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Old 11-16-2006, 03:52 PM   #1
madpogue
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Default Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

Hm, this might actually be better in "Off topic -> other cars", but I thought I'd post here, for a Saturn solution. A friend has recently been diagnosed with ALS. She's still able to drive, but will probably be in a wheelchair soon, and is already having difficulty getting into and out of her Integra. She's looking for something with conventional controls, but with easy ingress/egress, and that will take a folding wheelchair.

My first thought was an Ion Quad-Coupe; the (not-really-)"suicide" door seems like a natural for sliding the chair in and out. But it might be too low, like her Integra. And once she's in the driver's seat, and the chair is stored, how would she reach that half-door?

So then I thought, maybe a Relay (or other minivan) with a power sliding door on the driver's side. But I wonder if that might be too high for her to slide into from the wheelchair.

Does anybody here have direct experience with circumstances like this? Any general ideas? Things to consider, things to look out for?

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Old 11-16-2006, 04:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

When my wife was having her back problems, we found the Vue was real easy to get in and out of. Within days of her surgery (lumbar fusion) she was in and out of the Vue with no problems. Her mother had some severe mobility issues and it was easier for her to get in and out of the Vue. One thing we did find with her was she had to be able stand up somewhat straight to get in and out.

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Old 11-16-2006, 05:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

My grandmother has restricted mobility. She uses a walker (should probably be in a chair, but she's a stubborn dutch woman). We found that when we had the Astro, it was easier for her to physically get in and out of the vehicle. Since we've traded the Astro for the L-Wagon, she finds it harder to get in and out of the car.

The higher vehicle seems to place the seat near butt height. IT also allows someone to step out of the vehicle rather then climb out.

I would think that your friend would benefit from looking at an SUV or minivan. Best thing to do though is try getting in and out of these vehicles, as well as trying to get the chair into the vehicle. This situation sounds like it may be something that she will have to hunt down to find a solution to.

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Old 11-16-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

I heard a radio interview with GM's mobility enginner. He was wheel chair bound. He said that the Saturn coupes were the most popluar non-van vehicle. I have knee problems and find my GMC Sonoma (small) pickup the easiest to get in and out of. It is the perfect height to just slide in and out. I have one of the bench seat equiped ones.

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Old 11-16-2006, 09:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

I also remember seeing somthing sometime back about the SCx three-door coupes being popular for easier wheelchair stoage ability behind the seat.

The S10/Sonoma extended cab 3dr. can also be fitted with a Bruno chair lift arm to help ease the folded chair in/out.

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Old 11-17-2006, 02:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

Isn't there optional equipment on the CSVs for sit and lift?

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Old 11-18-2006, 09:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

I dunno if this helps, but I was at a Saturn dealer where I saw a guy that was in a wheelchair and drove an L-series. Saturn had installed hand-controlled brakes/gas and a thing on the steering wheel to make turning with one hand very easy. He got into the car from his wheelchair and had a nice wheelchair that was easy to disassemble and put back together. The reason I noticed this was I went over to help the guy then realized he needed no help and he showed this to me, and also told me how he got paralyzed in a car accident by driving stupid and told me not to do it. He said Saturn had been very helpful with helping him and was one of the few car companies he went to that was willing to help. He was paralyzed from his waist down I believe.

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Old 11-18-2006, 11:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

I recall seeing something for the 3-door coupe that showed someone with a wheelchair folded and inserted into the rear access door. Here's something.

http://www.advanced-mobility.com/Products1.htm
http://www.advanced-mobility.com/imageprods/Saturn1.jpg
http://www.advanced-mobility.com/imageprods/Saturn2.jpg

Here's something else
Quote:
Three-Door Coupes
* Third door on driver side allows easy stowage of mobility equipment
* No post between first- and second-row doors
* Low seat-cushion-to-ground height for easier transfer
Smart design with you in mind.
Smart design. It's the first thing that comes to mind when you see the Saturn® three-door coupe. It's very accommodating for stowage of most manual wheelchairs, thanks to the third-door feature. For more information on Saturn Mobility, call 1-800-553-6000, Prompt 3.

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Last edited by eRic 02sc2; 11-18-2006 at 11:44 PM..

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Old 11-18-2006, 11:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

Quote:
Originally Posted by haypops
I have knee problems and find my GMC Sonoma (small) pickup the easiest to get in and out of. It is the perfect height to just slide in and out.
My 2WD model with the low profile tires was perfect for me. With the extra tall skinny tires, my but hit the seat side the firt time I got in. But it was only a couple of inches higher if that. My 4x4 was really easy to get in and out of. Then I went back to driving my K-car, then I got my Saturn. They're not so easy for a 6'3" dude, such as myself.

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Old 11-19-2006, 01:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzzy
They're not so easy for a 6'3" dude, such as myself.
And they definitely aren't easy when you're around that height and a fat dude, like my brother, LOL.

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Old 11-19-2006, 01:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: Best accomodation for driver with wheelchair

I'm 6'1" 333lbs with 4 bad disks in my back, 2 trashed knees and arthritis. My old car is a Ford Escape, My new car is an Ion QC. I am not wheelchair bound (yet) but I can't stand for more than a few minutes before major pain sets in and walking more than a short way is out of the question. So far, the Saturn Ion has been very comfortable for me and my longest trip to date had me behind the wheel for just under 3 hrs. If you don't need the seat ALL the way back and reclined to drive, I wouldn't think getting a wheelchair in and out from behind the drivers seat would be too hard at all. With the rear seats folded down, I know one would fit in the back of the car if you didn't have to get it out your self, or like me, only needed one for those instances where you had to walk a lot or there wasn't a place you could sit once you got there.

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