Emma Muldoon sitting in her up-front Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

Getting my new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

Disability blogger and Motability Scheme customer, Emma Muldoon, shares her experience of getting her new WAV as an upfront passenger.

I have been a Motability Scheme customer for almost twenty years, and during this time, I have always had a rear entry, passenger wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV). However, changes in my needs meant that I had to explore different vehicle options for my next WAV.

Specifically, I needed a sit upfront passenger WAV, which initially felt daunting. After looking into what options were available and speaking to the helpful and understanding Motability team, I felt more confident in my decision-making.

Preparing for my new lease

As I usually do when coming towards the end of my lease, I began looking into my options a year before the renewal date. This gave me plenty of time to see what upfront WAVs were available on the market and arrange home demonstrations.  

Another great way to see the range of vehicles on display and speak to the specialists is by attending the Motability Scheme’s The Big Event  which features across various locations across the UK. 

My WAV demo experience

I arranged a home demonstration of the Upfront Peugeot Rifter Inspire, allowing my partner and me to enjoy the test drive from our street and around the local area. It was exciting to sit upfront in my wheelchair next to my partner driving, as I was always used to sitting in the back of the WAV.

The rep who visited us was very helpful and answered all our questions regarding the WAV. We appreciated that we were not rushed or pressured into making a decision on the spot.

When considering the upfront WAV, I considered my progressive disability, lifestyle, and how I would be using the vehicle.

My main considerations were the space inside the vehicle and whether I could comfortably manoeuvre my powered wheelchair into the front passenger space. I had previously tried a different upfront WAV with a side entry ramp but found it too difficult to manoeuvre in and out without catching my feet/footplates on the driver’s seat.

Thinking about how I need to use my WAV 

As someone who travels a lot for work and leisure, another factor I had to consider was whether there was enough storage space for my mobility equipment and luggage.

I also wanted to make sure that there was space for seats for passengers and everyday items such as shopping bags, but also my beach wheelchair (for those rare sunny days in Scotland).

My favourite WAV features

Shortly after the home demo, I placed an order for my new Motability Scheme vehicle and received it at the end of 2023. My WAV has an impressive GT specification, which features a colour reversing camera, parking sensors, an 8″ colour touchscreen with an in-car entertainment system and powered heated and folding door mirrors.

Most importantly, it also has a one-touch automatic tailgate and wheelchair ramp release, allowing me to enter my vehicle without needing assistance from anyone else. There are two rear passenger seats as standard, with the option of an additional third seat.

Being able to sit upfront in my wheelchair has made my everyday trips much more comfortable and enjoyable. Whether it’s popping to the shops, going to work, or going on days out, this simple accommodation has made a big difference in my life.

How my WAV helps me

In the few short months since I got my new WAV, I’ve enjoyed two road trips from Scotland to Manchester. It has transformed my overall journey experience, and I love sitting alongside my partner, chatting with ease, sharing food breaks, and taking in the stunning views upfront, especially on our scenic drives through Scotland.

Other than my partner, I also have a personal assistant who drives my WAV. I added my assistant as a new driver to my Direct Line insurance policy, which I accessed via my Motability online account. I was impressed with how quick and easy it was to add a new driver, which will be useful whenever I need to make changes or add a temporary driver at short notice.

Getting my new upfront WAV has been incredible, as it has given me more freedom, comfort, and a better quality of life. I’m already looking forward to more road trips and days out with my family this year.

You can read more from Emma on her blog Simply Emma 


About the Scheme

The Motability Scheme makes leasing a car an easy, hassle-free experience. With the Scheme, you can exchange part or all of your qualifying mobility allowance to lease a brand-new vehicle of your choice. Insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing and maintenance are already arranged and included in the price you pay, so you can enjoy the freedom that comes with a worry-free lease.

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