Most credible wheelchair accessible vehicle converters and dealerships will offer a no-obligation home demonstration for customers considering purchasing or leasing a WAV through the Motability scheme.

Getting a WAV is a big deal and you need to get it right. You’ll no doubt have done your homework already and whittled your selection down to one you’re really interested in. Much of this process will have been based on comparing features maybe online or by visiting exhibitions and dealership showrooms. A home demonstration is effectively an opportunity to bring the theory – that you’ve picked the right vehicle – to life.

Here’s our handy home demo checklist…

Major features

The primary reason for getting a WAV is so that the wheelchair user doesn’t need to transfer out of their wheelchair. The major features that enable this are going to be the ramp of lift and any mechanism such as a hoist that goes along with it. This is a good starting point since a WAV needs to be convenient to use, or you’ll be discouraged from going out in it. (Make sure that headroom is decent and that the wheelchair user doesn’t feel claustrophobic, etc.)

Getting in and out comfortably, conveniently and above all, safely, should be front of mind.

Size it up

It’s funny how objects can look different when in certain places. For example, you might have assumed you had a large driveway at your home until you saw a WAV parked on it. It’s really important that you have plenty of room to park it and use the ramp/lift feature easily – if not on a driveway, then on the roadside close to your home, etc.

Who’s driving?

It may be that you’ve never been behind the wheel of a WAV before. Although you might well be nervous about the prospect, it’s absolutely essential that everyone that needs to drive or travel in the WAV is comfortable doing so.

If you’ve selected a drive from wheelchair model it makes sense to ensure that the driver can use all of the features and controls independently, without the need to take a carer with them. Incidentally, if a carer is needed to help the wheelchair user, it’s important that they attend the demo since the sales assistant will not be able to act as a carer during the demo.

Does it fit the family?

The layout of a WAV is based primarily around the needs of the wheelchair user. Nevertheless, there may be other people that are driven in the vehicle as well as using it to carry mobility equipment or other kit, luggage or shopping around. All of these scenarios need to be thought through. Again, the demonstrator should be able to talk through storage options and so on that will be convenient and safe to anyone sat in the back of the vehicle if there isn’t a dedicated boot compartment, etc.

Tie downs

Among the most important safety features found on any vehicle are the restraints. In the case of wheelchair users these will literally hold the wheelchair in a stationary position when the vehicle is in motion. You need to feel confident in using these for obvious reasons. Make sure that they are easy to use, even say, if your hands are cold and so on.

Usual places

You need to be comfortable that your WAV will be suitable for you to get around your usual environment, including any places you visit regularly including any roadsides or carparks you frequently stop at.

Park it

WAVs tend to be larger than most other domestic vehicles and with less visibility out of the rear windscreen. This can make parking that bit trickier so it’s well worth having a go during the demonstration. One of the best things about a home demonstration is the expertise offered by the sales assistant. This can help if they’re able to share any tips and advice regarding parking the WAV – since they do it every day.

As mentioned, practise parking the WAV with the wheelchair user in place, just to get a feel for how much visibility you have. You may need to consider adjusting the driver’s seat or adding rear parking sensors, etc.


Some dealerships will request that customers fill out a questionnaire detailing their needs and preferences. Although this might seem slightly invasive, the logic is simple in that disabled people can have very individual needs. The dealership will need to understand the needs of the customer in order to provide an appropriately configured vehicle for the demonstration. Even a small misunderstanding can result in the vehicle being unsuitable.


Disability can shift over time and symptoms can change, including levels of mobility. In turn this might force a change in equipment, such as a different (maybe bigger) wheelchair and this could be problematic if it doesn’t fit in the WAV – or perhaps you have growing children. Consider your likely needs over the course of the WAV’s Motability lease (five years) or longer, if you opt to purchase the vehicle outright.


A home demonstration also helps you to feel in control of the situation. It’s your home patch and you call the shots. It’s also handy to have the sales assistant all to yourself rather than having to wait while they serve other customers and so on. This means that their attention is completely focussed on finding a specific solution to your needs. Hopefully, this will give you the added confidence to ask the questions you really want to ask.

One final bit of advice is to avoid making assumptions. If ,for instance, you have a difficulty with a particular feature, you should certainly ask if there is an alternative available, rather than assuming that the vehicle isn’t for you just because of one small factor. There are hundreds of options and adaptations that could help you to get on the road.

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