New to Wavs

Are You New to WAVs?

A wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) is a vehicle which has been permanently adapted to allow a wheelchair user to safely enter, travel securely, and exit the vehicle safely without leaving their wheelchair at any time.

Trying to find suitable vehicles with wheelchair access at what is usually a stressful time will be time-consuming and frustrating. This page is designed to give you some basic knowledge, and then our team of specialists will use their expertise to advise and help you towards the best WAV’s for your individual needs.

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How can wheelchair users board WAV vehicles?

rear ramp

Rear Ramp

This is the most common type of WAV entry. Ramps can be single piece, bi-fold or even tri-fold. Usually the longer the ramp the shallower their gradient and most often lead to a lowered internal floor with more headroom.

side ramp

Side Ramp

This is far less common in this country as our vehicles are generally smaller than those in the USA, where side entry is used extensively. Entry heights can be restrictive unless the interior floor has been lowered.

upfront ramp

Upfront Ramp

This is much rarer with just the front passenger seat removed, allowing a wheelchair user the premium spot in a WAV. This conversion can be challenging to manage and tend to suit the more petite wheelchair user.

rear lift

Rear Lift

Rear lifts are more common than side entry lifts but entry height can be restrictive for both unless you have a high roof WAV as shown in the last lift image. Lifts offer vertical travel with no incline to face and these WAVs mostly do not have lowered floors, so more of the original vehicle layout is retained.

side lift

Side Lift

Side lifts are less common than rear lifts due to restrictive entry width, height and internal manouverability for wheelchair users. Some WAVs have lowered internal floors to increase the entry height, but are much rarer. The benefit of side lifts, are vertical travel onto an internal level floor retaining more of the original vehicle layout.

rearlift high roof

Rear Lift High Roof

Although a rear lift, the higher roof and often larger WAV means increased entry height and sometimes a larger lift floor area to facilitate larger or more complex wheelchairs. These WAVs would retain the original vehicle floor, have more flexibility and increased internal height.

How each lift or ramp operates, its position on the WAV, widths, entry headroom and internal dimensions, and ramp gradients are all critical factors when seeking the right mobility vehicles for your needs. All these criteria will require our friendly help and expertise, and we will quickly narrow down the field with you. We strongly recommend that you don’t make any firm decisions about which WAVs will work best for you without asking us for our advice. Our friendly, knowledgeable team allows us to ensure all our customers meet the best WAVs to suit their budgets, needs, and preferences.

Where can a Wheelchair User be in a WAV

rear ramp or lift switch

Rear entry switch

side ramp or lift switch

Side entry switch

rear ramp or lift upfront

Rear entry upfront

side ramp upfront

Front entry upfront

rear ramp or lift drive from WC

Rear entry driver

rear ramp or lift driver internal transfer

Rear entry driver transfer

rear ramp mid WC passenger

Rear entry mid

rear ramp mid rear WC passengers

Rear entry mid & rear

side entry ramp or lift mid WC passenger

Side entry mid WC

side ramp or lift mid WC

Side entry mid

rear ramp entry rear WC passenger

Rear ramp entry rear

rear lift rear WC user passenger

Rear lift rear WC

Not all positions shown above are available in great numbers, nor will some of them be at all practical for you. Entry and internal heights, widths and different wheelchairs will influence what will work effectively for your individual circumstances. Different conversions of the same vehicle have quite different internal characteristics; very often, all WAVs look similar. Elimination is the best way to find the most suitable WAV, so when you are ready, please contact us, and we will quickly be able to focus on the most suitable WAVs for your needs.

Makes and Models of Mobility Vehicles available today

These WAVs are not to show you what will work but simply to give you an idea of what to expect. Some are more common than others, many were produced in small numbers, or the manufacturer changed the model so they couldn’t be converted any longer.

Some earlier models are still iconic, long lasting and dutiful today. Others were produced in large numbers but won’t necessarily work for you at all. Our advice is to try not to get hung up on a specific make or model before you have sought advice from us. Our knowledge covers all available worthy conversions and vehicles. We will save you a great deal of time and stress.

Knowing the basics about such an important, costly and quite possibly unfamiliar product is key to ensuring you go forward with confidence. Our friendly expertise is available to assist you towards your first or next suitable WAV. We are here to help.

Other things to consider


Do you need a manual or automatic gearbox?


Seats needed

How many physical seats do you need in your WAV?

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Part Exchange

Would you like to consider part exchanging your car, van, or WAV?

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Do you think you might need finance for the purchase of your WAV?

Are you ready for the gentle approach to your next WAV?

Want to see more?

Why not “visit us” us from the comfort of your own home?

We can arrange a video tour of our stock WAVs or a perhaps you’d prefer a detailed talk and walk around of a specific WAV to include a full demonstration of the wheelchair user experience with our advisors, with your preferred social.

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Contact us on 0800 008 7800 to arrange an online demonstration.

The Team

Meet the team who is in charge of a successful business in the wheelchair accessible vehicles industry.

Read more about us


We genuinely love what we do here at Southern Mobility Vehicles, and we want you to feel confident you can approach us to discuss your needs.

Read testimonials

Contact us

Drop us an email, find out where we are and how to reach us or simply give us a call to discuss your WAV needs.

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New to WAVs Frequently asked questions

Please see our FAQs that we hope will help you answer some questions if you are new to WAVs

I need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, where do I start looking?

First and foremost, it’s all about the conversion, the dynamics of the wheelchair user and the wheelchair itself. The wheelchair user must be able to enter, travel securely and exit the vehicle in a safe manner for any WAV to be considered. Contacting Southern Mobility Vehicles first will save you time and stress as they will filter all available wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) to find what will best work for your circumstances.

What is the best wheelchair accessible vehicle for me?

In short, the best wheelchair accessible vehicle for you is individual, and you will need advice. A good fit does not mean a good ride or a vehicle that you will enjoy driving. If the wheelchair user is unhappy, the driver won’t be and vice versa. You can feel safe that Southern Mobility Vehicles will not allow you to buy a WAV that does not suit your needs.

Should I get a WAV or mobility car with a ramp or a lift?

This is a big question, and it will depend on whether you are seeking a WAV to transport a wheelchair user or a scooter. Lifts do not tend to suit scooters as a rule, but it depends on the scooter; lifts or ramps can suit wheelchair users, but getting advice from Southern Mobility Vehicles first will save you a lot of time and effort.

What is the best wheelchair passenger upfront WAV?

Frustrating as it may seem, advice is required here. Here at Southern Mobility Vehicles, we always ask vital questions to assess your initial needs. The Peugeot Traveller is a relatively recent addition to the converts books, but the Citroen Spacetourer is available in greater numbers now.

Both these vehicles are now pretty much identical so any conversion will have its limits, but some conversions are better for some although this comes down to your wheelchair and height in the wheelchair. Lowered floor depths and widths vary, as well as several other features that may not be immediately apparent to observers.

What is the best mid wheelchair user position WAV available?

A few mid-position WAVs are available, but many are not inclusive for wheelchair users. In simple terms, being “inclusive” in a WAV means being seated in a position in your wheelchair as if you are in the vehicle in the same position as a seated passenger would be.

This means there must be enough room for a wheelchair user’s footrests to go far enough forward and for the lowered floor to be low enough to bring the wheelchair user’s head to the same height as their fellow passengers.

This is not as easy as it sounds if you compare most vehicle seats to most wheelchairs. In effect, the smaller the wheelchair, the better chance you have of inclusivity, but many WAVs cannot consider themselves inclusive.

What small WAVs are available?

This will depend on what you see as small. We believe the smallest vehicle converted to a WAV was the Fiat Qubo and its cousins with the same genetics, such as the Peugeot Bipper and the Citroen Nemo. There are very few Bippers around and even fewer Nemos.

The size of this vehicle won’t suit everyone, but it’s worth a look if size is an issue. Southern Mobility Vehicles’ view is that the fitting should start with good practical advice based on expert knowledge of all available wheelchair accessible vehicles. They will look at any vehicle they have faith in but will disregard many due to build issues, whether the vehicle itself or the conversion.

Can I drive a WAV from my wheelchair?

The good news is that you can, but our best advice is to seek out experts in this field who know how to help and support you, as the adaptions available can be complex and extensive. This will require specialist help, and it can take quite a while to get you behind the wheel. Ensuring you can safely enter, dock drive and exit a drive from a wheelchair vehicle is paramount.

Where is the best place for a wheelchair user to be in a WAV?

This is an individual decision but may be governed by the size of your wheelchair and, most importantly, your height in your wheelchair, especially when you consider it can be quite a distance through some WAVs to the passenger upfront or driver position.

The mid position in many WAVs is the best because it is central to the vehicle and benefits from the most stable position for wheelchair users. That being said, every WAV’s design can vary, and a passenger upfront conversion of the same vehicle that was converted for a mid-position wheelchair user may work better for one person but not the other.

The same applies to some Southern mobility Vehicles that look at your circumstances holistically, and their approach is that of advisory to ensure you get the best ride possible.

Have a question?

Call our team for assistance – Mon–Sat 08:30-17:30
0800 008 7800

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