General Question

Sunny2's avatar

Special needs car needed. Any suggestions?

Asked by Sunny2 (18691 points ) April 12th, 2012

I have a 2004 Hinda Civic with a standard shift. It’s about time to look for a new car. I like small, standard shift cars that are not expensive. This time I have to get something that will have room for a folded wheelchair; be comfortable for a bad back; be higher off the ground than my Honda, to facilitate ease in getting into the front passenger seat. I’d appreciate your answers.

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12 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Ford Escape

thorninmud's avatar

I know that a lot of people in wheelchairs have found the Honda Element to be very wheelchair-friendly

Judi's avatar

GMC Terrain. Good gas mileage too.

dubsrayboo's avatar

We have a 2004 Ford Focus Wagon. It’s great with the wheelchair and easy to get in and out of. It’s a sardine can if you are a bigger/taller person. My brother is 6’4 and has to fold himself in half before he can even get in. Other than that it’s a great car.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Actually any of the compact crossovers or SUVs should suit your needs. My parents sold their new Taurus and kept their 10 year old Jimmy because it was easier to get into and out of for them both.

jerv's avatar

First off, how can you even get into/out of a Civic? Just about every cat I have ever owned has been higher off the ground than a Civic, so there isn’t much problem finding something taller.

Amongst the highest of the smaller cars were the older VW Golfs, and being hatchbacks they also have a fair amount of cargo space for their size. I’m not sure about the newer ones, but my 6’9” buddy managed to ride in the front passengers seat fairly comfortably. My Golf was also the only car I ever owned that my father-in-law with his bad back and worse knees could get into/out of without assistance.

Otherwise, you are pretty much looking at small SUVs, and of those, I have to say that the Element may be best if for no reason other than the way the doors and rear area are designed. Note that neither the Terrain nor the Jimmy (which the Terrain evolved from) qualify as “small”, and that the Terrain is only available with a 6-speed automatic. I’m not sure that the 4-speed manual is an option for ‘95-newer Jimmy’s either; they may also be slushbox-only. If you do decide to go mid-sized, expect 20 MPG or less ;)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Subaru Forester, the base model still comes with a five speed manual transmission.

jerv's avatar

@Tropical_Willie The Forester is tall, small, and has decent cargo space and all. My only beef with them is that I find the front doors a little odd; either too small or too far rearward, I don’t know which. Either way, I found them a little tricky to get in/out of, though that might just be because I have long legs. But other than that they are decent, and that may have changed since 2002. Definitely worth a look.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I saw a Smart Car with a wheelchair caddy attached to the rear bumper. I would not suggest it to anyone. I think most powered wheelchairs would exceed the weight limitations of the Class 1 hitch it used.

jerv's avatar

@WestRiverrat I think a powered wheelchair would exceed the weight limitations of a Smart Car :P

janbb's avatar

Take a look at the Nissan Versa too. My friends got one and it is surprisingly roomy. I think she could fit her mother’s wheelchair in the trunk.

Sunny2's avatar

Thanks for all the suggestions. I looked each one up. Then, since I’ve loved my Hondas, I went to the dealer first and posed my problem. They brought out the answer: a Honda Fit. I’d never heard of it. With seats down, it has a huge capacity. It could carry a small sofa. My daughter, who is as tall as her dad tried it on. It fit. Head room, leg room. They had just one with standard transmission and I bought it on the spot.

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