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Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 38% of men and women in the United States are obese. Obesity is marked by a body mass index of more than 30 and excess body fat.
When someone who is overweight has decided to shop for a minivan, these drivers will have to consider a few different factors. These factors will be important to not only ensure their safety while traveling but also make sure that they are comfortable.
The Best Minivans For Obese Drivers
There are a lot of different minivans that you can choose from when buying a brand new one so below I have listed the two best models that are considered to be the best in terms of comfort and size. Both of these are good options but all minivans should be pretty comfortable for someone who is a bit overweight so it’s worth test driving all the current year models so you can be sure you pick the best one.
Multiple models are available in the Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager lineup. However, all models have a similar 3.6-liter engine and most of them are front-wheel drive vehicles. The base models encompass features like rear park assistance, blind-spot monitoring and keyless entry. Even, the high-quality cloth seats in this minivan for all the seats make it comfortable not just for the driver but also for the passengers.
How about the suitability of the driver’s seat in this vehicle for an overweight driver?
The driver’s seat is an 8-way adjustable seat with perfect lumbar support. The adjustability feature of the driver’s seat makes it suitable for drivers of different weights including obese drivers. Before deciding on this vehicle or even a specific trim of the vehicle, obese drivers should take a test drive to know whether the driver’s seat in this minivan is comfortable enough for them.
In fact, Toyota Sienna itself is called an overweight minivan. So, overweight and obese drivers will find it easy to handle this vehicle. However, many users of this vehicle feel that despite its huge curb weight, this vehicle never feels to be overweight to them.
The excess weight of this vehicle is due to the extended comfort it offers in the interiors. The driver’s seat in this minivan is also 8-way powered. So, an easy adjustment will become possible as per their requirements for the driver. The heated front seats will make it comfortable for the driver when the vehicle is driven in cold climatic conditions as well.
Again, this is a great option for those people who are a little on the heavier side but it’s certainly something that you want to test drive before purchasing.
Which minivan model is the absolute best for an obese person?
Both of the models mentioned above are excellent choices for those of us who are a bit on the heavier side. Ultimately the decision on which minivan you choose should be based on the comfort that they provide as well as how long that comfort will last.
If you find a minivan that is perfect for you in regards to comfort and spaciousness but the engine or other parts start needing repaired or replaced in just a few short years then you will be back to square one really quickly.
In my opinion the Toyota Sienna is the ultimate winner of the best minivan not only because of its comfort but also because of its longevity. Most Chrysler vehicles start to have issues when they are only a few years old while Toyota’s seem to be built to last a lifetime!
Both the Pacifica and Sienna are quite spacious and comfortable but the Sienna wins the battle in my opinion based on the fact that it is much more likely to last multiple hundreds of thousands of miles with hardly any issues.
Things to consider when shopping for a minivan for an obese driver
Length of the seat belt
The length of the seat belt is the most essential consideration for obese drivers in regards to safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that is responsible for setting the standards that govern the length of the seat belt, the seat belts are designed to accommodate a 215-pound man. That isn’t to say that anyone who is over that weight won’t be able to fit in a seat belt but they might find them to be extra constricting.
If your minivan’s seat belt hurts you when driving, the good news is that seat belt extenders are available. These are designed so you can attach these extenders to the minivan’s seat belt for increasing the length of the belt.
However, all manufacturers do not offer factory-installed seat belt extenders, but thankfully there are many aftermarket choices. Some manufacturers offer customization options if a customer is obese and needs larger seatbelts. Also, some automakers produce models with standard seat belts that are nearly 20 inches longer as compared to the smaller standard belt. When they get such vehicles, obese drivers can eliminate the need for seat belt extenders.
This is yet another consideration for obese drivers. These drivers generally have larger dimension needs so they will need to make sure that the cockpit is roomy enough. In addition to bringing comfort, this is something important for ensuring safety as well.
The American Automobile Association recommends that the best driving position for any driver is with his/her breastbone around 10 to 12 inches away from the center of the steering wheel. When a driver sits closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel, it will increase the chances of facial, neck and arm injury from airbags in the event of accidebt.
Also, during long journeys, this will increase the risk of the driver getting tired. So, it becomes important for obese drivers to choose a minivan with enough legroom for the best seating position.
Obese drivers, of course, should take a close look at the driver’s seat. It should not just be wide but also should be flat enough for providing comfortable accommodation for the driver. Some vehicles come with side bolstering and this will work well for obese and overweight drivers.
With these considerations in mind, obese drivers when comparing minivans should, of course, try sitting in the driver’s seat to find whether all the factors mentioned above are met by a specific minivan make as well as different models.
Often different selections of models will have different comfort features even if the model is the same. Otherwise, if someone loves a specific minivan very much, they can talk to the sales personnel about the option to personalize the vehicle as per their weight and comfort requirements.
Even though it is stated that all minivans bring comfort, the requirement of one driver will be different from others. Particularly, obese people have different requirements and so they will know whether a specific minivan suits their needs only after they test drive the vehicle.
There are many different minivan’s to choose from when you are looking to buy a new vehicle but for someone who is a little heavier the comfort that is offered by the Pacifica and Sienna are hard to beat.
I would always recommend that you sit in and drive any vehicle that you are considering purchasing. I even prefer to find and rent one for a couple of days so that way I can get used to driving it regularly and see if the seats are comfortable and other features work as good as they should.