What are WAVs and what are the features you should expect?

WAVs is an abbreviation of ‘wheelchair access vehicles’, which are vehicles that have been specially adapted for driver and passenger wheelchair users. They have made motoring easier for thousands of people with mobility problems in the UK, who can now travel without having to transfer out of their wheelchair.

Just as with any new or used car, the price of a WAV varies according to the make, model and features, but, as a standard rule, passenger WAVs tend to be cheaper than driver versions of the vehicles.

Ransome Mobility Solutions is a family run business with more than 30 years’ experience in providing car adaptations. We branched out into the sale of used wheelchair access cars after many years of sourcing individually used WAVs to order. All our vehicles are between 1 – 3 years old and have low mileage, and as our range is constantly being updated, you will almost certainly find the right vehicle for your requirements.

This article looks at some of the standard features you would expect to find on a new or used WAV.

Features You Would Expect on a WAV

Wheelchair access vehicles are available in various sizes, makes and models, including upmarket brands such as Mercedes. Whatever your preferred model, it is important to give it a test drive first to see if it is suitable for your needs.

On your test drive, consider what your requirements are and assess how the vehicle measures up. Some of the questions you need to think about are: will it accommodate you and your wheelchair comfortably? Does it have easy access? Is the boot big enough? And, is there enough passenger seating?

All WAVs are adapted for wheelchair use, so your choice of vehicle really comes down to personal requirements and preference. Meanwhile, here are some of the standard features you can expect to find on a used WAV:

Easy Access

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be accessed either from the side, or the back of the vehicle, and the one you choose will depend on your personal requirements, and what you feel most comfortable with. The way the doors open will vary; some will open outwards, but there are also doors that open upwards or slide across. Before you make your decision, think about where you usually park and whether you will have enough room to manoeuvre in and out of your vehicle. As a rule, if you park parallel to a kerb most of the time, it is usually easier to exit the vehicle from the side; rear access is generally preferred for getting in and out of car parks.

Roomy Space

Wheelchair access vehicles will either have a floor that is slightly lower than a standard vehicle, or a roof that has been raised. The extra headroom allows more room to manoeuvre and to get in and out of the car.


While some vehicles will have ramps for easy access, more sophisticated used wheelchair accessible vehicles will have lifts. Again, decide which one works best for you; ramps are the cheaper option, but you need to make sure that you leave enough room when you park, so you can exit the vehicle safely. Try the car out in your local area to find out what works best for you.

Secure Belts

Wheelchair tie downs are very similar to a seat belt and ensure that the driver or passenger is secure during travel. There are different variations of tie downs, and these can either be manual clips or automatic docking systems.

When you are buying a wheelchair access car, as well as your basic requirements, check that your chosen vehicle has all the additional facilities you need for your comfort. This could include built-in Sat Nav, an air conditioning system, electric roof or windows, central locking and drinks storage facilities. Also assess whether the vehicle has enough space in the boot to store all the equipment you need.

About Ransome Mobility Solutions

Ransome Mobility Solutions is a one stop shop for wheelchair access cars, and as well as our extensive range of high quality new and nearly new cars, we also offer discounted insurance packages, finance packages, and a full range of adaptations including hand and foot controls, infra red controls and hoists.

All our vehicles are sold to the highest standards – they have been fully valeted throughout, are available with at least a half year warranty and have been fully serviced before hand-over. In addition to this, we offer a complete aftersales service and can provide on-site servicing, Mot’s and repairs.

WAVs East Anglia – Click here to see the full range of WAV vehicles we have in stock >