The Ford Transit Connect Wheelchair upfit is probably the cheapest new wheelchair transport vehicle on the market. Brand new the Transit msrp's for about $24,000 and upfit will probably cost a minimum of $5,000 with a rear lift. Ford has a $1,000 handicap upfit allowance on a new vehicle, which should put you about $28,000 brand new.
We checked into one of these from a dealer in florida that had one listed on ebay. But with the 54" entry height and 56-58 interior height it just didn't meet our minimum requirements of 56" entryway and 60" interior height. But this vehicle was very economical and had a lot of cool features like an overhead storage shelf above the drivers seat and 5 doors which would have made wheelchair tie downs a breeze. If you were transporting someone in a manual wheelchair this vehicle is perfect!
There is only a small handful of wheelchair capable vehicles that taught and EPA 25 MPG highway, and this is one of them.
I should add there are other upfits one with a lowered floor and a ramp rear entry (side entry isn't possible as the doors don't open wide enough). These models have about a 3 foot wide box cut into the floor that extends up to the back of the front seats. There is no maneuvering in a power chair in this design and requires the the powerchair operator to back up in a perfect straight line for about 8 feet before they are on the pavement.
One of the other problems with the Ford Transit Connect is with the rear entry setup the vehicle is only a 2+1 configuration ie 2 ambulatory passengers and 1 wheelchair maximum. And there is no storage of any kind if you were wanting to travel. With the rear entry you can't put a bike rack or trailer on the back. You could probably get a roof rack for it being it's a commercial vehicle but the little van is actually fairly tall so you would need to carry a ladder too to utilize the rack and mileage suffers with odd shaped stuff on the roof of a car or truck.
I really liked the idea of Ford Transit Connect Wheelchair Van, but after doing some research I couldn't make the little van fit our needs. How do you feel about this vehicle? Anyone have any firsthand experience with it?