Easy Access With Toyota Wheelchair Vans Side Entry


Toyota Wheelchair Vans Side Entry

Toyota offers a very popular wheelchair van option, the Toyota Sienna wheelchair minivan.  Toyota Sienna handicap van owners may modify the vehicles to serve as either side entry or rear entry wheelchair vans.  You will see both options on the road, but side entry models significantly outnumber those configured for rear entry.  Let us examine the reason why side entry is winning the popularity contest and how it is possible to convert a Sienna minivan to become an effective side entry minivan.

Side EntrySide entry Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans are far more popular than rear entry models.  That is not an accident.  There are some strong reasons to prefer side entry arrangements.  First, many rear entry arrangements only allow the wheelchair user to be a passenger.  That is obviously unacceptable to those who would prefer to drive the vehicle!  Second, those rear entry arrangements that do allow the wheelchair user to make his or her way to the front invariably interfere with passenger seating options.  They are also incredibly inefficient when compared with a side entry structure.

Side entry allows the wheelchair user to enter and exit at a point right behind the driver's area.  That makes it easier to transfer to the driver's seat or to move one's wheelchair into position behind the wheel, depending on the wheelchair user's preferences.  Side entry can also be structured in a way that requires no assistance from others, providing the wheelchair user with maximum independence.

So, how does the Toyota Sienna wheelchair van provide side entry?

Side entry Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans use a series of modifications, including the use of a wheelchair ramp to allow side entry.  It is not possible to use a wheelchair lift as part of a side entry Toyota Sienna handicap van configuration.  The vehicle simply is not large enough to make lift use realistic.

The most common side entry conversion involves the following components and modifications:

Power Ramp

Toyota Sienna Handicap Van with Power RampOne could use a spring-assisted or completely manual wheelchair ramp, but most people prefer and auto ramp.  These can be deployed or retracted with the push of a button, making it easier for an individual wheelchair user to handle entering and exiting the vehicle without assistance.


Dropped Lowered Floor

Toyota Sienna Drop FloorIn order to improve clearance at the point of access and interior headroom, most conversion manufacturers lower the floor of Sienna wheelchair vans.  Depending upon the year, it is possible to manage ten to eleven inches of extra space with this modification.


Auto Kneel

autokneelA kneel system allows a parked vehicle to "sink" or "kneel."  Basically, the suspension lowers, bringing the minivan closer to the ground.  This makes it much easier for the wheelchair user to get in and out of the van because it dramatically decreases the slope of the ramp.

That is how Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans provide side entry access.  That assortment of conversions has been used on countless Toyota wheelchair vans with great success.


Rear Entry Is Less Popular

Toyota Sienna Rear EntrySome people may prefer rear entry due to their specific needs.  Side entry remains much more popular, however.  Fortunately, it is possible to convert a Toyota Sienna wheelchair van for use as a supremely accessible side entry wheelchair van.

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