Ford is a mobile automaker of many “firsts”. Going back in the automotive history you will remember that Ford was the first to begin production of a mass produced car targeting the working class when other automakers were concentrating on the wealthy members of the society.
Later the automaker became the first automobile company to use the V-8 engine on a mass produced vehicle. Ford was also the first American automaker to craft a sports car that beat the German supercars at 24 hours of LeMans and many more…The automaker is at it again.
In the past, when one needed a vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair, they would turn to a minivan or a full size van. Those days are now over courtesy of Ford’s partnership with the renowned mobility outfitter BraunAbility. The two have designed the first wheelchair accessible SUV ever. The model is christened the” 2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV ” because it is based on the current Ford Explorer. The partnership has helped the Ford Explorer further its promise to take people places they could not otherwise go; this is according to Ford Marketing manager, Omar Odeh.
The modifications enable wheelchair users to either ride comfortably or even drive the BraunAbility without any difficulties; read along to find out what makes this SUV so special;
Clever Exterior and interior design
The 2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV has given wheelchair users a completely new and stylish vehicle to choose from when shopping for a vehicle that is specifically tailored to suit their situation.
Actually, the BraunaAbility and the stock Explorer are identical except for the modifications. These modifications include the lowered floor which enables easy access by wheelchair users, missing front center console and the second row seats. Also, the swinging rear passenger door has been replaced by a gliding side-door which accommodates the “space saving in-floor ramp system”. The floor has been lowered and flattened to allow wheelchair users easy access to the cabin and good maneuverability once inside the cabin.
Depending on who is driving, the front seat can be moved to the front passenger side when the wheelchair user is driving or at the driver’s side when the wheelchair user is not the one driving. To enable easy and comfortable driving by a wheelchair user, the gear selector has been shifted from the center console to an adjustable mount which hangs off the lower dash.
The ramp is cleverly hidden on the Explorer’s chassis. The ramp is 28 inches wide and can accommodate a load of 800 pounds. At night, the ramp is lighted for easy access. Its surface is power coated with non-skid and a slotted finish that optimizes traction. It has a reduced elevation courtesy of the smooth transition plate that lowers the traditionally elevated joint.
The third row seats still remain meaning the cabin can accommodate four passengers inclusive of the wheelchair user. BraunAbility has fitted the vehicle with a remote key fob as well as a power-operated sliding door and ramp. This means wheelchair users will open the door and operate the ramp on their own without relying on others.
Except for the extended black-painted skirt at the rocker panel, once the door is closed the Explorer keeps its stock appearance and is identical to the regular Ford Explorer you are accustomed to.
2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV Engine
As said earlier, the 2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV will be availed on the Ford Explorer’s Base, XLT and the Limited trims. This is done to give customers a wide range of features at different prices. The models will be powered by the same engine under the hood of the Explorer.
This is the 3.5 L, V-6 which produces 290 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission system that sends power to the front wheels. AWD is not available because of the lowered floor. The Ford BraunAbility MXV is EPA-estimated to return 17 mpg in city, 24 mpg on highway and 20 mpg on combined drives just as the stock Explorers with the same engine.
Price and release date
During the vehicle’s exhibition, BraunAbility remained tightlipped about its price. However, we know that the model will be produced at the Firm’s facility in Winamac Indiana and will be sold in over 200 dealers in the US starting this fall. We will update you on its pricing once BraunAbility releases such information.
Hats off to Ford and 2016 Ford Explorer BraunAbility MXV for their efforts in ensuring to people in wheelchair get to enjoy the joy of riding luxury SUV vehicle just like other people. Other automakers should follow this example.