Choosing a new car can often be a complicated decision, but it can be even more difficult if you have a disability. If you find it difficult getting in or out of a car, or you find driving hard, you will need to take these issues into consideration in addition to other key factors like interior space, reliability and overall running costs.
Thankfully the vehicles available through the Motability scheme are packed full of useful features to make every journey easier. Dependent on the model and trim level, many helpful features will be standard on the vehicle you choose, while others can be ordered as optional extras. There are also specialist features and adaptations that can be added after the vehicle has left the factory to help with pretty much any driving problem.
Here are a few tips to help you to choose your new Motability car.
When choosing a new Motability car there are three pricing options for you to consider:
1. Cars That Cost Less Than Your Mobility Allowance
Around 100 cars on the Motability Scheme are available with no upfront Advance Payment and actually cost less to lease than your Mobility Allowance, which means the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will pay the difference back to you. These cars tend to be smaller hatchbacks, though sometimes small crossovers and estates are available.
2. Cars That Cost All Of Your Motability Allowance
These cars cost all of your Mobility Allowance to lease and are available to order with no Advance Payment. You simply exchange all of the weekly Mobility Allowance for the car you want with nothing else to pay on top.
3. Cars That Cost All Of Your Motability Allowance And Require An Advance Payment
More expensive cars usually require all of the Mobility Allowance plus an Advance Payment that you pay to the dealership before you take delivery of the vehicle. The Advance Payment can range from as little as £49 right up to many thousands of pounds. There are always around 600 cars to choose from with an Advance Payment of £500 or less.
Motability estimate that leasing a new car through the scheme is around 45 per cent cheaper than sourcing one through the open market, thanks to their scale (around 10% of all new cars registered in the UK are through Motability) and the tax exemptions that the Motability Scheme benefits from.
The Motability price list is updated every three months and it includes the best deals from every manufacturer. The new Advance Payment prices for Motability cars are published on:
However usually takes the car manufacturers and Motability dealers a few days to update the new prices on their websites. Thanks to the Motability Price Guarantee, the Advance Payment you pay won’t change even if it goes up while you are waiting for your new car to arrive.
The brilliant thing about Motability is that they take care of pretty much everything. When you drive a Motability car, the insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and maintenance are all included for 3 years. All you pay for is the fuel, so it’s important to consider the fuel consumption of the vehicle you’re going to be driving.
Compare the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) figures of the vehicles you’re interested in to help you understand how economical the car will be and how much it's likely to cost you to drive around in it. Bear in mind that published fuel consumption figures should be used for comparison purposes only as they don’t accurately reflect what the car will achieve during ‘real world’ driving.
The Motability package includes comprehensive insurance for up to three drivers, but this doesn’t have to include the person the Motability car is for. If the Mobility Allowance claimant is unable to drive or hasn't passed their driving test yet, then it could be friends, family members or carers who drive the car on their behalf.
If you are going to be one of the named Motability drivers, it’s important that you help to choose the Motability car, ensuring that everyone can drive the vehicle comfortably and safely.
Motability cars can be ordered from the manufacturer with features and gadgets that may help with some of the things that disabled drivers often have difficulty with. Some may be included as standard, others may be optional extras. Useful features to consider include:
In addition, there are a wide range of specialist adaptations that can be added to the vehicle once it has left the factory.
These range from simple attachments - mirror extensions and steering wheel knobs - to more elaborate equipment to help with getting in and out of the vehicle, such as swivel seats and chair lifts. Motability specialists can help to advise you on the types of adaptations available and there are many adaptation companies that can provide help with specialist equipment.
Whilst the Motability Scheme will often cover, or contribute towards, the cost of any adaptations you may need, there are many other organisations that could also help with any additional costs.
If you need specialist equipment to get about, it's important to consider how much room you’ll need. Ask yourself how many passengers you are likely to have. Will there be enough boot space? Thankfully, there are vehicles available on the Motability Scheme that can seat as many as 10 people, so if you do need lots of extra room, there’s sure to be a vehicle available that will accommodate you, your passengers and all your kit.
Make sure you take a test drive before you order your Motability car. When you've found a car you like, make an appointment and visit your local dealership. If it’s more convenient, the Motability specialist may be able to bring the vehicle you’re interested in to your home or workplace. Remember to try getting in and out of all the seats to see how easy it is and, if you need to transport a wheelchair or other equipment, make sure that it will all fit in.
If you think you’ll need a specialist adaptation, you can check these out at a local Mobility centre. Motability also run regular regional roadshows that bring together everything available on the Motability Scheme. They’re free to attend and feature a huge display of Motability cars, Wheelchair Access Vehicles (WAVs) and adaptations.
Driving Mobility offers advice to people who need to gain or retain independence through driving.
An independent research charity, which produces a number of useful reports for older and disabled people to make driving a car easier.