John Gilbert Staff Editor
February 17, 2016

Mobility is an issue that transcends gender and race, affecting any human being with restricted ambulatory abilities. “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” is an old expression that’s often found in blues or rock music lyrics and couldn’t hit closer to home than for someone who has lost a portion of his or her ambulatory functions severe enough to impede operating a motor vehicle. It’s all about individual freedom. Jumping behind the steering wheel and driving anywhere you desire is about feeling free and regaining quality of life.

The emphasis is on dependability. Here’s great news for anyone in search of a professionally designed and engineered mobility vehicle. The Ford Explorer, the world's best-selling SUV for 25 years, is now the world's only volume-production wheelchair-accessible SUV.

Ford Motor Company and BraunAbility have joined forces to create the BraunAbility MXV, a wheelchair-accessible SUV that gives wheelchair users the quality and dependability of a BraunAbility mobility vehicle and the adventurous, "unstoppable" spirit of an Explorer.

“We’re thrilled the Explorer name is connected to such a highly respected brand like BraunAbility,” said Omar Odeh, Ford marketing manager. “Explorer has always been associated with helping people go places they otherwise could not, and BraunAbility MXV furthers that reputation.”

The BraunAbility MXV—available with Explorer base, XLT, and Limited models—features patented sliding-door technology, removable driver and passenger seats, and a powered, lighted in-floor ramp. A sliding shifter and front seat base design provide for increased space, while an integrated key fob operates both door and ramp. A tow package is also available.

Interior space is maximized to create ample room for wheelchair navigation and comfort. Wheelchair users can drive the vehicle from a wheelchair or ride as a passenger. Notable dimensions are as follows.

• 55-inch usable side door opening height
• 28 1/2-inch usable ramp width
• 58-inch interior height (vehicle center)
• 59-inch interior height (for driver and passenger)
• 55-inch interior floor length behind front seats
• 59 1/2-inch interior width at B-pillar

“Our customers are very excited to have a mobility option that reflects their individuality,” said Nick Gutwein, BraunAbility president and CEO. “For us, Ford Explorer was the obvious choice. It’s an iconic American vehicle that reflects the ultimate in independence and freedom.”

Featuring a 3.5L V-6 engine, the BraunAbility MXV delivers the performance and capability Explorer drivers have embraced for years, including an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 24-mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined (actual mileage will vary). MXV also delivers an estimated 5,000-pound maximum tow capacity.

The BraunAbility MXV is produced at BraunAbility's 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Winamac, Indiana. It is sold at more than 200 authorized dealers throughout the United States.