If you are interested in a Honda wheelchair van, you have two available options. The sleek, high-performance Odyssey minivan is extremely popular among wheelchair van users. Its car-like design made attracts attention and its great handling garners consistently positive reviews. It is a perennial front-runner in the minivan class.
The crossover Element offers unique styling and a compact package for those more interested in handling than in having surplus cargo space. Its squared-off design, rugged interior and consumer-friendly price tag have made it a mainstay in its class.
The smaller Element is somewhat limited in terms of modification. Thanks to some unique design elements including cargo van-style doors and a high profile, it is possible to transform the vehicle into a compelling side-entry wheelchair van with either an automatic or spring-assisted ramp. Rear entry is not feasible and there is no way to utilize a wheelchair lift with the Element.
The Odyssey provides additional options by virtue of being a larger vehicle. Although side-entry models still dominate the marketplace, conversion manufacturers have also produced winning rear-entry models.
Lift entry with an Odyssey does remain somewhat limited, though. A number of rear-entry lift designs are available, but lift entry is not feasible on the side of the vehicle.
It is easy to forget that the Odyssey is a minivan. It has a spacious cabin that becomes even larger after a floor drop. In the end, it is a very roomy minivan--but it is still a minivan. That size limitation makes it virtually impossible to use a side-entry lift. Lifts do not hide effectively and they take up a great deal of interior space. It is a modification one can perform if they are starting with a Ford E-Series van or a Dodge Sprinter, but it just will not work with a smaller option like the Odyssey. That is why almost every converted minivan you will find utilizes a size entry ramp along with a series of modifications designed to support that strategy.
Those who are committed to lift entry and who want to put Honda wheelchair vans in their driveways will need to settle on a rear-entry variation. Fortunately, they will have many to choose from. The Odyssey’s overall popularity and the attention it has received from major conversion companies like VMI has led to a number of rear-entry lift options.
This state of affairs certainly is not unique to the Odyssey the other top contender in the minivan category for wheelchair accessible conversion, Toyota’s Sienna, is similarly positioned. The only way to manage a lift on that vehicle is as part of a rear-entry plan.
If you are convinced that you want side entry with a lift, your best choice is to consider full sized van options. They have the interior floor space and height necessary to do the job. Dodge and Ford both offer quality full-sized vans for which a number of side-entry wheelchair lift conversions are available.
However, if you want the sleek lines and great handling of a Honda wheelchair van, you are either getting in via a rear lift or your using a side-entry ramp.