Since I write and read about cars all the time, I don’t typically get too excited about new products. While the latest Ferrari hypercar bores me and the all-new F150 Lightning strikes me as kinda neat, BraunAbility created their first-ever hybrid minivan with a wheelchair conversion and they have my attention.
(Clarification, May 20, 12:18 p.m.: Freedom Motors USA emailed to say that it announced its own Sienna conversion in January. Some language in this post has been tweaked.)
Wheelchair-converted vehicles are a special interest of mine since I have a bit of experience with them. I am fascinated by the engineering that goes into these transformations in order to give folks with mobility issues more freedom. Recently, BraunAbility launched a wheelchair converted Chevy Traverse, and it might be the coolest Traverse on the market.
Not to be outdone by Chevrolet, Toyota has partnered with BraunAbility to adapt the all new Toyota Sienna. It’s no secret that the minivan is the absolute best tool for the job if you need to move around people, and the new Sienna is one of the best family haulers you can buy.
Unlike Chevrolet that will only have two trims available for conversion, the BraunAbility Sienna gives buyers the option to add the wheelchair adaptations on all trims. The conversion cost is $34,230 and each of the trim levels have pricing as follows.
- LE Package – $35,710
- XLE Package – $41,000
- XLE Plus Package – $43,000
- Limited Package – $49,865
This means a fully-loaded Limited will retail for $84,095 and that is before any further modifications like hand controls, and multi-way power transfer seats are added. Those items can easily push the price near $90,000 for a top-of-the-line Sienna. The conversion is available for front-wheel-drive models only.
BraunAbility boasts some upgrades over the previous generation such as a quieter cabin, wider driver’s area, a 29.5” inch ramp and 56” inches of height in the cabin. The biggest improvement is the fuel economy as the company claims that the adaptive van retains 36 mpg on the highway. The biggest downside to converted vans is the extra weight makes them extra thirsty. My wife’s 2019 Odyssey EX-L gets about 27 mpg highway during normal use.
The BraunAbility Sienna is another great option for buyers looking for a high quality and fuel-efficient van, but like most vehicles, in this segment, it doesn’t come cheap.