SUVs have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade and it seems that the sky has become the limit when it comes to the variety of small, mid-size, large and crossover SUVs available. Ford Motor Company alone reported a 5 percent increase in sales in July thanks to its trucks and SUVs per CNBC.com in a recent article. While the number of SUVs consumers has grown, one group who has not been able to take advantage of the SUV boom is those who require a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible, until now that is. Ford has teamed up with BraunAbility to offer the first volume-production wheelchair accessible SUV, the Ford Explorer MXV.
What is the Ford Explorer MXV?
The Ford Explorer MXV is the latest in wheelchair accessible vehicles that give those who are disabled another mobility vehicle choice other than just the traditional minivan. The minivan has historically been the go-to because of its open design, large sliding doors, and seating flexibility that make it ideal for conversion to a wheelchair-friendly vehicle. BraunAbility has been converting vehicles for wheelchair access for over 40 years and is the world leader in mobility solutions. Prior to the MXV, they specialized in converting already purchased minivans and installing wheelchair lifts on a variety of vehicles. The new Explorer MXV SUV marks a milestone in building vehicles that help the disabled enjoy their freedom. The Explorer MXV gives the disabled a more versatile vehicle option over a minivan and it marks first time a vehicle like this will be available across the country at over 200 authorized BraunAbility mobility dealers.
Converting an Explorer into an Explorer MXV
For Ford and BraunAbility it only made sense to choose the Explorer as it has been the best-selling SUV in the United States for the past 25 years. Coincidentally, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it the perfect time to introduce this great new mobility vehicle option. The Explorer MXV will give users the ability to drive it right from their wheelchair in the driver compartment, ride along as a passenger on the passenger side, or ride in the spacious cabin area behind the front seats. Other changes to the Explorer to complete the transformation to the MXV include –
• an expanded 54-inch door height
• a 28-inch wide entrance ramp
• a sliding shifter to allow more room for a wheelchair
• minimized front seat bases to open more floor space
• a remote sliding door and ramp operation
The Explorer MXV will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and be available with all the standard features and available options as any other Explorer trim. It will also be available with a 5,000-pound capacity towing package to offer even more freedom to tow a boat, camper, or trailer.
The first Explorer MXV already has an owner
The first Explorer MXV to be completed will be donated by BraunAbility to Marine veteran Mike Delancey. Mike Delancey was paralyzed by a bullet while serving in Iraq in 2006 and spent 42 days in an intensive care unit recovering from his injuries. Even though Delancey is paralyzed, he is giving back to his fellow veterans by opening the Wounded Warrior’s Abilities Ranch that helps returning soldiers can strengthen both their bodies and minds through recreation and exercise.
Production of the Explorer MXV is expected to start sometime in August with availability starting in early fall and can be purchased at any one of the 200 authorized BraunAbility dealers located throughout the United States. If you or someone you know is disabled and requires a mobility vehicle, the Explorer MXV can offer more freedom than ever before with its capability to tackle paved roads as well as those roads less traveled. Ford and BraunAbility want to ensure that even though you may require a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you have another option than the traditional minivan with the functional, fun-to-drive Explorer MXV.