Jaco van Staden demonstrates how the Hyundai Tucson makes driving easy.
…because it’s a comfortable drive?
…because of its versatile features?
…because of its dependability?
…because it offers many solutions to the different disability mobility needs?
For most people with a mobility impairment, the answer to this question is easy, it’s because of the ample loading space. As soon as any mobility equipment needs to be transported, whether it’s a wheelchair, scooter, commode, sporting gear, the space inside a vehicle becomes a critical part of the decision making process.
For a small vehicle like the Caddy, the space on the inside is quite impressive! The added benefit of the space inside is that the floor is ultra-versatile, it’s flat and open which enables seats to be easily moved in and out, or folded, making the space ultra-usable!
The Caddy Crew Bus comes with a choice of a short or long wheelbase (Maxi), this provides the option of a 5 or 7 seater. So, on that family outing there is space for everyone, granny, the dogs, wheelchair and more space to fit the walking frame at the back.
Transporting a wheelchair inside the vehicle is always preferential to transporting it on the roof or rack as it reduces the risk of it being stolen or damaged by dust and weather. For larger heavier wheelchairs, a Boot Hoist can be fitted to lift it into the vehicle.
Not many vehicles in this size range are available with this amount of space and come with the option of an automatic DSG gearbox. This opens up the possibility of adaptive driving with hand controls and adapted foot pedals, which has made the Caddy a firm favourite in the disability sector.
If you need to access a vehicle from a wheelchair:
The seat height of the driver and passenger seats is perfect for a standing transfer. With the height adjustments the seat height ranges from 0.63 – 0.71m off the ground. This makes it a fairly high transfer for a sitting transfer from a wheelchair which is usually around 0.52m.
For people with a weaker transfer, they may require a lifting platform for assistance onto the driver’s seat or a Turny seat into the passenger seat.
The rear door opening space is 1.1m high and wide, with a floor height of 0.58m. This can fit a small platform lift into the rear of the vehicle. With the internal height of 1.2m, this can only accommodate small people in wheelchairs and may require a lowered floor conversion with a ramp access from the rear for taller passengers. This conversion can be done by Shoprider, Advanced Vehicle Engineering, EZ Drive, Easy Drive Western Cape and Ronnie’s Automobility.
If it’s comfort and convenience you are looking for:
For a vehicle that is well-recognised as a workhorsevan, it has remarkably comfortable seats and it has the smooth ride of a car, not a typical commercial vehicle. The panel van and crew bus have a very basic and minimalistic finish with no frills and fuss as this vehicle is expected to work, although you will be surprised by what Volkswagen have managed to pack into this commercial vehicle.
For a more luxury finish, the Trendline and Alltrack have generous lashings of comfort and convenience. From the climatic air-conditioning, heated driver’s seat(on the Alltrack model), lumbar support for the driver, multi-function leather steering, cruise control and servotronic power steering to the composition media radio with touch screen and voice recognition and optional park distance control, rear camera and rain sensor wipers. The touch screen is set low on the dashboard, making it easy to reach for people with weak shoulders.
These features may be convenient for an abled-body driver, but for a driver with physical limitations, these extra features make a very big difference totheir ease of driving.
If you want a car for keeps:
The Caddy is here for the long-hall. It’s not one of those cars that needs to be sold as soon as the warranty runs out. The Caddy just keeps going and you can count on it to give you plenty miles of uncomplicated driving. If you are going to spend money on getting it adapted you know that it is designed to outlive the conversion. Reliability is one of its really valuable features when it comes to the responsibility of transporting a person with a disability.
If you have a family:
The short-wheel or long-wheel base (maxi) variants offer a 5 or 7 seater options, with lots of leg room, clever storage spaces, cup holders plus space for luggage at the rear.
And, if you are a camping family and need the torque to pull a caravan, the Trendline 2.0l TDI produces 320 NM @ 1750 – 2500 while the Alltrack 2.0TDI produces 250@a500-2500. This gives plenty of grunt to pull a caravan with ease.
If you want to manage your running costs:
Volkswagen give the option of a 1.0TSI petrol which produces 75kW power with an average consumption of around 5.6litres per 100km. The 2.0l DTI produces 81kW and has consumption ranging from 5.0 litres per 100kms on the open road to 6.9 litres per 100kms around town.
The new Caddy comes standard with a 3-year/60 000km Genuine AutoMotion Service Plan, 3-year/120 000km warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.
So, Volkswagen seem to have a winner here that ticks so many boxes for drivers and passengers with disabilities. By keeping their design honest, dependable and uncomplicated it keeps the doors open for creative solutions and can accommodate a huge variety of needs.
Watch how the VW Caddy makes accessibility easy.
The versatility, size and comfort of a Volkswagen Transporter makes it the ultimate adaptive family vehicle, particularly when a family member requires the use of a wheelchair or scooter. It can be adapted to accommodate both drivers and passengers in their wheelchairs and still leaves enough space for the rest of the family. The level of safety that Volkswagen have built into this vehicle gives peace of mind to parents transporting their precious children and enhances the driving ability of any driver with a disability.
Driving from the wheelchair – the ultimate independence
‘Freedom’ is what Frank Juskievitz found in his Volkswagen Transporter. Life in a wheelchair did not slow Frank down for very long. But after years of transferring between a wheelchair and a car seat multiple times per day, Frank’s shoulders gave in and it became too painful to transfer. That meant that he could no longer get into or out of a car and his independence was shattered.
After months of searching for a solution of how to drive from his wheelchair, his breakthrough came when he discovered that a Transporter was available in automatic. With assistance from Volkswagen Commercial at Unitrans Motors in Alberton, they removed the driver’s seat from a demo vehicle and assisted him into the vehicle to check that he fitted under the steering wheel while sitting in his wheelchair. From there it was just a question of finding a conversion company that could pull together how he would access the vehicle, how to secure the wheelchair and fitting the hand controls. And, then began the fundraising.
Frank was fortunate to get support from Red Skins Golf Club and from friends, who assisted him with fundraising. His dream was slowly converted into a reality. His Transporter not only became his freedom and independence, but it opened possibilities for supporting other people with disabilities.
Being able to take himself to visit people without having to rely on someone else was worth every second of effort that he had put into his search for a solution. It also created the opportunity for him to take up scuba diving as the space in the vehicle allowed room from both passengers and scuba gear. At every opportunity, Frank and his Volkswagen Transporter will be found at Sodwana Bay.
For Frank to be able to drive without having to transfer himself in and out of the vehicle, he needed a lift to be fitted to the rear of the vehicle to give him independent access.
The rear door is opened and closed, via an actuator, which he can control by the push of a button. He had an aluminium floor lining fitted, which covers the stepwell on the passenger and driver’s doors so that his wheelchair wheels cannot fall into one of these gaps.
He removed the driver’s seat and fitted a docking station which secures his wheelchair when he is driving, and he had hand controls and a steering spinner fitted as he does not have enough grip in his hands to hold the steering wheel.
The position of the narrow console for the gear shift helps to create additional space for the wheelchair. He built a narrow holder which fits next to his wheelchair where he can store loose items.
Driving from a swivel seat
After 14 years as a C5/6 quadriplegic, Hennie Greyling has perfected his range of wheels to give him full independence – a central drive Permobile wheelchair and a 4MOTION Volkswagen Transporter.
His job involves lots of driving on rough dirt roads, regularly visiting sugar cane farmers. He frequently does up to 10 transfers a day in and out of his vehicle, along with plenty of hours behind the wheel. He also started developing pain in his shoulders from all the transfers in and out of his previous sedan but when he discovered that a Volkswagen Transporter was available in automatic and in 4×4, he did not look back.
Since his wife also needs to drive their Transporter, he chose not to drive from the wheelchair but rather went for the 6-way swivel seat.
The features of the vehicle that were important to him were firstly, the space available in a Transporter, particularly the head height as he is a tall man. Although he needs to duck his head when moving through the doorway, he can sit comfortably inside and has enough headroom when transferring.
Secondly, the 4MOTION was essential for him as he needs a 4×4 for the environment that he lives, works and plays in. The ground clearance is higher than any other vehicle in this range and it is the only one with a 4×4 option. He uses the cruise control all the time when driving long distances; this reduces the need to constantly apply the accelerator/hand control.
The 6-way swivel seat is an aftermarket conversion, which is height adjustable and enables him to adjust the height in relation to his wheelchair so he can always do a downhill transfer. This gives him the edge on making the transfers easier than a flat transfer.
Watch how it only take Hennie 47 seconds to get behind the wheel!
Hennie regularly needs to take extra passengers in his vehicle, so he had two flip-up seats fitted at the rear of the vehicle, which still allows him access when they are folded up.