Toyota’s Yaris Verso is ideally suited for people with disabilities because of the easy access it affords, according to former paratrooper Ken McIlwee, who has just taken delivery of the car he ordered under the Motability scheme.
“I wanted a Toyota because of the reliability factor,” says Ken, “and I liked the Verso because of its roominess. It’s quite high, so it’s easy for me to get in and out. I can open the door and just sit in the driving seat without having to make any special effort, unlike other cars where you have to squeeze yourself in. It’s comfy and smooth, the family love it and the space is unbelievable for such a small car.”
As a War Pensioner, Ken is entitled to a special vehicle allowance through Motability. This is the charitable body helping people who receive War Pensioners’ Mobility or Higher Rate Disabled Living allowances to obtain new vehicles on contract hire, or to buy new or used vehicles on hire purchase.
Through a cruel twist of fate, Ken McIlwee’s father had sustained an almost identical injury in a hit-and-run road accident some years before, and already runs a car through Motability. “I have found Motability helpful,” says Ken. And he praised local Toyota dealership Abercromby Dunfermline in Halbeath: “They were fantastic and very helpful – my wife and I took an instant liking to them. I think we will be dealing with Abercromby for years to come.”
Most of the UK’s 220 Toyota dealerships have a Motability Specialist trained to advise customers on suitable vehicles and, where necessary, adaptations to controls. The Yaris Verso has become a popular choice because, apart from its accessibility, it combines the interior space of a multi-purpose vehicle with the fuel economy of a compact.
Its lively 1.3-litre VVT-i 16-valve engine with manual transmission, as specified by Ken McIlwee, returns 44.1mpg on the combined circuit, and its road-holding and responsive performance offers the sort of control and safety normally associated with larger cars. Recognised as the safest car in its class, standard features include twin airbags, tilt-adjustable wheel, power-assisted steering and mirrors, electric front windows and central 3D projected dashboard display.
Ken, who is 42 and lives in Kirkcaldy, Fife, has now joined the Corps of Commissionaires, which employs ex-soldiers as security officers, and is working at the Edinburgh Conference Centre. Keeping fit in a gym, he now plans to get involved with downhill skiing through the Scottish Disability Sport Organisation.