I’m not one to be overly impressed by something as normal as a Chevrolet Traverse, let alone one that is pushing $80,000. But BraunAbility’s all-new wheelchair conversion of GM’s family crossover gives disabled drivers a super spacious and feature-packed mobility option. Though it doesn’t come cheap.
Wheelchair-converted vehicles are a particular interest of mine. My wife is a disabled driver and we recently purchased a 2019 Honda Odyssey with a BraunAbility conversion this summer. This is a market that doesn’t get a lot of attention, as the vast majority of drivers never have to think about it. For those with mobility issues, these vehicles can be critical for keeping up an active life.
But like almost everything else sold to the disabled community, these cars are costly. When the conversion is factored in “normal” cars price out similar to high-end luxury models.
BraunAbility claims this is the most spacious converted SUV on the market. That is an essential pitch because most SUV/crossover conversions tend to be a lot smaller on the inside compared with the minivan conversions. While features like adaptive cruise control and Apple CarPlay may be high on the list for most car buyers, disabled drivers also need to take into account the floor space of a converted van and the ease of transfer to the driver’s seat — or the ability to pilot the car from their wheelchair.
Some of the highlights of the BraunAbility Traverse via the press release are:
-Transfer seat capabilities that allow users to drive from their wheelchair or the driver’s seat
-Heavy-duty ramp and doorway that accommodates even the largest power chairs
-Lighted ramp for easy navigating in the dark
-Spacious cabin for effortless maneuvering
-Room for three third-row passengers to be seated comfortably, with room for up to seven passengers total
-Step-and-roll seats that can easily be removed for flexibility, fitting up to four wheelchairs (seating options may vary depending on available payload)
Here is a cool video to see some of these features in action.
As noted earlier, a rig like this will cost some serious coin. Currently, Braunability is adapting only the 3LT and RS trims of the Traverse, which brings the starting price to just under $78,000.
Keep in mind that is before any additional adaptive equipment is installed, like a five-way power transfer seat and hand controls. Depending on the need and complexity of these items for the driver, this could add upwards of $7,000 or more to the price of the converted crossover.
The BraunAbility Traverse is also available only in the front-wheel-drive configuration, as an all-wheel-drive chassis would not have room for the floor to be lowered to accommodate a wheelchair.
GM does provide a $1,000 mobility rebate, and often buyers of new models would qualify for current rebates from the manufacturer. That savings could be thousands of dollars depending on the programs.
Even though I’m a firm believer that the minivan is the best tool for the job, I get that not everyone wants to rock a van, so I’m happy to see more vehicle options for buyers within this community.