Top 10: WAVs
Choosing the best WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) for your needs depends on the conversion company you use and the base vehicle. Here are our favourites in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices to find the ideal basis for your WAV.
Volkswagen Caddy Life
The Volkswagen Caddy bridges the gap between car and van better than any other thanks to its solid build and refined nature. This is why it makes such a good base for WAV. Depending on which conversion you choose, the Caddy can come with side or rear entry for a wheelchair user. You also have the option of the Maxi model with its longer wheelbase if you need more space for passengers or luggage.
Ford Tourneo Connect
It may share the same box-like dimensions as rivals, but the Ford Tourneo Connect pulls of a bit more style. That carries through to the way the Ford drives with a supple ride and precise handling. Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost or 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel are strong and an eight-speed automatic is an option. A generously large interior offers scope when converting the Tourneo Connect into a WAV and that’s further assisted by sliding side doors.
The Peugeot Rifter is one of the most affordable WAVs to buy outright or to lease through the Motability Scheme. You can have the Rifter with Advance Payments from as little £1695 depending on which converter you choose to have the work completed by. The end result will be a WAV with a smooth ride and either a punchy 1.2-litre turbo petrol or 1.5 diesel. The latter with the auto is our choice.
Citroen’s Berlingo is a staple of the WAV market and it’s easy to see why when it has so much to offer. For starters, there’s the large interior space that makes it easy to accommodate a wheelchair user and ramp conversion. Sliding rear doors also make it simpler with a side access conversion, while the softly-sprung ride means everyone onboard enjoys a cushy journey. You need to stick to the most powerful diesel engine to get an automatic gearbox.
Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle
If you need more space for passengers, the Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle is a sound choice. It has a large cabin and can be converted with a rear ramp or side access. It’s also possible to opt for a drive from wheelchair configuration. However, nothing comes cheap with a Transporter and the minimum Advance Payment through Motability is starts at £6500 and rises from there depending on which conversion firm carries out the work.
Vauxhall Combo Life
Sharing much of its underpinnings with the Citroen Berlingo is a very good start for the Vauxhall Combo Life. Things get even better when you know there’s a choice of standard or long wheelbase versions, so you can have more space if needed. You need the most powerful diesel to have an automatic gearbox and that means an Advance Payment of at least £3800 through the Motability Scheme.
Not to be confused with the C4 version that shares its name, the SpaceTourer is based on Citroen’s Dispatch van. However, the SpaceTourer does a good job of dispatching any notion of this being a basic vehicle and instead it can be specced to an impressive level with seats, sunroof and hands-free boot opening. To have an automatic gearbox means going for the 180PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel.
Vauxhall Vivaro Life
The Vauxhall Vivaro Life that comes in short and long wheelbase versions and shares much of its base parts with the Citroen SpaceTourer. That means a selection of decent engines and an auto as standard with the 180PS version. Other than the slightly dull steering feel, the Vivaro Life is an excellent base for a WAV conversion and many rear ramp access versions are cheaper on the Motability Scheme than rivals.
Ford Tourneo Custom
The Ford Transit-based Tourneo Custom is a very appealing and popular choice among WAV convertors and customers. It’s easy to see why when the Ford offers a large interior space and the option of rear and side access for wheelchair users. Along with that, the Tourneo Custom is good to drive and much more car-like in its ride and handling than many van-derived vehicles.
With some of the lowest Advance Payments for WAVs on the Motability Scheme and affordable costs for those buying outright, the Fiat Doblo is a sound choice. Its large cabin space and sliding side rear doors give you lots of options for access and seating configurations. It’s decent to drive and rides well, but the engines are noisier than most rivals when pushed to give reasonable performance.