Choosing a second-hand Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) is a big decision. There are many important factors you'll need to consider when you start your search for a WAV, like can you get in and out of it easily, where will the wheelchair go, is there enough room for all the people and luggage you want to carry and does it have all the features you'll need? If you're looking for a nearly-new or used WAV our guide to the best second-hand WAVs will help you to choose the perfect wheelchair car that's right for you and your budget.
Second-hand WAVs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, starting with small WAVs, including vehicles like the Peugeot Partner Tepee or Volkswagen Caddy. Smaller WAVs are generally the most affordable, and the best option for those with a lighter wheelchair and who don’t require a powered ramp. Then there’s the medium-sized WAVs which are bigger, with more space inside to transport additional equipment or any extra passengers. Medium WAVs can also be fitted with powered lifts. Finally, there are the larger WAVs. These vehicles are usually more expensive to buy and are generally the best choice for users with heavier wheelchairs who require more space as well as wider and more complex vehicle entry options.
Different types of WAVs have different seating arrangements, so it's important you think carefully about what you will use your WAV for so that the one you eventually buy meets all your requirements. The most common type of WAV is the Passenger WAV, where the wheelchair user travels as a passenger in the rear of the vehicle. Other more expensive types of WAV include the Up-Front Passenger WAV (where the wheelchair user sits in the front next to the driver) and the Drive-From Wheelchair WAV (where the wheelchair user can access and drive the vehicle without leaving their chair). It's worth noting that WAVs with a automatic gearbox also tend to be more expensive and a little harder to find than manual versions.
Here’s our pick of the best used WAVs to suit all needs and budgets.
The Peugeot Partner Tepee is a great choice as a second-hand mobility vehicle. There’s a massive choice of models out there because it’s probably been the best-selling WAV here in the UK. When converted to a WAV there’s seating for up to 5 including the wheelchair user (depending on the model you choose) with access via a ramp at the rear of the vehicle. The Peugeot Partner Tepee boasts a large, airy cabin, plus its low rear load still means the wheelchair ramp is often shorter than in many of its rivals.
The French manufacturer discontinued the Peugeot Partner a few years ago, replacing it with the newer Peugeot Rifter.
Citroen’s Berlingo Multispace is almost identical to the Peugeot Partner Tepee (they were both built by PSA Group) and it has been a popular and affordable choice for wheelchair users for many years.
A wheelchair user accessing the vehicle would use the ramp at the back, with seating usually for an additional 3 passengers, although versions do exist that can accommodate extra passengers.
Some versions of the Citroen Berlingo Multispace allow the wheelchair user to manoeuvre from the rear through to the front where the chair is then secured next to the driver.
The Volkswagen Caddy Life has lots of space and practical features, plus its twin sliding doors and higher roof make this model a very popular vehicle for WAV converters and customers. The Caddy Maxi version is the better of the two sizes thanks to its extra seats and space (it can fit 5 people including the driver plus a wheelchair user) and has been developed to carry a wheelchair that weighs up to 200kg. There are very few petrol engine versions on the market, so if you do choose a Volkswagen Caddy WAV you’ll probably get the VW group’s TDi diesel engine, which is pretty economical.
Thanks to its side sliding doors and large rear tailgate the Volkswagen Caddy is incredibly versatile, but prices tend to be on the higher side, especially if you want an automatic. That said, it is one of the nicer used WAVs to drive, as it shares many of its parts with the Volkswagen Golf.
The Ford Tourneo Connect is, like most of the other used WAVs on this list, based on a small commercial vehicle, but this one certainly doesn't feel like one when you’re driving it. It’s based on the Transit Connect and features an upmarket design and an economical range of engines, including the superb Ford EcoBoost petrol engine, although most of the Tourneo Connect models available on the second-hand market tend to be diesel.
With its lowered floor, car-like refinement, spacious interior and innovative wheelchair access options the Tourneo Connect and Grand Tourneo Connect make travelling easy in your wheelchair.
Think of a large-ish van and it’s a pretty sure bet that the one you’ll be thinking of is the one this Tourneo Custom WAV is based on, Ford’s Transit, the self-proclaimed ‘backbone of Britain’.
This Tourneo Custom WAV hits the sweet spot in the second-hand WAV marketplace as a practical vehicle that’s not too big – and not too small. It’s better than many of its competitors to drive, it’s steering feel being especially impressive with body roll well controlled, which is obviously rather important in a WAV.
Built until 2022, this version of the Tourneo Custom WAV is well worth a look if you want a second-hand rear-passenger WAV with more seats and space for all the family.
Nearly new and used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are always cheaper than buying brand new.
What's more used WAVs, especially those that have been sourced through the Motability Scheme, have usually been very well maintained. And you won't have to wait long for any extra adaptations to be made and fitted, so you'll always get the vehicle quicker.
On the other hand, if you choose a brand new WAV, the WAV builder will take you through an assessment to ensure that the vehicle is custom-made according to your needs. The WAV will also be covered under the vehicle manufacturer’s original warranty and the converter will usually include a decent warranty on the conversion and the parts used (such as the ramp, winch etc).
A brand new WAV leased through the Motability Scheme would also come with the Motability ‘worry-free’ 5 year package. This includes comprehensive insurance, servicing and maintenance, full RAC breakdown assistance and a 20,000 mile a year allowance.
It all adds up though, especially if you don't expect to cover many miles each year in your WAV. A new wheelchair vehicle leased through the Motability Scheme would cost a minimum of £21,805 over the course of the 5-year Motability lease agreement (260 weekly payments of £71 plus a minimum £3345 upfront Motability Advance Payment).
Here’s a quick overview of some of the important things we think you need to consider when you start looking for a second-hand WAV.
Is there enough space to get into and out of the WAV easily?
Are there enough seats in the vehicle for all the people that will usually travel in it?
Is there enough storage space for any equipment or luggage that you usually travel with?
Can you, your family or carer operate the lift or ramp?
Is there enough head room at the point where the wheelchair user will enter the vehicle?
Does the layout of the vehicle allow access to the wheelchair user while out on the road?
Will there always be enough room behind the WAV to access the vehicle via the ramp or lift?
Is there enough space for you to park the vehicle at home?
It's important to take your time when choosing a WAV, so make sure the WAV dealership you visit lets you give the vehicle you're interested in a thorough demonstration and test drive. If the vehicle you've tried isn’t right for you, the WAV supplier should be able to source a different vehicle that's more suited to your needs.