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Choosing a WAV

When you're choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), think about all the same things you do when you're choosing a standard car as well as specific features. You may need to compromise and decide which features are most important to you.

General considerations

When choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), ask yourself the following questions:


  • Will it fit on your drive or in your garage? Think about the space required to use the ramp/lift
  • Will it be easy to drive in traffic and on the roads you normally drive on?

Safety and security


  • What's the price?
  • If you're buying it yourself, what's the resale value likely to be?
  • What will it cost you to insure?
  • What's the fuel consumption like?


Comfort and convenience

  • Can you get in and out easily?
  • Can you use the controls?
  • Is it quiet and smooth when you're driving?
  • Is there good visibility for everyone in the vehicle?


  • Is there room for all the people and luggage you want to carry?
  • What about times when you might want to carry a lot of luggage or equipment (like on holidays)?


  • Does it have everything you need?
  • What about air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows, satnav, central locking and other add-ons?


  • Does it give you reasonable speed and acceleration?
  • What about braking, ride and handling?

Specific considerations

More specifically, when choosing your WAV, think about the following questions. Many of these questions can only be answered by trying out the vehicle.

Getting in and out

  • Will you choose a ramp or a lift?
  • Will you have someone to help you?
  • Can you get in and out without hitting your head or having to duck?

Travelling position

  • Where will your wheelchair sit?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows OK?
  • Will you be able to talk to other people easily?


  • How will you secure yourself and your wheelchair?
  • How will you secure any equipment you use to get in and out?
  • How will you secure anything else (such as an unattended wheelchair, luggage, equipment)?


  • Can you rely on the equipment you use to get in and out?
  • What happens if it breaks down?
  • Are there manual overrides for any powered equipment?
  • Is there a suitable dealer nearby for servicing your WAV?

Build quality

  • Different conversions have been built to different standards, so some will be more comfortable and less noisy inside than others
  • Noise can really affect your travelling comfort, so be sure to check this out before buying

Safety warning

Many adaptations involve moving the fuel tank and/or making it smaller. This means you can't go as far on one tank. Sometimes it also affects the reliability of the fuel gauge. Be sure to ask the converter about this.

Our other information can help you:

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research.
This information is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products.

Last updated: August 2018

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