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Vantage Mobility Side Entry Vans Review

Comparison of the Vantage Mobility Honda Odyssey & Toyota Sienna Side Entry Vans

 

When it comes to side entry vans, finding the right option to suit your needs can be a bit of challenge. Each wheelchair accessible van has it’s own advantages and drawbacks. Each conversion offers different features or the van offers something a bit different. Vantage Mobility offers conversions to the four top selling van models. The Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. Most of these models come with the option of a manual or power ramp.

Today I am going to look at the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Both vans compete in the Top 5 selling minivans in Canada. Both being imports, it makes for a nice comparison on features and quality. The Sienna and the Odyssey sit behind the Dodge Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey. The Dodge Grand Caravan is the number one selling van in Canada and has been for a long time.

 

Review of the Vantage Mobility Side Entry Honda Odyssey

side entry vans

VMI Honda Odyssey Side Entry Conversion

According to GoodCareBadCare.net, the Honda Odyssey was Canada’s number four selling minivan behind the Toyota Sienna. I had written a Review of the 2016 Honda Odyssey in a previous blog post which reviewed the van itself. Today’s review will focus more on the conversion done by Vantage Mobility. The Honda Odyssey is only available with the power Northstar conversion. Some of the features it boasts are:

  • Additional interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
  • Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  • Reduced wear and tear on conversion
  • Clean, uncluttered vehicle interior
  • Less dirt & debris inside the van
  • Easy access to all interior buttons, handles, and switches
  • Full use of the front passenger seat
  • No squeaking or rattling from ramp
  • Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  • Deployable on curbs up to 10″ high

The Northstar ramp is the only one of its kind for side entry vans. The trolley system is elegant in its simplicity and engineered with very few moving parts. This increases the reliability of the ramp. As well it provides quiet operation and peace of mind. The high-torque motor provides a faster, reliable ramp and the drive belt ensures quiet operation. The ramp has an 800 lb capacity. Vantage Mobility created a video for the Honda Odyssey which you can watch here.

The key dimensions for the Honda Odyssey are:

  • Entry clearance height of 55″
  • Door open width of 30.75″
  • Usable ramp width of 30″
  • Interior height at centre position 60″
  • Interior height at driver position 57.25″

The Northstar Honda Odyssey is ideal for individuals in wheelchairs who are looking to drive the van. One other advantage to the Honda Odyssey is it comes with a remote to control access to the van as well as a kneel down feature which lowers the angle of the ramp. This makes for easy access in and out of the wheelchair van.

 

Review of the Vantage Mobility Side Entry Toyota Sienna

side entry vans

Northstar E Side Entry Toyota Sienna

The side entry Toyota Sienna is available in two different models. The model pictured above is the Northstar E which is Vantage Mobility’s manual side entry conversion. I had written a blog post a little while ago about the Sienna and can be viewed here. The Sienna is also available in a power side entry option like the Honda Odyssey. When it comes to side entry vans, the Toyota Sienna stands out above the other models. The Sienna offers the most room out of any other conversion and manufacturer. The key features on the Northstar & Northstar E conversion are:

  • More room to turn due to the 12″ longer floor
  • Easy entry for wide power chairs on 30″ ramp
  • Maximum door height for tall wheelchairs
  • Industry best headroom because of the 14.9″ dropped floor
  • High ground clearance to reduce scraping

Like the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna leverages the power and convenience of the Northstar conversion. The biggest advantage the Toyota has over the Honda is the option for a manual ramp. The manual ramp is ideal for those who require side entry but do not necessarily require the person in the wheelchair to be the driver.

The Toyota Sienna is also available in the Northstar Access360 conversion which as its name suggests provides 360 degrees of turning radius for the wheelchair. When it comes to side entry vans, the Toyota Sienna offers the most clearance with 57″ height at the doorway and like the Honda Odyssey offers a 30″ wide ramp. The floor length from back bench to the front is 95″ which is 12″ longer than any other model of side entry van. The head height at centre posiiton is 61.8″ and at the driver or front passenger position it is 58.25″ with sunroof or 60.5″ without sunroof. The ground clearance on the van is 5.5″.

You can learn more about the side entry Toyota Sienna by watching the video here.

 

Drawbacks to Both Conversions

Overall, side entry vans provide a good option for those who many need the extra room or are potentially looking at driving the van. However, there are a few drawbacks to side entry vans. The first is the cost. Typically, a new (and even used) side entry van will run $10,000 or more than a rear entry van conversion. Secondly, when a side entry conversion is done, the manufacturer removes the original floor and installs a new floor which can accommodate the wheelchair modification. This type of change to the structure can make for a louder ride when compared to a rear entry conversion. The third challenge people run into (and it is weather dependent), is the lowered floor. In some parts of the country where there is a lot of snow, the bottom will tend to scrap and act like a snowplow.

Conclusion

Both vans are great vans and come down to your needs. If power is a very important option, the Honda Odyssey may be your preferred option. The Toyota Sienna offers the most room. This can be extremely important as you want the person in the wheelchair to fit and for them to be comfortable. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and choice when choosing the right wheelchair van. Feel free to reach out and talk to us about the wheelchair vans in Winnipeg we have available currently.

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