What is the smallest wheelchair accessible car? Compact cars that are wheelchair friendly

What is the smallest wheelchair accessible car? Compact cars that are wheelchair friendly

When you’re looking wheelchair accessible vehicle options, it can seem that everything available is much larger than a standard car. If you don’t have very much room to park or manouvre, you may have reservations about the size of some of the larger WAVs on the market. It’s very natural for some people to be put off by the thought of a large vehicle, especially if you are used to driving a car on the smaller side.

While larger WAVs certainly come with plenty of benefits, so too do small ones. A smaller wheelchair car can help to lower your insurance or fuel costs, as well as being easier to manouvre in small spaces. Whatever your reason for seeking out a small WAV, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options!

What is the smallest wheelchair accessible car?

The smallest wheelchair accessible car available is the Fiat Qubo. Despite including enough room to accommodate a wheelchair and up to three people, this tiny WAV is around the same size as a more compact car such as a Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Fiesta.

Small WAVs for those looking for compact cars

Fiat Qubo

The Fiat Qubo measures just 396cm long and 172cm wide. Compact in size while still being practical, it can accommodate up to three people and a wheelchair passenger, offering a configuration where the wheelchair passenger sits upfront alongside the driver.

The Qubo is available with either a 1.4 petrol engine and 5-speed manual gearbox, or a 1.3 diesel engine with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or Fiat’s Dualogic automatic transmission. Agile in performance and with good fuel efficiency, this is a great choice for those who prefer to keep their WAV as small as possible.

Fiat Doblo

The boxy Fiat Doblo launched in 2000 and offers versatility as both a small car and commercial van. While larger than the Qubo, it is just over 10cm wider and around 44cm longer at 441cm long and 183cm wide.

It provides ample headroom and space for a wheelchair, and is able to do so while retaining seating for up to four passengers. If you are looking for something with more powerful performance, the Doblo is a good option – and in recent years has transitioned to a single lift-up rear door, improving accessibility for wheelchairs as well as bringing itself more closely in line with other similar vehicles like the Renault Kangoo.

Citroen Berlingo

The Citroen Berlingo, measuring 438cm long and 181cm wide, is a popular choice of WAV for many people. While compact in size, it benefits from a slightly taller height which reduces the need to bend down and enhances its overall accessibility.

It is available with petrol or diesel engines and manual or automatic gearbox options. Due to its enduring popularity, it tends to be fairly easy to find a used Citroen Berlingo that will work for your needs.

Peugeot Partner/Horizon

The Peugeot Partner shares some similarities with the Citroen Berlingo in terms of size and body at 438cm long and 181cm wide. Also known as the Peugeot Horizon when converted into WAV form, it offers practicality and space for wheelchair users or mobility scooters, and various seating options. It’s also versatile, with many models including a rear ramp that folds flat to create a level boot floor when not carrying a wheelchair passenger.

It is available with petrol or diesel engines, and an automatic option for the diesel models. The Peugeot Partner was updated to the Peugeot Rifter in 2018.

Peugeot Rifter

As an evolution of the Partner, the Peugeot Rifter has similar dimensions and is suitable for urban driving while also providing plenty of interior space. The Rifter can be configured into several different seating arrangements, including options for a wheelchair user to sit alongside the driver or in the rear. This makes it a great option for families or caregivers.

A good all-rounder, this WAV is suitable for commuting, days out, and even long-distance travel.

Ford Tourneo Connect

While slightly larger than the vehicles mentioned so far, the Ford Tourneo Connect is worth mentioning as the smallest WAV option in the Ford Tourneo family.

It’s a popular choice, offers various seating configurations and measures 442cm long, 214cm wide (including wing mirrors), and 185cm high. Generally it’s a four seater, including one wheelchair user.

It’s not to be confused with the larger version, the Grand Tourneo Connect, which offers seating for five plus a wheelchair passenger, or the Tourneo Custom, which is more of a minivan. These are both great WAV options in their own right, especially if you are looking for more internal space; but if size is a concern, you’ll likely find the standard Tourneo Connect to be your preference.

Renault Kangoo

Available in a range of engine sizes and transmission options, the boxy Renault Kangoo maximises internal space while keeping external dimensions compact. It’s not dissimilar in size to the Fiat Doblo, so is ideal for those searching for a small/medium WAV. The accessible rear door and sliding passenger doors are convenient to use and allow for unobstructed entry or exit, and it’s a very versatile option that works for various uses.

VW Caddy Life

The VW Caddy has evolved through various updates over several decades to become an adaptable car-like WAV that is suitable for everyday life. There are several wheelchair accessible models, including the Caddy Life (5 seats) and the Caddy Maxi Life (7 seats).

The Caddy Life makes a great choice for those looking for an everyday small WAV; it’s slightly narrower than the Kangoo or Doblo, but like them it features sliding passenger doors and a lift-up rear door. Functional and adaptable, it’s easy to park as well as drive.

Advantages of a small WAV

Think you might prefer a small WAV? They come with lots of advantages depending on your preference and needs:

  • Price: Just as small cars tend to come with a lower price tag than larger ones, smaller WAVs will often come at a scaled down cost when compared to the bigger models.
  • Manouvreability: Small WAVs tend to be easy to drive, manouvre and park – and while we often find that people are surprised by how well they can manouvre a large WAV, the compact size of smaller ones can be particularly helpful in cities, for commuting or where space is scarce. This might be particularly important to you if you don’t feel very confident with driving large vehicles.
  • Lower insurance costs: Similarly again to small cars, smaller WAVS tend to see lower vehicle insurance costs.
  • Lower fuel costs: While it depends on the fuel efficiency of the specific vehicle, it would be fair to say that smaller WAVs tend to also cost less to run.
  • Personal preference: Some people just prefer a smaller vehicle, which is as good a reason as any to opt for a more compact WAV!

Browse small wheelchair accessible vehicles for sale with Ransome Mobility

We have both new and used WAVs for sale in all shapes and sizes, and are always happy to recommend based on your needs and our experience in the field. You can browse our available vehicles on our website, or get in touch to talk about the right WAV for you.

We also offer wheelchair accessible vehicle hire if you need a WAV for a short time or want to try before you buy.

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