Allied Mobility’s special reporter, Helen Dolphin, recently reviewed our Peugeot Impulse™. Check out her thoughts below.
Until a few years ago, drive-from wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) would have to be designed and made especially for the user. For people with complex adaptation needs this is still the case, but for those requiring standard adaptations there are now a number of vehicles which can be bought ready to drive from your wheelchair.
At a recent Allied Mobility Day I spotted the Peugeot Impulse™, Allied’s drive-from wheelchair vehicle. After a quick chat with one of their mobility consultants, Karen, I was very excited to give the vehicle a test drive.
Considering the Future
I currently drive a standard vehicle and either walk or use a manual wheelchair for short distances and a powered wheelchair when I go further afield. My powered wheelchair is heavy and difficult to dismantle so I rarely take it with me in the car. Although I can lift my own manual wheelchair in and out, I am acutely aware that as I get older, walking on prosthetics and loading my own wheelchair will not be so easy. It’s very likely I will need to use a powered wheelchair and drive a WAV to stay independent.
I met up with Karen again and we started the full vehicle demonstration. I was keen to try out the Impulse™ using my powered wheelchair. Unlike a standard car there’s no need to worry about transferring or dismantling your wheelchair, you simply press a button on the key fob and the tailgate opens and the ramp at the back drops down. You then drive up the ramp and into the driving position. A quick push of a button on the dashboard closes the tailgate behind you.
Karen explained the vehicle is fitted with a docking station which allows the wheelchair user to secure the wheelchair independently.
Both the driver and front passenger seats can be easily removed meaning there’s also the option to be an upfront passenger.
To start the engine there’s a key ignition which can be changed to a push button if, like me, you struggle turning keys. I was pleased to see that an electric hand break was standard and operated by an easy-to-turn button on the dash. The Impulse™ also features an automatic transmission and push/ pull hand controls on the right-hand side (you pull to accelerate and press to brake).
Having not driven a WAV before I was surprised by how normal it felt driving from my wheelchair. I enjoyed the fact that I could get in and out so easily. I’m not quite ready to swap from my standard car to a WAV just yet but it’s reassuring to know when the time comes, I’ll be able to drive a vehicle like this without having to make extensive driving modifications.
*Images courtesy of Paul Dolphin.