There are several different styles of wheelchair accessible vans including the side-entry and rear-entry designs. Side-entry designs mount the ramp to the side of the vehicle, while rear-entry models connect it through the rear hatch. Each type of wheelchair accessible van has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A side-entry van is most commonly used in areas that offer spacious handicapped parking spaces. These models generally use a ramp that connects to the side of the vehicle. The ramp often slides out from underneath the van's chassis.
Rear-entry designs work well in areas that are lacking sufficient parking space. The chassis is often elevated to provide better stability for the weight on the back of the van.
Wheelchair vans also differ according to the cabin and ramp designs of the vehicle. Vans outfitted with a taller cabin, such as XT models, offer up to an extra two inches of headroom; these models are often used by taller riders. The ramps can either fold out or slide out from underneath the chassis. Slide-out ramps may cause problems, as they tend to collect more debris than their foldout counterparts.
Another option to consider is powered ramps. As opposed to manual ramps, these units function with the press of a button.