All images in this post are courtesy of Newmar Corp and Winnebago
We recently met a very inspiring guy, Cory Lee of Curb Free with Cory Lee. Cory has been in a wheelchair since the age of 4, but he doesn’t let that hold him back. He’s a very successful travel blogger that shares his experiences of what it’s like to travel with a disability and how he doesn’t let it hold him back. Since we own an RV, that made me wonder if companies make a Handicap Accessible RV?
If you want to learn more about Cory and his incredible travels, I’ve added a link to his site: Curb Free with Cory Lee
Handicap Accessible RV Manufacturers
Yes, Class A RVs can be wheelchair accessible. There are two manufacturers that produce wheelchair-accessible motorhomes- Newmar and Winnebago. You can also have an RV that is not originally designed as wheelchair accessible modified to accommodate people with limited mobility. You can also find preowned motorhomes that have been modified to offer enhanced accessibility.
How Big is the Wheelchair Accessible RV Market?
According to the US Department of Transportation over 25 million people in the U.S. have a travel limiting disability and as Baby Boomers age, that number continues to rise.
People with mobility issues are further challenged by the inconvenience of airports and airline travel, in addition to being able to find suitably equipped accommodations once they reach their destination. Wheelchair accessible RVs offer those that are mobility challenged the comforts and privacy of home and the freedom to travel. As an added benefit, pets or service animals can comfortably travel with their owners.
It’s not just the Baby Boomers that are a part of the growing RV market. Families with special needs children are finding RV travel to be less stressful and more enjoyable than typical travel plans.
What are the best features of a wheelchair-accessible RV?
Basic wheelchair-accessible features may include ramps and handrails, but the newer RVs are offering options that make travel much easier.
Best Limited Mobility Features in RVs Include:
- Remote control platform power wheelchair lifts
- Powered roll-up lift doors
- Lifts that fold into storage bays instead of the living area
- Widened doorways for easy access
- Wall-mount and key-fob remote controls
- Power adjustable dining tables
- Height adjusted appliances
- Expanded hallway and toilet areas
- Large roll-in showers
- Height adjusted switches, outlets, drawers and countertops
- Electric adjustable beds
- Height adjusted TV placement
- Hand controls for drivers
- Remote-control roof vents
- Systems monitor placement
- Interior handrails
When Newmar and Winnebago decided to build their RV mobility lines, they did not compromise. Both companies offer similar features, however, Newmar offers the most luxurious amenities. The special power lift storage offered by Newmar is an outstanding feature that puts them into the true luxury Class A category.
Newmar Handicap Accessible RV Luxury Motorhomes
Newmar makes some of the best and most luxurious motorhomes and they continued the quality and craftsmanship in their three wheelchair accessible models. As Newmar says their mobility line RVs are “Where Accessibility Meets Extravagance”.
Dutch Star 4311 Handicap Accessible RV
Their biggest and nicest in the mobility line is the Dutch Star 4311. When purchased new, these beauties start at around $480,000. This diesel-powered 43-footer offers extra-wide aisles that allow navigation with a wheelchair even while the RV is in motion. Offering all the standard amenities like a roll-in shower, height-adjusted switches and appliances, and even a power-adjustable dining table this model is the finest on the market.
The power lift retracts into a luggage compartment instead of the coach entryway. What a great way to add more interior space to your motorcoach! This is truly a top-of-the-line motorhome that does not compromise on luxury.
Ventana 4311 Handicap Accessible RV
A little less luxurious is the Ventana 4311 coming in at around a $380,000 price tag. This RV is also a diesel 43-footer and offers the same wheelchair-accessible features as the Dutch Star, but with a little less glamour. The Ventana also has a power lift that tucks away into a luggage compartment which is incredibly convenient and space-saving.
Canyon Star 3911 Handicap Accessible RV
The third in Newmar’s Mobility series is the Canyon Star 3911 gas-powered RV and is the least expensive in the $230,000 range. This motorhome is a little smaller and less fancy than the others in the mobility line, but if you want Newmar quality in a gas motorhome then this may be the right one for you.
|2020 Canyon Star Lift
Credit: Newmar Corp
|2020 Canyon Star Bedroom
Credit Newmar Corp
If you would like more information on the Newmar Mobility line, this link will take you to their website: Newmar Class A Motorcoaches
Winnebago Handicap Accessible RV
Winnebago has been around for over 60 years and believes that the joy and comfort of RV travel don’t have to end with mobility limitations. They have been offering wheelchair customizations on their RVs for over thirty years and that makes them pretty experienced at what they do. And what they do is offer three lines in the Winnebago Accessibility Enhanced Motorhomes or AE Series.
If you want to learn more about the Winnebago AE line of RVs, then check out the 2020 Winnebagos. Winnebago gave us an exclusive tour and video interview.
Forza 34T AE Handicap Accessible RV
The top of the line Winnebago AE is the Forza 34T AE. This is a 34-foot diesel motorhome that offers all the standard mobility features and is the only diesel in the Winnebagos AE line. This RV is on a Freightliner chassis which provides an improved ride. The 3-year/100,000-mile warranty makes this RV worth a look if you want a reasonably priced wheelchair-accessible diesel. With a base price of $341,000.
Adventurer 30T AE Handicap Accessible RV
The second in the AE series is the Adventurer 30T AE by Winnebago. This is a gas RV that is 31 feet long and offers all the same type of mobility features as their diesel RV, just in a smaller package. The base price of the Adventurer is $230,000.
Intent 30R AE Handicap Accessible RV
The smallest AE that Winnebago offers is the Intent 30R AE. This 30-foot RV is also a gas-powered unit but is designed for maximum space and is a great entry-level wheelchair-accessible RV. The price tag on the Intent starts at $202,000.
If you would like more information on the Winnebago AE Series, this link will take you to their website: Winnebago AE Motorhomes
How Much Does a Luxury Handicap Accessible RV Cost?
Depending on whether your budget allows you to purchase new, pre-owned or modify your existing RV to be wheelchair accessible, the price range can vary greatly.
Buying New– You can purchase a new RV from either Newmar or Winnebago which are the only manufacturers currently building mobility lines. Prices begin at around $200,000 and can go up to almost $500,000 depending on the amenities selected.
Buying Pre-Owned– Start by doing a Google search for Wheelchair Accessible Class A RVs for sale, but they are not easy to find. Probably the best idea is to select a dealer that sells new motorhomes that are wheelchair accessible and let them know you are in the market for a pre-owned unit should they get trade-ins. I found a few in the $100,000-$200,000 price range but it’s hard to tell the quality without seeing the RVs in person.
Make Your RV Wheelchair Accessible- Depending on your needs, it might be possible to make your existing motorhome wheelchair accessible. Minor modifications such as handrails and RV handicap ramps are possible but adding wheelchair power lifts and widening doorways may not be structurally possible or cost-effective. The cost varies but begins at around $1,000 for a basic ramp and can quickly reach $5,000-$7,500 for lifts.
If you need a lift for your mobility scooter or golf cart on your RV, you may want to learn about the different RV Cargo Lift Systems.
Can you rent wheelchair-accessible Class A RVs?
Yes, you can rent wheelchair-accessible Class A RVs. The cost depends on the size of the RV, the amenities required, and the length of time of the rental.
Can you modify a Class A RV to be wheelchair accessible?
Yes, you can modify a Class A RV to make it wheelchair accessible, but industry experts say that Class B and C motorhomes are easier and less expensive to modify. Depending on your needs, the cost to widen doorways and add power wheelchair lifts may not be as cost-effective as buying an RV that was designed with those features already.