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A conversion van is a passenger van that has been customized with extra features through a third party manufacturer. Common conversions include the addition of travel features and the alteration of a van structure to accommodate disabled passengers. Conversion vans are frequently available through car dealerships or customization businesses, and can even be built to suit a customer's exact specification.
One of the major advantages of a conversion van over a motor home or bus is that it increases usable space and adds features while remaining close to the same size as a regular passenger van. This may be desirable for drivers that are not licensed to drive a larger vehicle, or are uncomfortable with the idea of driving an oversized automobile. The smaller size of a conversion van may also allow access on roads, trails, and even parking lots where outsized vans are not permitted.
Many conversion vans are outfitted for extensive road travel. Some versions, called high-tops, feature a customized roof that increased the vertical capacity of the van, allowing easier movement and additional storage. Common features in a travel-outfitted conversion van include DVD entertainment systems, single-chair seating or seating benches that convert to beds, and cabin-wide speaker systems. Larger vans may contain refrigerators, portable showers, bathrooms, and even a dining table, and are often referred to as Class B motor homes.
In addition to being outfitted for easy travel, some conversion van models are specially designed to meet the needs of disabled drivers or passengers. These models often feature the extended high top, to allow for the increased height needed for wheelchair seating. Some may feature electronic lift systems that allow disabled passenger to easily enter and exit the vehicle. Seating may be removable to allow for multiple wheelchairs or other transportation equipment, and the floor of the van may be lowered to allow adequate height within the cabin.
One of the most exciting aspects of a conversion van is that it can be designed to suit nearly any need. Conversion companies may not only be able to add lighting, DVD players, and other accessories, but can often customize exterior paint and trim as well as interior fabrics and colors. Vans can even be outfitted with electrical outlets, satellite dishes, and phone systems for use as news vans or mobile offices. While adding additional features tends to increase the cost of a van, used models with similar features may also be available from reputable dealers at a lower price.