- What is Motability?
- Which are the best Motability cars?
- Our favourites from the scheme in one comprehensive list
What is Motability?
Motability is a charity that allows people in receipt of a disability mobility allowance to use their monthly payment to lease a car to allow them to get out and about, where they might not otherwise be able to.
The Motability scheme has a list of cars that eligible participants can choose from. Users don’t pay anything on a monthly basis, but if the monthly allowance doesn’t cover the cost of the car then they are allowed to add a little more in the form of an upfront payment to get something a little nicer or bigger.
The scheme has helped more than 600,000 people get into a vehicle of some sort. To be eligible you need to be in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA), the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP), the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
Almost everything is included, too, with insurance, breakdown cover, maintenance and servicing all covered – you just need to pay for the fuel.
The Motability website has a full list of cars available, but we've searched out the best options available on the scheme.
Best small Motability cars
Sadly, the Ford Fiesta ST, the 2019 Parkers Car of the Year, isn’t available on the Motability scheme, but you can have the next best thing and go for the standard version of this excellent small hatchback. There are plenty of Fiestas to choose from, with the sporty-looking ST-Line, the three-door and five-door models and both manual and automatic versions among them.
Some small hatchbacks are more practical than the Fiesta, but few are as much fun to drive. The steering is light and easy to make town driving simple, while the rest of the car is beautifully set up to be an absolute hoot on longer drives down quiet B roads.
Our ‘Best First Car’ for 2019 is also an excellent option for those looking for their second, third, fourth car or even further down their motoring life.
It’s affordable, comes with loads of kit, has sharp styling and is practical. This latest version is only available as a five door and has enough space to fit four adults with ease, and the boot has grown over the previous version.
All versions manage fuel economy of over 50mpg, but petrol will still be the pick for most. On Motability, automatic cars are not automatically a given. The Ibiza has plenty that you can choose from, though.
Not everyone wants to max out their payments, nor do they want to max out the size of car that they have sat outside their home. The Skoda Citigo will be perfect on both those fronts as it comes in under the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), so you don’t have to pay an advance fee.
You can get three- and five-door versions of the Citigo, which was named as a runner up in the ‘First Car’ category of the 2019 Parkers New Car Awards, and there is even a choice of trims.
Best small family Motability cars
There is very little to fault on the Ford Focus, so it is a fantastic option for those that want a family hatch with plenty of space, excellent refinement, strong performance and an entertaining driving experience.
Six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic gearboxes are both available, and there is an impressive selection of petrol and diesel engines.
The Dacia Duster offers simple, no frills motoring, with the five-door SUV a firm favourite with those seeking an affordable option when it comes to family transportation. There aren’t many 4x4 Motability cars, but the Duster is one way to get off-roading ability on the scheme.
If you want to avoid adding an advance payment then you’ll be looking at a petrol, but it won’t take much to get into the diesel version, which will be the pick of the range for many, especially if you are doing higher mileages.
The frankly excellent XC40 is the smallest Volvo SUV you can buy but it comes with all the practicality and equipment that you would expect from the Swedish manufacturer. The safety kit is class leading and it comes with a selection of really clever storage solutions dotted throughout the cabin.
The boot might not be the biggest in the class, but it is right up there and comes with underfloor storage and seats that fold flat at the flick of a switch.
It is a smooth, if not enthralling, car to drive and there is a choice of manual and automatic models on the Motability scheme. You don’t get access to the full range at the moment, but the versions on offer are well worth a look if you want a touch of luxurious practicality.
Best seven-seater Motability cars
Peugeot Rifter/Citroen Berlingo/Vauxhall Combo
If practicality is everything to you then the Peugeot Rifter/Citroen Berlingo/Vauxhall Combo trio will tick many boxes.
They are comfortable, have a very versatile interior setup and huge amounts of space. They might be the car versions of a van, but they really don’t feel like it. The Rifter offers a slightly more SUV-like look while the other two are more ‘MPV’.
There are even some models that you can pick up without adding to your DLA payment, and a few that only require a small advance fee.
As well as the five-seater model, there is the option of a seven-seater version of all three.
The Skoda Kodiaq is an excellent all-rounder that offers seven-seat mobility with a level of quality that belies its value-for-money position in the segment. Motability users have the choice of both automatic and manual and petrol and diesel models with the core trims in the range available. Even the entry-level models come with an excellent amount of equipment that shames some rivals. Parking sensors are a notable addition to help make it easier to get the Kodiaq into a tight spot.
It also boasts affordable running costs and huge amounts of space – there is 270-litres of boot space available even when the seven seats are in place, which is more than some small hatchbacks have as standard.
Best hybrid/electric Motability cars
Electric cars are in short supply on the Motability scheme at the moment, but the good news is that the excellent Renault Zoe is one of the few models you can pick from. It’s by far the best entry-level electric car and offers a very impressive claimed range of around 250 miles.
There are two different versions of the Zoe available, but only the more powerful and faster model is available on Motability. It will take all of your allowance, and a hefty advance payment, but it is by far and away the best option for those that want silent motoring with zero tailpipe emissions.
Kia Niro hybrid
If you want a hybrid, rather than a full electric, then you have more options on Motability. The pick of the options, though, is the Kia Niro – an SUV with a standard petrol-electric powertrain that claims to provide fuel economy of around 64mpg without the need to plug it into a charger.
It comes with a great level of equipment but, equally important, an excellent level of practicality thanks to its SUV bodystyle. The battery tech does impose slightly on the boot in some places, but only to a small extent. There is plenty of space for four adults, 382 litres of boot space and a nimble driving experience.
*Prices correct at the time of publication and are all subject to change.