The new Toyota Sienta was designed as small vehicle adapted to wheelchairs, for personal use.
Welfare institutions mainly use wheelchair-adapted vehicles that are based on minivans and one-box vehicles, but if you have your own unit, this compact model is more convenient as you can use it as a welfare taxi and the like.
The Type 1 wheelchair-adapted Sienta has two configurations: the one equipped with a passenger seat on the second row, and the one that has no passenger seat. Moreover, this model also has a Type 2 version.
Among those models, I’m more curious about the Type 1 that has a second seat space for the wheelchair. This wheelchair-adapted car has a slope that can allow a reclining wheelchair to board, which was previously not supported. There are many patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) who use reclining wheelchairs that can change their postures.
These ALS patients use reclining wheelchairs; therefore, it is significant that a small wheelchair-adapted model that can take a reclining wheelchair has been released by an automaker as a catalog model for personal use.
Then, the wheelchair can be loaded to the left side and a little bit backwards from the second row seat. And its great function is that it enables the passenger in the second seat to assist the passenger that is sitting on the wheelchair.
It is really significant that this wheelchair-adapted model is included in the catalog. Since it can be produced in the production line, there will be no cases of excess units. Previous assistive vehicles were customized by uninstalling the seats and removing some parts of the finished car. And you don’t need to cut its body and weld it again, so it is also advantageous with strong rigidity. It would be rust resistant.
As for the dealers’ side, this car doesn’t have to undergo vehicle inspection during registration; instead, it can already acquire a plate number just by complying with the necessary documents, just like normal cars. Since this car doesn’t remain in dealer’s shops for a long time, in line with it being easily sold according to the salesperson, this model is becoming more familiar.
The Toyota Ractis was also designed to load wheelchairs, but the Sienta has many exterior changes, such as having a higher roof and the like. There are many users of this vehicle who say that they want its exterior part to look as if it’s not a vehicle designed for passengers using a wheelchair, and they had been waiting eagerly for this model with its current roof that was not redesigned. This is also a standard car since it also has a lower floor and nothing else. Further, since Toyota cars have air suspensions, it enables the height of the vehicle from the rear side to slope downwards through those parts (such as the compressor, etc.), and it’s more gentle with the 9.5 degree inclining slope.
The rear slope of the Ractis can only be stored perpendicularly, while the Sienta’s slope can be folded 90 degrees forward after folding it vertically, making it more convenient when there is no wheelchair in the car. For the model with second-row seats, five passengers can occupy the car when there is no wheelchair, and it can have wider luggage space.
The Type 2, on the other hand, is a model that can be loaded with a stretcher, becoming an assistive vehicle based on a minivan or one-box type vehicles. However, there are many customers who also look for a compact car that can be loaded with a stretcher, just like the Sienta. If you’re going to load a wheelchair for children, you can place it in a location where the passenger can reach the driver’s seat so the driver can also assist the wheelchair user.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)