What is a good car to rent for a disabled passenger?

My father is temporarily disabled after knee surgery; he can barely bend his knees and is now learning to walk again.

While he is recovering, I need to drive him from Nashville (where he fell and hurt his knees) to his home in Ohio. None of the cars available to us can fit him comfortably with his legs extended, so we need to rent something larger.

My question: what kind of car should we rent? A minivan? The criteria are:

[li]Relatively low to the ground (so Dad can hoist himself in with minimal difficulty);[/li][li]Roomy (since he can’t bend his knees, he’ll need to stretch his legs); and[/li][li]Available from car rental agencies (I usually rent cheap subcompacts so I don’t know their selection).[/li][/ul]

If you have experience driving a person with limited mobility, I’d welcome your advice.

Thanks in advance,

No car rental agency will guarantee you a make and model. They won’t even guarantee the type of vehicle you will rent. You can reserve anything you want. You’ll get what they have when you’re at the counter.

I worked in the car rental industry for several years.

I work in the “I’m the customer” world and if they want my money they cough up the car I ask for.

I would look for something like a Ford 500. They have high seats but the car sits low to the ground.

I would probably go with a minivan - he can have all the legroom he needs if he sits in the back.

In addition to the legroom, minivans have those sliding rear doors, which should make it a little easier for him to get in and out. They are a little higher than a car, but not much.

Ever heard the words, “Or similar” when making a car rental reservation?

I’m so glad I’m out of that business.

I would think a minivan, too, that has a bench back seat and middle seats that fold down.

Then you can fold down one of the middle seats so he can stretch out that way, or he could put his foot up on the other seat, or put his leg across the bench seat.

Hopefully if you request something in the “mini van” class, you will end up with some kind of mini van if not the exact one you wanted.

I imagine “or similar” will be close enough. But do rental agencies make no special provisions for disabled passengers? Just seems like good business sense to me.

Thanks for all the responses so far. Unsurprisingly, we’re leaning toward a minivan.

I have rented cars and gotten exactly what I wanted. Provided I asked early enough. However, I rent for a company that rents a lot, so maybe it’s the corporate thing.

But they can’t promise a minivan and give you a sedan, can they? What if you were planning to use it at full capacity (7 people)?

My disabled friend has raved about how easy it is to get in & out of their Honda Element. I don’t think any rental car outfits carry them, but a few car-sharing ones do - you might check out that option.

Rental car companies can’t guarantee a specific make/model. Some customers will swear up and down they were promised an exact make/model/license plate of a car.

But yes, if you reserve a minivan, you’ll usually get one.

When my SO’s mother had hip surgery a couple of years ago, this is the last thing she wanted. It was actually much easier for her to get into and out of a seat that was a little above her natural hip level, then to get out of a car with low seats. What worked well for her were full size sedans with wide doors and high seats.