2006 Honda Odyssey good for Handicap/Wheelchair access

Greetings group,
My wife has been rendered paralyzed as a result of brain surgery, and I was wondering if the Honda Odyssey would make a good vehicle for
transporting her in a wheelchair. I test drove one today and they seem quite roomy, and I like the fact that the back seats fold flat, which means that I could put a ramp in the back of the van. I may be able to get by with the side doors, but they appear to not open far enough.
Regardless, anyone here think I would regret purchasing that van specifically for the purpose of hauling my wife, who is paralyzed on the left side of her body, around?
Thanks,
Chris
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Are you going to lift her out of the chair and into the van? Or are you looking for something to convert for "roll-in" convenience? If the former, then any vehicle that A) you can put the chair in (folded or not) and B) the door and seats are arranged such that YOU can physically manage it, will do. If the latter, is anybody doing conversions on the Odyssey? Braun for example? I haven't seen any Hondas yet. Mostly been domestic vans and very recently Toyotas.
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On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 02:14:53 GMT, "Seth"

Actually, I was planning on having a ramp or lift installed at the rear of the vehicle to wheel her into it in while she is in her wheelchair. This will make it easier on those helping us out by taking her to various doctor's appointments.
I started to price already converted vehicles, and saw that new they were running $60,000 and I thought that was entirely too much money because I just want a simple transport vehicle, not a land yacht.
I almost purchased a brand new Odyssey today, but thought I should research it further.
Thanks again,
Chris
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Well, I did a little more looking and still nothing on a Honda. In fact, I found an article from just 2 weeks ago that specifically says no to Honda and Nissan... {For instance, conversion packages are available on some van models produced by Ford, General Motors, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler, but not on import models such as the Honda Odyssey or Nissan Quest.}
Full article at http://www.birf.info/home/library/transport/trans_van.html
For better info,as Tegger says, check out some of the newsgroup specific to disabilities or your local hospital. Also, you don't say where you are so no one can really point you at a place to go look. I can tell you to contact Mike (my hopefully future brother in law) at http://www.actionmobilityproducts.com /, but if you're not near South Florida, that's probably not much help to you.
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On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 02:52:54 GMT, "Seth"

I am in Louisiana. I just fired off an email to a place that does conversions in a nearby city. Hopefully they will respond or call me back.
Although I have found some websites that said no to the Honda, I have also read that the new Odyssey is bigger than the old models. Most of those ultra expensive vehicles are American made vans that have everything but the kitchen sink, and the only thing I need is a vehicle that will get me (or some of those helping out) from point A to point B with my wife in her wheelchair.
Truth be told, I would much rather purchase a Honda or Toyota mini-van over some of the American competition out there. The reason I really want to go with Honda is due to the fact that the dealership is walking distance from my house. This has made service on my wife's 1997 Civic and my 2000 Accord real easy. In other words, I am spoiled with having the dealer so close.
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But if no one is doing Honda's in quantity, you will pay just as much anyhow as it will be more of a "cutsom" job to provide what you want vs. buying the "commonly" converted vehicles that they can churn out quickly and at a lower "per part" cost. If the shop has to fashion their own brackets and lifts and such to suit the Honda, the labor rate will be through the roof vs. using "off the shelf" parts.
Unfortunately the accessible van business is still very specialized and as such prices will be high while selection is low. Just 10 years ago, mini vans were barely being used. It was all commercial style vans with lifts instead of mini vans with drop floors and ramps.

Toyota is recently viable for this, so you may have some luck there.
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With all due respect, you may be best to ask this question of the various companies that make "mobility vans" or "handicap vans". They would have the most experience in this matter.
Was your hospital any help in pointing you to a source?
I just Googled for the term "mobility vans" and there are almost too many hits to choose from.
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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I would like to extend to you and your wife my wishes for the best in the future. I'm so sorry that she and you have been struck with such an unfortunate turn of events. As to the question about the vehicle, I can't help you with an answer.
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On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 09:36:58 GMT, "Brian Smith"

Thanks for the well wishes.
Sadly, from what I am seeing, Honda does not appear to offer any type of mobility van, and most ramps say "except Honda Odyssey" so I may have to look elsewhere. There is a Toyota Rampvan dealer about 50 miles away, and I will call them tomorrow or Monday. I am starting to like the idea of an integrated power ramp that can be activated manually.
I am just glad that I did not purchase the first minivan that came to mind on a whim, because I would have been screwed.
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The key is to check out all of the options available to you and then make a decision based on information rather than emotion.
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Don't buy anything until you have a conversion lined up. As vans get more and more features, converting them becomes more and more difficult. Toyota has a page dedicated to handicapped access. Also check ebay. If you are talking about a manual ramp, they are heavy and have to be extremely long. There are lifts for loaded and unloaded chairs. There is a lot to this subject. Don't buy a vehicle until you know what you need.

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Here is the place to start looking:
National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
The N.M.E.D.A. toll free number is 800-833-0427.
Chris B wrote:

-- Tp,
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No Lawsuit Ever Fixed A Moron...
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wrote:

Well, after speaking with my wife, I am going to check out one of the new Scion xB mobility vehicles next week. She really did not want me to get a full sized van due to the various individuals that will be driving it, so I decided to look into something more "car like".
Once again, I want to thank everyone in the group for getting me pointed in the right direction. I am so glad that I did not impulse buy the Odyssey, even though I really wanted one.
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