A Concise Shopping Guide for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs)

If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair to get around, you will concur that one of the most tasking aspects of your life is using an ordinary vehicle.


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Citroen Berlingo XL

If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair to get around, you will concur that one of the most tasking aspects of your life is using an ordinary vehicle. It is true your wheelchair enables you to get around confined spaces, but when it comes to longer distances, you start realizing myriad challenges, especially in regular commuting.


Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV) as a Godsend

Well, you are in luck because modern technology now offers you a way out of your transport conundrum through specialized Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) from Automotive Group UK. These are specially modified vehicles that allow you to use your wheelchair inside the car without any need for transfer to the vehicle’s seats.


A WAV is ergonomically fashioned with your needs in mind irrespective of the original car size, shape and design. To fully appreciate how WAVs can help make your life easier, you need to consider the extensive engineering that goes into adapting these vehicles. There are various WAVs to choose from in the AG range of WAVs.


Take a look at some categories of these specialized vehicles:

  • Passenger accessible WAVs: Though The Automotive Group does produce both Drive-from WAVs and Up-front WAVs, the main line is passenger accessible WAVs. This is the most versatile and flexible and affordable WAV in the market which offers financial relief in today’s slow economy. Most car owners looking for WAVs do not have consistent income flow unless a compensation settlement has been made. Indeed, majority of all WAVs are leased through Motability where the wheelchair user exchanges their higher rate mobility allowance to lease the vehicle.
  • Drive-from WAVs: This is an expensive WAV option to produce due to a lot of modifications required thus they represent a very small sector of the WAV market.
  • Up-front WAVs: Engineering costs of adaptations that allow the wheelchair passenger access alongside the driver are very steep making them a small category in the WAVs market.


Automotive Group specializes in Passenger accessible WAVs because they are affordable to the end user. More importantly, they don’t need a lot of sophisticated modifications which would raise costs thus denying millions of wheelchair users travelling convenience.


Through this range of WAVs, you are able to travel in comfort without the accompanying hassle of transferring car seats, which is not only energy sapping, but also inconvenient.


During the last National Travel Survey on UK roads carried out by the Department for Transport in the 1990s, it showed over 437,000 such vehicles on the roads. Two decades later, several wars in between, natural disasters and thousands diverse accidents, the numbers of these cars on the roads are higher which and modifications are even more sophisticated to make commuting in a WAV a comfy experience.


Shopping for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)


While the importance of WAVs in modern UK society cannot be gainsaid, shopping for reliable vehicles to suit this function is easier said than done. If you are in the market looking for a WAV, you need to have a yardstick for selection to avoid buying a vehicle without any utility value.


Here are some factors to consider when you hit the market for a WAV:


  1. Physical Assessment

Before you even start thinking about a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, you must talk to your physician, therapist and a Certified Driver Rehabilitations Specialist (CDRS) or the Automotive Group National Team of advisors.


Indeed, some dealers and insurance companies will have to get this recommendation from these specialists before offering any assistance to highlight how important this aspect of shopping for a WAV is. Automotive Group uses its own assessment report to ensure you buy a vehicle that will serve you adequately.


  1. Accessibility


This is one of the most critical factors to consider when buying or leasing a WAV. At Automotive Group, the WAVs on offer are optimized to offer you comfort and accessibility. The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi manufactured by Automotive Group, which is considered the quintessential WAV in the market, demonstrates the efforts that go into enhancing accessibility. Take a look:


  • Low angle, wide entrance, lightweight access ramp with corresponding 50mm edge upturns to comply with WAVCA PAS and wheelchair manufacturers’ standards.
  • Ramp access enhancement through gas assistance or automation of both the ramp and tailgate.
  • Widest floor width for easy manoeuvring in the WAV. What’s more, with a full-flat lowered floor, you get more headroom.
  • Quick access allowance through sliding passenger doors,


  1. Marketing Research

If you are to make any reasonable purchase online, then you have to carry out dedicated research into the product. You need to read up on technology used in these vehicles, types of modifications and popular car models that can be modified.


Luckily, with Automotive Group, you have a WAVs manufacturer going to market on affordability with majority being available through the Motability lease scheme, which saves you thousands of pounds. This scheme is comprehensive and covers maintenance, tyres, insurance and towing and recovery services.


You also need to learn about types of WAVs, insurance for WAVs, buying options and any other pertinent information. When making your purchase, you will base this decision on hard facts and not emotions, and you can bet this vehicle will serve you longer and offer a better commuting experience.


Space and Size

When buying a WAV, you must consider space and comfort inside the car. Automotive Group, the most established Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle manufacturer in the UK, supplies products with European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). This means size, space, safety and comfort form the core of Automotive Group UK WAVs.


It is important to appreciate that your wheelchair will take more space and if you will be travelling with other family members, the WAV you buy must offer everyone sufficient room.


Factors to consider include the number of passengers you expect to be travelling with, height of your wheel chair and other equipment you might need to carry as space has to be created for this too.


Evaluate WAV Features

Your vehicle’s functionality is only as good as the features that are incorporated inside. When shopping for your WAV, make sure you consider what you really need for you to enjoy every second in your car. Features to lookout for include seating arrangement in order to give room for your wheelchair

Accessibility features including lightweight rear access ramps and lifts to help you access your car easily. The gist of a WAV is in making things easy for you and as such, all features and modifications must be primed for such efficiency and excellent performance.


Lifestyle Assessment

At the end of the day, you are going to be using the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, which means you need a car compatible with your lifestyle. Consider how regularly you travel, average distances covered, and type of transmission you are comfortable with, either manual or automatic, and activities you will be using your car for, say shopping and work related issues.


WAVs Company Selection

A thumb of rule when leasing or buying WAV is to never rush this decision because reversing it is not only costly, but also inconveniencing. Indeed, the National Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters’ Association (WAVCA), in a study carried out in 2013, reckons that 78% of WAV buyers make decisions in a rush only to go back for more costly modifications from adaptation companies.


Your prudent buy starts with selection of a reliable, reputable, experienced and resourceful dealer. You must look for a company that has been in existence for years because this assures you they are leveraging such experience to give you impeccable service and incredibly innovative WAV solutions.

The conversion company you choose must be reputable to assure you of professional services during the adaptation and after. You can verify this by reading reviews and testimonials, seeking referrals and, of course, checking with the Consumer’s Association and even local Better Business Bureau (BBB), though it is not mandatory in the UK.


More importantly, make sure you buy European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval and National Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters’ Association (WAVCA) and Motability approved vehicles. These standards include static and dynamic testing, assuring they are built with the same standard as all other cars supplied.


In the end, you will never be disappointed if you choose a company that’s reputable because they are working hard to retain high standards by selling only the best WAVs.


Leveraging Technology

Year in year out, the automobile industry is witnessing amazing innovations, and if you are looking for a dependable car, then make sure you buy one that capitalizes on technology. Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are made safer, more reliable, more efficient and more accessible using the latest computerized technology.


Automotive Group UK, for the last 38 years, has leveraged technology and comfort, which is evident in its wider ramps, sound proofed and carpeted interiors and engineering expertise that maintains original vehicle integrity including finishing and character.


When you are shopping for your vehicle, you should never compromise on this as it makes your life easier while also giving you more value for every coin spent.


When looking for a WAVs dealer, make sure they have National Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters’ Association (WAVCA) approval to guarantee quality and professional conduct during the sale process. It is also critical to choose a dealer based on their versatile range of vehicles on offer. Some will offer used WAVs, nearly new cars and even lease vehicles all to suit your needs.


When it comes to shopping for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), make sure you do your homework to help guide you on the features to look for in a modified vehicle. This ensures you buy a WAV that fully meets your needs and lifestyle.


It is time you called up Automotive Group UK for a wide range of WAVS, consultation services and of course unlimited learning resources to ensure you make an informed choice.

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