In a Nutshell:

The Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair is a versatile design by one of the best-known companies in the industry. Though its primary focus is on user comfort, it can handle a wide range of terrains reasonably well – just be mindful of its turning radius! Recommended for anyone who places a premium on comfort, and who wants a solid, reliable machine for use both indoors and out.

Customization options
Ease of Use
Comfort
Performance

Overall Rating

4.6/5

Benefits

  • Reputable and trusted brand
  • Excellent customer support
  • Highly comfortable
  • Easy and enjoyable to use
  • Adjustable

Drawbacks

  • Poor turning radius
  • Not for challenging terrains
  • Not very portable
Drive Medical Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair
4.6

Recommended For: Anyone who places a premium on comfort, and who wants a solid, reliable machine for use both indoors and out.

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Do you sometimes feel that your mobility issue is getting the better of you? Keeping you indoors when you’d much rather be out playing in the garden, puttering around the yard, or enjoying a day at the park among family and friends?

Are you interested in changing that? In conquering your mobility issue and regaining a sense of freedom and independence? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re going to love our review of the Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair, offered by Drive Medical.

Drive Medical is a significant force in the industry, well-known for its top-quality products. In fact, in our recent roundup review, two of the company’s models, this and the Titan, placed highly, with the Sunfire placing second and the Titan placing third in the category of best indoor/outdoor powered wheelchair.

If you want to know more about Drive Medical wheelchairs, click here.

Any way you look at it, this is a well-designed mobility aid that will serve you well, but there are a couple of issues that might cause you to give this one a pass and look for something that’s a better fit for you. 

An Image of Feature Points of Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair
  • 1. Controller
  • 2. Armrest
  • 3. Headrest
  • 4. Seatback
  • 5. Seat
  • 6. Seatback
  • 7. Drivewheel
  • 8. Caster wheel
  • 9. Footrest
  • 10. Knob
  • 11. Shroud

Not to worry. In the sections that follow, we’ll tell you everything the Sunfire does well and fill you in on its (few) shortcomings so you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision. If that sounds good, let’s jump in and see what this model can do!

Key Features of the Drive Medical Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair

Comfortable and capable.  Those are the two words that spring to mind the first time you see the Drive Medical Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair.  The swiveling Captain’s chair immediately draws the eye, with the rest of the unit supporting it. You can tell at a glance it will be a joy to sit and ride around in, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Of course, it’s more than just a comfy chair on wheels. Here are the basic stats for the model:

An Image of Sunfire General Power Wheelchair
  • Overall Dimensions: 43” x 26” x 46”
  • Seat Width: 19.5” or 22”
  • Seat to Floor Height: Ranges from 23” to 25”
  • Total Weight: 219.5 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 400 pounds (22” configuration supports up to 500 pounds)
  • Top Speed: 5 MPH
  • Max Range: 15 miles
  • Rear-Wheel Drive, with 13” rear wheels & 10” front wheels
  • Comes standard with two 5” anti-tippers

This is a pretty solid piece of equipment, right? You’ll especially love that this power wheelchair allows you to sit high up off the ground, giving you a clear field of vision indoors or out.

Highly Adjustable, Very Comfortable

The Sunfire General Power Wheelchair was designed with maximum user comfort in mind. As such, you’ll find the Captain’s chair delightful cushioned. Even better, you have the following adjustment options available:

  • The headrest is height-adjustable
  • The footplate can be adjusted for height, angle, and depth
  • The armrest can be adjusted for height, width, and angle
  • Seat reclines to a maximum of 45 degrees
Headrest of the Sunfire General
Armrest of the Sunfire General
Footplate of the Sunfire General

There are enough options here that you’ll be able to make your Sunfire fit you like a glove, and that’s a good thing. It’s so comfortable it might be difficult for people to get you out of it!

Storage, Customization Options, and Extras

We regard this section as an admitted weak spot in the Sunfire General Power Chair’s design. The only extras on offer are these:

  • You can opt to order your Sunfire with elevating leg rests, which essentially turns the scooter into a recliner on wheels
  • And you can choose from one of three color options: Red, Blue, or Gold

The first item on the list is quite good, both from a practical perspective, depending on the nature of your mobility issue, and from a comfort standpoint.

An Image of Golden Variants of Drive Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair

In our view, however, there are two things notably absent here: 

  • One is the presence of a safety belt. We regard this as a must-have for any mobility aid designed for outdoor use. 
  • Second is onboard storage. Most chairs offer a storage pocket, but sadly, this model doesn’t offer anything.

Fortunately, both of these issues can be remedied easily enough, so we rate this as a disappointment, not a deal breaker. You can buy a whole host of third-party aftermarket upgrades, and most of these will fit on the Sunfire. Just take a few measurements depending on what you plan to buy, and you’ll be all set. 

What About Portability?

This is another point of weakness in the model’s design. It’s a fantastic, versatile machine, but one thing it isn’t is portable. It’s heavy, it doesn’t collapse, and it doesn’t break apart into a few smaller pieces to make it easy to move from one place to another, so your options are:

  • A full-sized van with a ramp
  • A full-sized pickup with a ramp
  • Or a lift affixed to the back of your vehicle

You just won’t be able to stow this in your trunk, hatchback, or SUV.

Easy (And Fun!) To Use

The Drive Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair’s controls are intuitive and straightforward. If you’ve ever played a joystick-controlled video game, you’ll pick it up in minutes.

The only challenge you’ll have is learning to cope with its relatively poor turning radius (42”!), which will probably see you getting stuck frequently early on and having to back up or execute an awkward multi-point turn to get yourself sorted out. 

Once you’ve gotten a feel for the handling, though, it’s smooth sailing. Given its relatively long battery life and fifteen-mile range, you’ll be able to go just about anywhere you want or need to.

An Image of Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair: Remote Panel

Note that this is a rear-wheel-drive machine, which means it’s going to struggle on steep uphill slopes (especially if the ground is wet) and is slightly more prone to getting hung up on outdoor obstacles like large rocks and fallen limbs. 

On most of the terrains you’re likely to encounter in and around your property, at parks, or on well-marked nature trails. However, it should be just fine.

There’s one more thing to mention regarding the turning radius: If you live in a smaller home or apartment, it’s going to be a challenge to use the Sunfire indoorsIt’s not impossible, but it will take some practice to master.

The more spacious your home is, the easier you’ll find indoor navigation, and of course, in most public indoor spaces like shopping malls, you won’t encounter any significant issues. However, in some stores, things could get tricky if the aisles are tightly spaced. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker but something to remember.

Pros & Cons of Sunfire General Power Wheelchair

Here are the things we think you’ll like best about the Sunfire:

  • It’s offered by one of the biggest and most respected names in the industry, known for making high-quality, long-lasting products
  • Drive Medical has legendary customer service and support
  • It’s incredibly comfortable and comes with enough adjustment options that you can make it even more so
  • And it’s genuinely easy and fun to use

There are, however, a few things that may prompt you to continue your search. In no particular order, these are:

  • Poor turning radius. While it’s certainly possible to use the Sunfire indoors, that 42” turning radius is going to get in your way at regular intervals
  • Not as good at handling challenging outdoor terrains as some other models
  • And it is not very portable

We don’t regard any of these as deal breakers, but each person’s needs and preferences will differ, so your mileage may vary.

Beach Powered Mobility Wheelchair Conclusion

So where does that leave us?

Overall, we like the Sunfire General Electric Wheelchair very much, although we’ll admit that it’s not a perfect machine, and it left us wanting in at least a couple of areas.

If we could make a wish and get the company to make any changes we wanted to the design, here’s what we’d wish for:

  • Cut the turning radius in half.  We know this is possible because Drive Medical makes scooters with a turning radius in the neighborhood of 22.”
  • Include a safety belt and onboard storage.
  • Consider switching to a front wheel drive configuration for better terrain handling.

Even without these things, we recommend this machine. It’s a joy to use, incredibly comfortable, and versatile enough to handle the terrains you’re likely to find in and around your home. It belongs on your shortlist if that’s mostly where you plan to use it. 

Recommended Reading

Pride Mobility Jazzy 1450 Power Wheelchair Review

Look at our review of the Jazzy 1450, a versatile mobility aid suitable for various terrains and spaces.

Drive Medical Titan Power Wheelchair Review

Our review delves into the Drive Medical Titan Power Wheelchair, a rugged and durable option for various environments.


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References & Resources