars, which are known Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), are specially converted to enable a wheelchair user to travel as a passenger or a driver.

Although many of these cars are available through the Motability scheme, we’re focusing on cars - available new and used - that are best suited to wheelchair users straight from the factory. Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair-friendly car for you or a family member, BuyaCar offers a range of vehicles that could be suitable for your needs.

To select the best cars for wheelchairs, we’ve used guidance from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC). The UK charity has fact sheets showing the measurements, photos and accessibility features of more than 1,700 vehicles. It takes into account seat heights, headroom, door openings and boot sizes, listing cars that can take an unfolded standard wheelchair.

RiDC used a wheelchair measuring 1,200mm in length and 700mm wide, plus a sitting height of 1,350mm and height of footrest above floor of 150mm. We used this information to pull together a list of the best estate cars, SUVs and people carriers for wheelchairs which can be purchased via the BuyaCar website.

In all cases, you’ll benefit from five seats, even if you’re carrying a folded or unfolded wheelchair. Please note: WAVs aren’t available via the BuyaCar website if you're looking for a specifically adapted vehicle.

Best cars for wheelchairs

1. Renault Megane Sport Tourer

Used deals from £9,795
Monthly finance from £174

There are many factors working in the Renault Megane Sport Tourer’s favour when judged as a car for wheelchairs. Firstly, you can fit a wheelchair in the boot, regardless of whether it’s folded or unfolded. Although there’s a slight drop from the loading lip to the boot floor, the sill is only 598mm off the floor, making loading the boot easy.

The driver and passenger doors open to an impressively wide 72-degree angle, while the soft suspension makes the Megane feel comfortable on the move. Air-conditioning, Bluetooth and a digital radio are fitted as standard, while some models get an impressive portrait-style touchscreen media system.

RENAULT MEGANE SPORT TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Kia Carens

Used deals from £8,200
Monthly finance from £149

The Kia Carens is one of the most practical and versatile relatively compact cars you can buy. It also offers excellent value for money on the used car market, not least because it’s backed by a seven-year warranty, so chances are you'll get plenty of warranty cover, even if you get one for well under less than half the original price.

You also get seven seats, including a middle row that slides backwards and forwards, as well as being able to recline. The rearmost row of seats is pretty tight, though, so don't expect to fit adults in these. A folded or unfolded wheelchair will fit in the boot in five-seat mode, but not when the third row of seats are in use.

The tailgate opens to reveal a large and wide opening, with access aided by a low loading lip. You’ll also appreciate the ‘hidden’ storage area under the boot floor.

KIA CARENS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Used deals from £7,999
Monthly finance from £166

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso demonstrates that style and substance do mix. Nearly a decade on from its launch, it remains one of the most stylish family cars you can buy, with seating for seven. We’d recommend a post-2016 example, as these are powered by more efficient engines and come loaded with improved technology.

Open the tailgate, which is electric on some versions, to reveal van-like luggage capacity in five-seat mode, with loading aided by a boot sill that’s only 680mm off the ground and perfectly flush to the floor of the car. A folded or unfolded wheelchair will fit in the back when five seats are in use.

CITROEN GRAND C4 PICASSO BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford Galaxy

Used deals from £10,998
Monthly finance from £193

The Ford Galaxy goes one better than many rival people carriers by offering enough space for a folded wheelchair, even when all seven seats are in use. You’ll have to fold them down if you’re carrying an unfolded wheelchair, but that’s not unusual for a car of this size and type.

Launched in 2015, the Galaxy is one of the most spacious and versatile cars you can buy. Visibility is excellent, the doors open wide, and there’s a decent amount of legroom in the third row. Even the basic Zetec model boasts an eight-inch touchscreen media system, parking sensors and dual-zone air-conditioning, making this an appealing option.

FORD GALAXY BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Hyundai Santa Fe

Used deals from £14,380
Monthly finance from £220

Although this version of the Hyundai Santa Fe (2013-2018) has been replaced by a newer model, it remains a fine choice for anyone in search of a practical SUV. Purchase a Santa Fe registered after 2016 and you’ll benefit from the remainder of Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

The car will need to be in five-seat mode for carrying a folded or unfolded wheelchair, but the doors open to a wide 65-degree angle, so access to the cabin is good. There’s also a generous amount of headroom and legroom for the driver when getting into the car.

HYUNDAI SANTA FE BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Seat Alhambra

Used deals from £13,390
Monthly finance from £198

This is one of the best wheelchair-friendly cars you can get. There are so many good reasons to recommend it, not least the fitment of sliding rear doors, which are electric on all but the entry-level version. They can be opened and closed via buttons on the dashboard, the door pillars and keyfob for extra ease.

Seven seats come as standard, with each one offering enough space for an adult to sit in comfort. Crucially, a folded wheelchair will fit in the boot, even in seven-seat mode, but you’ll have to fold the third row down to carry an unfolded wheelchair. There’s also a completely flush loading lip, which is just 675mm off the ground.

SEAT ALHAMBRA BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Honda CR-V

Used deals from £8,489
Monthly finance from £162

Launched in 2018, the latest version of the Honda CR-V blends practicality with a long list of standard equipment and, if you opt for the hybrid version, decent fuel economy. It’s also one of the safest and most reliable cars of this type.

It makes our shortlist due to the fact that the boot is large enough to carry a folded or unfolded wheelchair. The boot sill is also just 668mm off the ground, so lifting the wheelchair into the boot shouldn’t be too much of a chore. It’s easy to get in and out of the cabin, thanks to doors that open to a very wide 90-degree angle.

HONDA CR-V BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Skoda Octavia

Used deals from £7,240
Monthly finance from £144

Even the hatchback version of the Skoda Octavia is spacious enough to carry an unfolded wheelchair in the boot. That said, the estate version is even more versatile, thanks to the wide tailgate opening and the lower boot lip. Either way, this is one of the most spacious cars in its class.

Another selling point for both of these cars is that, whether you go for a hatchback or estate, they offer great value, meaning that you should be able to get a relatively new and well-equipped car for your money compared with other similarly sized models.

Remember to check out the RiDC database for more information on wheelchair-friendly cars. Each car comes with a fact sheet detailing information on legroom, headroom, door sill height, boot dimensions and the height of the boot when measured from the floor to the top of the bumper. Once you’ve selected the best car for a wheelchair, come back to the BuyaCar website for the best deal.

SKODA OCTAVIA BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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