Wheelchair-accessible vehicles have been typically the domain of minivans, but one mobility company is planning to build its first-ever SUV-based vehicle out of a Ford Explorer.
BraunAbility will start making its Explorer-based MXV in August at its Winamac, Indiana facility, with sales starting in the fall of 2015.
On the surface, the MXV looks like a typical Ford Explorer. But the company made radical changes to the SUV to make it easier for wheelchairs to maneuver.
The first and most obvious change is the addition of a sliding door on the passenger side, replacing the hinged rear door. The 54-inch-tall sliding door reveals a powered floor ramp with built-in lighting.
With no middle seat like the standard Explorer has, the MXV has a clear path for a wheelchair to roll into position. The open interior allows for a wheelchair user to ride as a passenger, or, with the front seats removed, allows for a wheelchair user to drive. The sliding gear shifter also increases interior room.
BraunAbility designed the interior to accommodate the most popular power wheelchair models. The entry ramp is 28 inches wide and the interior has 56 inches of cabin height from floor to ceiling.
The MXV also comes with an integrated key fob that also controls the power ramp and has an available towing package.
The Explorer’s 3.5-liter V-6 is also used in the MXV, making 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel economy numbers are 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, with 20 mpg combined.
The MXV was first introduced as a concept vehicle earlier in the year at an event in Daytona, Florida. BraunAbility announced at the introduction that it would give the first production MXV to U.S. Marine Corps veteran Mike Delancey, who was wounded an paralyzed in Iraq in 2006.
BraunAbility hasn’t announced pricing for the MXV, but it will be available at dealerships in early fall.
Check out this TFLcar video review of the MXV’s starting point, the 2015 Ford Explorer: