WAV sizes explained

If you are looking for a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) there are some key decisions that will help narrow down your choice of suitable vehicles. The size and weight of your wheelchair and the number of passengers you regularly travel with will both affect the size of vehicle that you need.

Our WAV search tool separates WAVs into small, medium and large; however the medium category actually includes WAVs that can vary significantly in size and configuration. Additionally, if you have successfully applied for financial help through Motability, the Charity, they will have allocated your grant based on a size of WAV and your grant may specify either a medium-small or a medium-large. To help clear up this confusion, below is a summary of the key differences between each of the sizes.

Small WAVs

Base vehicles include: Fiat Qubo; Fiat Doblo; Citroën Berlingo; Peugeot Partner; Ford Tourneo Connect; Kia Soul; Volkswagen Caddy

Features: all small WAVs will be fitted with a ramp for entry; will have at least one passenger seat in the rear, but will seat no more than five including the wheelchair passenger and driver and, due to their size, these WAVs tend to feel the most similar to driving a standard car.

Medium-small WAVs

Base Vehicles include: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi; Ford Grand Tourneo Connect; Vauxhall Combo

Features: one of the most popular categories for our WAV customers, these conversions tend to include six seats including the wheelchair passenger and driver. The vehicle will have more space than a small WAV which either means extra passenger seats, more room for equipment or a more flexible seating position. Like the Small WAVs these vehicles will have more of a car-like feel in terms of size. With this size WAV, the wheelchair user can be positioned behind the second row of seats in the rearmost part of the car, but many conversions have options to sit further up in between the second row of rear seats.

Medium-large WAVs

Base Vehicles include: Citroën Space Tourer; Ford Custom; Peugeot Traveller; Volkswagen Shuttle; Volkswagen Transporter; Renault Trafic; Vauxhall Vivaro

Features: these WAVs are based on larger vehicles and are the most common WAV for users with larger wheelchairs as their size allows more flexible seating arrangements. They can carry up to nine passengers including the wheelchair user and driver, and some conversions allow two wheelchair users. The majority of medium-large WAVs are still fitted with a ramp, however if you need a lift these can sometimes be fitted, but you should be aware that there will be reduced head height in these cases.

Large WAVs

Base Vehicles include: Peugeot Boxer; Renault Master; Fiat Ducato

Features: these conversions are based on the largest vehicles available on the scheme and in terms of size are more akin to a commercial vehicle. The conversions based on these vehicles are good for larger families or those travelling in the largest or heaviest wheelchair. All are fitted with a lift and most can be converted to allow for two wheelchair passengers as well as space for other passengers in standard seats.

Ready to find out more?

Within each size category each converter will use the space within the original vehicle differently, meaning each conversion will have a different layout. Our WAV search tool shows an image for how each WAV has been converted to help you get a better understanding of the layout. Of course, the only way to really understand the differences between one supplier’s conversion to another, is to see the WAVs for yourself. That’s why it’s so important to see like for like WAVs from different suppliers to make sure that the things that matter for you and your family are included in any conversion you are considering.

Find out more about WAVs, search the full range of more than 600 available WAVs or find contact details for all the WAV suppliers

From the Motability Scheme


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