Car search FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding our car search.

RiDC is a UK research charity that works with older and disabled people and has an active consumer research panel.

Our aim is to provide high-quality research and information to enable people to better make choices.

What is the RiDC car search? 

The RiDC car search is a unique online database of measurements of over 1,700 vehicles. It's free for anyone to use.

We measure vehicles in a laboratory in Germany as part of a project for Motability and:

  • The project has been going since 2007.
  • We measure over 173 new vehicles each year as part of an ongoing programme.

Why do you measure cars? 

To help disabled people find specific accessibility measurements that are needed when choosing to buy a car. 

For example:

  • a wheelchair user may need a specific driver's seat height to make a level transfer
  • an older passenger may need a high seat height because bending down is difficult
  • a carer who loads a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a boot may want a boot with no sill to make it easier

How do you measure cars? 

We do this in a laboratory in Germany as part of the other vehicle tests by European consumer organisations such as Which? and, for example, Stiftung Warentest in Germany. 

Read about how we measure vehicles.

How many vehicles are on the RiDC car database? 

To date, we have over 1,700 vehicles on our database. 

We continue to measure new cars as an ongoing programme.

We show all our data, including for older cars, as this allows people to search if they want details of second-hand vehicles. 

How can I use the data? 

  • The data is free for anyone to use on the RiDC website. 
  • The measurements help people to check on the accessibility features of vehicles. They're also useful for people who are interested in internal measurements. 
  • The data is searchable. Each vehicle has an accompanying PDF document, free to view and download. 

Is the RiDC car data free to download, for example in an Excel table? 

The car data is the property of RIDC and Motability as part of a contractual arrangement. The data cannot be passed on in its entirety to anyone else. It's used as part of the vehicle data-sheet on the Motability vehicle price guide.

What can I find on the car search? 

In RiDC's car search we have measurements of standard vehicles, not adapted vehicles or wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). For WAVs, go to Motability WAV information.

Read about the detail of how we measure vehicles.

Are the measurements just for older and disabled people to use? 

No, the measurements are free for anyone to use. Our work is to look at accessibility and, although our data can help particular people looking at access to vehicles, it can be useful for many people. 

For example: you can use our advanced search to shortlist vehicles to find:

  • a specific seat height, say for a wheelchair user who transfers into the driving seat  
  • flat boots which can help make it easier to load a wheelchair or mobility scooter in  
  • photos of door sills or the shape of boots of vehicles which can be of interest to anyone moving bulky items

See some quick searches 

You can find vehicles

  • with no boot sill 
  • with lots of legroom and headroom
  • high seats
  • hatchbacks that will take an unfolded wheelchair with back seats upright
  • with seven seats that can take a wheelchair

Do you only have internal vehicle measurements?

Yes, as the project is to look at vehicle accessibility, we only have internal measurements. For example, the external width of a vehicle, which people need to see if there's enough room for a drive or garage, is not available in our data.

What other websites may be useful?

Our car search doesn't include finance information, mainstream added features, or options such as satvnavs or heated seats.

If you're eligible for financial help, use the Motability website to see financing under the Motability Scheme.

Use the RiDC website to check detailed access needs to get your shortlist first.

Double check with other websites such as:

Autocar for other features and options available

Honest John, who answers questions about car and driving

Driving Mobility to get specialist advice from a local mobility centre

What are the car factsheets? 

Each model of car we measure has the data presented in a PDF car factsheet.

Why do the photos vary in quality?

Some photos were taken ‘back in the day’ in a lab in the UK and were not high quality. 

Why are the cars left hand drive? 

Photos of the vehicles on the factsheets show left hand drive vehicles because we measure the cars in Germany.

They have German number plates. Plus some vehicles have European names (for example, Vauxhall is badged as Opel Fruits.) 

Does one measurement apply to all the same models?

Does a particular measurement on one car apply to all models of this car from the same year? 

We cannot say yes to this for certain. As a research charity we need to ensure that the data can be traced to the source to show that it is true. So we clearly show that the measurements apply to one particular make, model, type, plus we show the year of the specific vehicle measured. We don't extrapolate this measurement to say that this measurement then applies to similar models or types of vehicle.

Strange data: some data appears to be incorrect

There seem to be some anomalies in the car data, for example:

Why do some cars show zero boot height?

  • Because Porsche cars have no boot

Why do some cars have no make next to them?

  • Because the naming process has changed over time and is not consistent. Some have the make and model in the title and some don’t.  

​​The advanced car search seems difficult to use - why?

When you select any criteria, the search shortlists automatically. It also limits the searchable fields as well. So it can seem confusing at first, particularly when you select a number of criteria.

  • There is not a numerical count of the results of a search.
  • You have to scroll through the pages to see all the vehicles in a shortlist.
  • Click on a vehicle to go to the factsheet which has measurement data and photos.

Because the advanced search can be tricky to use, we've created some quick searches to help you find a shortlist of cars.

We do hope this vehicle data and car search is useful to you.

If these answers to FAQs don't help you, or you’ve other questions or comments, please ring RiDC on 020 7427 7420 or email us at: [email protected]. We’re always interested in any feedback or comments.