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Car buying guide for people with mobility issues

Cars in a motability showroom

Finding the perfect car can be a struggle but when you have low mobility or have enlisted in the help of a curved stairlift to help you make your way around your home, it can be even more difficult. Not only do you have to factor in your ability to confidently and safely manoeuvre the car, but many models on the market lack the all-important storage space that you may need, particularly if you are a wheelchair user.

With so many different makes and models for you to choose from, working out where to start your search can be the hardest part! From adapting your existing vehicle and leasing a mobility scooter to applying for the Motability scheme, find out how you could make travelling around simpler in this guide.

Financial help for buying a car

the speedometre of a car

Often people delay purchasing a new car as a result of money issues. However, if you have mobility problems and require the use of a straight stairlift at home, there are plenty of options available to help make travel more accessible for you. Although the Motability scheme is the most popular, there are many smaller schemes in place to help you to cut the costs of running a car.

Motability scheme

If you’re looking at purchasing a new car to help make travelling a little simpler, then the Motability scheme may be able to help. If you qualify, you may be eligible to lease a car or a wheelchair accessible vehicle, with any adaptions made at no extra cost. These adaptations range from improving the storage facilities in your car to installing electronic devices to help make car handling easier.

The Motability scheme is a great option for those who are currently in receipt of the higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Armed Forces Independent Payment (AFIP) or the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you’re in receipt of these and have over 12 months of your allowance left, you’re welcome to apply for the scheme, swapping your mobility allowance for the lease car of your choice.

One of the benefits of the Motability scheme is that you can still apply for a lease vehicle if you can’t drive. Nominating someone as your carer, the use of an adapted car can help make your day-to-day life less stressful.

In order to cover the costs of the car, your benefit will be paid directly to Motability each month

Vehicle tax reduction

If you receive the standard rate PIP, you are entitled to a 50% reduction on road tax. This is also applicable to cars with a purchase value of over £40,000 that are ordinarily subjected to an additional charge. To claim this, the vehicle must be registered in the name of the person receiving PIP and must not be used for the personal use of the nominated driver.

Vehicle tax exemption

If you’re receiving higher PIP payments or are eligible for the higher rate DLA, AFIP or the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement, you can apply for vehicle tax exemption. Similar to vehicle tax reduction, your car must be registered in the person in receipt of the allowance and should not be used for the personal use of the nominated driver.

What are the best cars for people with mobility issues?

A blue badge parking space

If you’ve decided to go ahead and either purchase a new car or lease one through the Motability scheme, the next step is to find the perfect fit for you. Each model will have a range of different features, so look for one that meets your requirements. Whether you’re in the market for a large car that will fit a wheelchair in the back or a smaller model that has been adapted to make its handling easier. We’ve composed a list of some of the best models below:

The Caddy Maxi

The Caddy Life series make great family cars. However, it is the Caddy Maxi that is the perfect option if you’re searching for accessible cars on the Motability scheme. The rear entrance is great for loading your wheelchair into the vehicle, whilst the exterior of the car doesn’t compromise on style. The sleek design boasts plenty of space and seating for up to seven people (without loading the boot), and various storage spots can be found throughout.

The Caddy Maxi life is suitable for wheelchairs weighing up to 200kg and can come equipped with a gas strut assisted lightweight ramp. Additionally, the non-slip floor makes this a fantastic addition if you’re looking for a wheelchair-accessible model.

Renault Master

One of the benefits of having a van as you accessible vehicle is the space; not only are they made for loading and unloading heavy objects but, as one of the largest WAVs on the market, you can safely secure yourself in the van using the electronic tie-downs.

The Renault Master also features double rear doors to help you enter the vehicle, the option for a fitted ramp and a comfortable driving position, with the padded seats feeling similar to an armchair. There is a range of different sizes of the Renault Master, so you'll likely find the perfect one to fit your requirements.

Ford Tourneo Connect

The Ford Tourneo Connect is one of the most popular Motability vehicles on the market thanks to its space-saving interior and attractive exterior. This WAV offers plenty of headroom, a flat floor, an environmentally-friendly engine and a strong ramp that makes access to the vehicle simple. There are many different models in the Tourneo range, so it is worth checking with your Motability provider which are on offer.

To read more about mobility, visit our news section or read some of our other mobility-related articles below.

This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.