Ivan Nelson

What Are Wheelchair Accessible Vans and Why Does Dodge Make Wheelchair Vans?

Written by Ivan Nelson. Filed in About Dodge Wheelchair Vans

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Dodge has re-branded itself over the course of the last few years. They’ve gone from building a reputation as a “something for everyone” automaker to a producer of high-performance, high-capacity trucks and passenger cars with a “muscular” edge.

Even with that change in focus, Dodge continues to produce its Caravan and Grand Caravan minivan. It also produces a compelling full-sized van, the Dodge Sprinter. These vehicles are often converted to serve as wheelchair accessible vans.

Wheelchair Accessible Vans

The term “wheelchair accessible van” refers to any vehicle that can be customized for use by a person utilizing a wheelchair. In many cases, it applies to full-sized vans, but it can also be used to describe properly converted minivans, SUVs and crossovers.

Popular Dodge Caravan Wheelchair Van Side Entry

Popular Dodge Caravan Wheelchair Van Side Entry

In order to make a wheelchair van accessible, after market conversions are usually required. Conversion professionals adjust vehicle height by raising roofs and lowering floors. Adjustments to door height may also be necessary. Turning a “stock” vehicle into a wheelchair accessible van will usually involve installation of a ramp or lift and may include a number of other customizations, as well.

Dodge Wheelchair Vans

Dodge produces two different models that have tremendous popularity in the world of wheelchair van conversion: The Caravan/Grand Caravan minivan and the Sprinter full-sized van. That makes Dodge one of the few manufacturers that offer both minivan and full-sized options that have achieved high levels of popularity within the wheelchair conversion world.

The Caravan has been a popular Dodge wheelchair van choice for several years. It was one of the first high-quality minivans and conversion experts started working with it since its first incarnation. Over time, it’s developed a strong following and has been a canvas upon which many conversion artists have worked.

2008 Dodge Caravan

2008 Dodge Grand Caravan Braun Entervan handicap van rates highly with disabled drivers

The Sprinter is Dodge’s most recent entrant into the full-sized van market. Although it isn’t specifically designed as a wheelchair van, it’s an obvious choice for conversion. That’s particularly true of the high roof Sprinter package, which includes additional clearance and other features that make wheelchair van conversion easier than it is with most “right off the assembly line” vehicles.

2006 Dodge Sprinter with side entry lift

2006 Dodge Sprinter with popular lift side entry

Why Is Dodge Making Wheelchair Vans?

Strictly speaking, Dodge isn’t making wheelchair vans. Their making multiple vehicles that are easily converted into Dodge wheelchair vans by professionals who specialize in these modifications such as VMI, Braun and Viewpoint. That’s a market necessity. It just wouldn’t be profitable for Dodge to handle full conversion as part of its assembly process and the number of individual variables involved in conversion would further complicate the process.

Dodge wheelchair vans modified by professionals such as VMI, Braun and Viewpoint

Dodge wheelchair vans modified by professionals such as VMI, Braun and Viewpoint

Dodge is producing both the Caravan/Grand Caravan and the Sprinter with wheelchair accessibility in mind, however. They’re fully aware that their minivan is frequently converted to wheelchair van use and that knowledge undoubtedly influences design choices. Meanwhile, the Sprinter is available with package options that scream, “Dodge wheelchair van.”

Dodge continues to produce these popular wheelchair van options because they’ve been well received in the marketplace. Research suggests continued increases in demand for accessible vehicles, which means we’ll probably be seeing Dodge wheelchair vans for years to come.

 

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About Ivan Nelson

Ivan Nelson

Ivan is a true hero to countless men and women with disabilities who have been asking Ivan for years on ways and methods to overcome their disabilities and propelling their way to a new and fulfilled life. Ivan's expertise in disability rehabilitation for over 15 years is solid and his knowledge is always fresh from a different perspective.

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  1. Excellent post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well.

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