Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Swivel seats

Woman standing next to swivel cushion on car seat
Swivel cushion

Swivel seats can help you to get in and out of your car more easily. Some come right out of the car and lift or lower to help you to your feet or into a wheelchair. Some let you transfer from your wheelchair inside the car.

Low-tech options

If you find it difficult to get into a car seat and turn to face forward, a device to help you swivel may help. The simplest is a cushion that you put on the car seat. Some have two layers joined with a swivel, so they act as turntables. Others are just made of slippery material. Some people just use a plastic bag. Specialist cushions cost from about £10 to £60.

Note: If you use a swivel cushion (or plastic bag) that is slippery, you must remove it before you drive off - it could be dangerous otherwise as you could slide off the seat in an accident. You need to tell your insurance company if you use any specialist equipment to drive. This includes sliding or swivelling cushions, if you leave them on the seat while driving.

Swivel seat systems

More sophisticated are systems where the whole seat swivels to face sideways out of the car. Some are manual (you release a catch and swing the seat round by yourself), while some are powered. They are available from adaptation firms, from £1,250.

If you have stiff legs, make sure the seat slides back far enough for you to get in - some swivel seats are designed to slide back as you turn through the door to make it easier to get you legs inside. You also need to make sure that you will have enough headroom - especially as you pass through the door.

Most swivel seats replace the original seat. This means you may not be able to have matching upholstery or the features of the original seat, such as adjustable supports, heating, cooling, etc. You'll also have to find somewhere to store the original seat if you mean to refit it later.

All swivel seats use the existing seat mountings. This helps to ensure that the seat is safe, and also means the original seats can be refitted if necessary. One or two models also need additional mountings to be attached to the car.

Swivel seats are more suitable for two and three-door cars because the doors are wider. The range of movement of some swivel seats may be limited in some vehicles, especially on the driver's side.

Always check with the supplier that the swivel seat system will fit in your car. You can compare measurements for hundreds of vehicles by using our Car search feature. 

Types of swivel seat systems

There are three types of swivel seats. Basic swivel seats just turn through 90 degrees to face out of the car. They can be operated by hand or can be powered.

Other seats come right out over the sill. These lifting and lowering swivel seats will also raise you to your feet, or lower you if you have a high vehicle or to help you into a wheelchair. Some are programmed to manoeuvre you out of the car in the easiest way, avoiding the roof and door pillars and sliding back to help you get your legs out.

Some people use a ramp or lift to go into the vehicle with their wheelchair and then transfer inside to a swivel seat to drive. This gives you full independence with a manual or power chair. These internal-transfer swivel seats are fully powered. Some have a lifting action that helps you get your feet round to the front.

Basic swivel seats

Turnout swivel seatAutoadapt Turnout

Price including fitting:
- manual: £1,250-£1,600
- powered: £1,675-£2,150
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • manual and powered versions
  • option of powered sliding action - £700
  • arm rests

Elap Rotating Car SeatElap Rotating Car Seat

Price including fitting:
- manual: £1,250
- powered: £1,995 (2-way), £2,527 (4-way)
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 140/22
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • manual swivel seat, operated by lever
  • fitted with runners for forward and backward movement
  • powered version available, including 4-way option (lifts you up and down as well)
  • adjustable lumbar support
  • optional memory-foam cushion and arm rests

Lifting and lowering swivel seats

Turny Evo swivel seatAutoadapt Turny Evo

Price including fitting: £6,354
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • fully programmable powered action lowers to a preset height
  • options: side supports, lumbar support, neck roll support, remote control
  • fitted to passenger side or middle row
  • can be used with the Carony

Turny HD / Turny Orbit swivel seatAutoadapt Turny HD / Turny Orbit

Price including fitting: £4,000-£4,885
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • manual (HD) or powered (Orbit) swivel
  • powered up-and-down movement lowers to a preset height
  • options: side supports, lumbar support, neck-roll support, remote control
  • fitted to passenger side or middle row
  • three lifting heights: 300, 395, 480mm (12, 15, 19 inches)
  • can be used with the Carony

Belek Car Seat SystemBelek Car Seat System

Price including fitting: £3,620-£5,500
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Steering Developments

  • swivels through 90 degrees and lifts you to your feet or lowers you level with your wheelchair
  • powered up-and-down movement; manual or powered swivel; manual or powered back-and-forward movement
  • extended runners
  • adjustable lumbar support
  • optional arm rests

Elap Discovery 2 swivel seatElap Discovery 2

Price including fitting: £4,458
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 140/22
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • swivels through 90 degrees and lowers you level with your wheelchair
  • fully programmable powered action
  • may use original seat in some vehicles
  • adjustable lumbar support
  • optional memory-foam cushion and arm rests
  • can be used with the Elap Traveller

Swivel seats for transferring inside

Autoadapt 6-way base swivel seatAutoadapt 6-way base

Price including fitting: £1,400-£1,800
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • swivels through 140 degrees
  • lifts 180mm (7 inches)
  • 514mm (20.25 inches) forward/back movement
  • optional extended runners - to 714mm (28 inches)

Ricon 6-way seat base swivel seatRicon 6-way seat base

Price including fitting: £1,320
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 136/21.4
Distributed by: Adaptacar

  • swivels through 90 degrees
  • lifts 228mm (9 inches)
  • 342mm (13.5 inches) forward/back movement
  • extended runners - £51

Turnin swivel seatTurnin

Price including fitting: £1,500
Lifting capacity (kg/stone): 150/23.6
Distributed by: Elap Mobility

  • swivels through 90 degrees
  • no lift

 

Last updated: November 2013


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