Scion xB Rampvan: A stylish ride

The Scion xB Rampvan has a great deal going for it: It gets good gas mileage. It’s affordable. It   performs well. It’s also quite attractive. In fact, as it’s moving down the road, other drivers will have no idea that it’s even a rampvan.

The engineers at BraunAbility worked with the basic Scion xB body type to create a wheelchair van that looks no different from any other passenger vehicle on the road. This is a big plus: Many wheelchair vans, while functional and reliable, fail in the looks department: They’re boxy and bland.

Even more impressive than the Scion rampvan’s aesthetics is its fuel efficiency and performance. On the road, the Scion drives like any other car, despite the extra weight it’s carrying. It’s also as quiet as most vehicles. The Scion xB Rampvan boasts good gas mileage, too, getting more than 30 miles per gallon in highway driving.

You get an extra bonus with the Scion wheelchair van: Because it’s not a full-size minivan, the xB can park in parking spots reserved for traditional cars. This is a nice feature if you’re cruising through a crowded parking lot looking for any available space.

Combine these features with a reasonable price tag – the Scion xB costs about $16,000 pre-conversion to a wheelchair accessible van – and it’s little wonder that this particular vehicle has become a popular one in the mobility van market.

Accessibility Features

The Scion xB’s conversion is a fairly typical one. The accessibility pros at BraunAbility have removed the car’s back seats, and lowered the floor immediately behind the front seats. They also cut away the car’s lower rear bumper, making it part of the hatch lid.

Of course, there’s a bi-fold ramp that when extended leads from the Scion xB’s rear to the pavement.

Wheelchair or scooter users will find that getting into and out of the Scion xB to be an extremely easy task. That’s because everything relating to access issues is automated.

You’ll simply have to press a single button to start the process: First, the car’s air springs will activate, allowing the vehicle to “kneel” closer to the ground. This allows for a lower ramp angel, making it easier for wheelchair and scooter users to make their way up the ramp and into the Scion.

Next, the Scion xB’s rear hatch will automatically lift. The wheelchair ramp will then extend from the back and rest onto the pavement. When all passengers are safely inside, another button press starts the process up again, only in reverse this time. The whole process requires little effort and no muscle on the part of owners.

Nothing’s Perfect

As comfortable and attractive as the Scion xB Rampvan may be, it’s not a perfect vehicle. The main problem is that the car is a bit too small.

Taller wheelchair users may find the headroom of the Scion lacking. The relatively small rear half of the car also makes it difficult for wheelchair or scooter users to move around comfortably.

The Scion xB also fails to allow wheelchair users to sit in their chairs in its front row. This means that these riders must be able to transport themselves, or have someone assist them, from their wheelchairs to the front passenger or driver’s seat.

The car does come with an optional power transfer seat. This seat, with the press of a button, slides out and turns so that wheelchair users can get in and out.

Many Options

Like all Scion’s the xB Rampvan comes with a host of accessories that owners can choose or disregard depending on their preferences.

Owners can select their own trim colors. They can opt for custom steering wheels. And they can upgrade to fancier interiors and seat covers.

The Scion xB also comes with plenty of standard accessories. A powerful air-conditioning system; power windows, mirrors and locks; and power steering come standard. So does a quality CD player.

There’s plenty to like about the Scion xB Rampvan. If the smaller size of this vehicle isn’t a negative for you, it might prove to the be the ideal wheelchair van for you and your family.