In a Nutshell:
The Silverado Extreme 4 Wheel Mobility Scooter is a well-designed, surprisingly low-cost machine. It has its limitations, naturally, but is surprisingly versatile. Recommended for anyone weighing up to 450 pounds who’s in the market for a rugged, versatile mobility aid.
- Stellar range and generous user weight support
- Ample storage and numerous extras
- Relatively less travel-friendly due to weight
- Poor turning radius limits indoor use
- Premium price for Merits quality may be a financial hurdle for some
Are you the type of person who absolutely refuses to let your mobility issue get in your way? Is your current power chair or scooter reaching the end of its useful life, prompting you to begin the search for a replacement? Have you been frustrated in your search for a great scooter because you weigh more than average?
It’s a common problem because so many of the scooters on the market today only support 250-300 pounds of user weight. That’s fine if you have a light or average build, but if you’re on the heavier side, that’s almost certainly not enough.
If that’s your situation, then you’re going to love what you read in this—our Silverado extreme mobility scooter review.
If you haven’t heard of Merits—the company behind the Silverado—you’re not alone.
Although the company has been a player in the industry since the 1980s, they don’t have as big a footprint as the giants of the industry like Pride Mobility and Drive Medical. Their products are, in our view, pound for pound better.
There is a tradeoff, of course. Merits doesn’t make value-priced machines. You’ll pay a premium for these machines, but if you’re looking for a top-quality mobility aid that can take you almost anywhere and is built to last, then any of the machines Merits makes belong on your shortlist of options to consider.
In the sections that follow, we’ll step you through everything that the Silverado extreme has to offer, and although the Silverado is very good, it’s not perfect, so we won’t pull any punches when it comes to describing its shortcomings and limitations.
By the time you reach the end of this review, even if you ultimately decide this isn’t the right scooter for you, we think you’ll agree that it’s an absolutely amazing design with a lot to offer.
If your interest is piqued, read on, and let’s take a closer look.
An Overview of the Silverado Extreme Mobility Scooter
We regard this as an incredibly strong component of our Silverado extreme mobility scooter review. This is a great-looking machine that makes a tremendously good first impression. Its black color, impressively sized tires, and shrouded tiller give it a rugged, striking appearance.
Basically, the Silverado is a tough-looking machine that gives the impression that it can take you just about anywhere you’d like to go, but can it?
To get a sense of that, we have to look beyond the pleasing aesthetics and see what the numbers that drive and define the model tell us. With that in mind, here’s a quick overview:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 60.6” L x 28.3” W x 57.3” H
- Total Weight: 224 pounds (without batteries – the batteries weigh 67 pounds each)
- User Weight Limit: 450 pounds
- Top Speed: 9.6 MPH
- Seat Dimensions: 20” W x 18” D x 19” H
- Max. Slope: 10 degrees
- Front Wheel: 14” pneumatic
- Drive Wheel: 16” pneumatic
- Range: 55 miles
- Ground Clearance: 5.1”
- Turning Radius: 82.7”
With one glaring exception, these numbers are fantastic.
The footprint of the scooter is fairly large, and it’s not as simple as it looks to dismantle it for transport. But it can certainly be done, and once you’ve got it taken apart, you can probably manage to squeeze it into the available trunk space of most mid-sized sedans.
Keep the total weight in mind. Although it will be in pieces, you will need slightly more in the way of upper body strength to heft it into and out of the trunk or, even better, have a traveling companion with you who can lend a hand.
We love the weight limit, and if you’re heavier than average, you probably will too. The Silverado scooter can support up to 450 pounds and is useful to more than 95% of the market. With a top speed of nearly ten miles per hour, it leaves vast swaths of the competition in the dust on that front too.
The seat dimensions are a good pairing with the supported weight limit, and the 55-mile range is as impressive as the 5.1” ground clearance, which enables you to use it just about anywhere.
The problem with a lot of scooters on the market today is this: they tend to have ground clearances ranging from 2” to 4”.
At just two inches of clearance, you’re apt to get hung up on the least little thing—roots, small rocks, and the like, which means that unless you plan on using your scooter exclusively for trips to the store where you can stay on smooth pavement, you’re going to have to send out an SOS every time you get stuck on something. That’s frustrating.
The good news is that if you own a Merits Silverado 4-wheel scooter, that will almost never be a problem. It’s got the ground clearance to carry you over most obstacles unless you’re traveling through truly rough terrain, which we don’t recommend, and it’s got enough range that you can venture incredibly far from the nearest power outlet without worrying about it even a little.
In addition to that, the Silverado is a beast when it comes to slope handling. While there’s no formal industry standard, if you spend enough time looking at the scooters on the market today, you’ll find that most can handle six-degree slopes.
That’s not bad, but this one offers you significantly more on that front, and it’s a perfect choice if you live in an especially hilly area.
The only downside we see is the turning radius. At more than 82”, this monster was simply not designed for use indoors unless you happen to live in a castle.
Sure, sure, it will probably be fine if you take it inside the grocery store, provided, of course, that the aisles are fairly wide. As for using it inside your home, though, that’s basically a nonstarter, which means that you’ll need a smaller secondary scooter for that purpose.
That’s not the worst thing, but the need for two scooters (or comparable mobility aids) is enough to put this one out of the reach of many people, purely from a budgetary perspective, so it’s something to keep very much in mind.
Assuming your budget can support it, however, you’ll find the Silverado extreme scooter to be every bit as impressive as these numbers suggest.
The Silverado Scooter – Comfort and Adjustability
We’d rate this as another incredibly strong component of our Silverado mobility scooter review.
While it’s certainly not impossible to find a highly adjustable scooter, it’s harder than you might think. Most scooters, especially those that are designed to be at least somewhat travel-friendly, make sacrifices when it comes to comfort and adjustability.
Merits cuts no corners where either of those is concerned.
The Captain’s style seat is well padded and a delight to sit in. Sure, it’s clad in vinyl, which means that the more time you spend in it, the hotter you’re going to get because vinyl isn’t at all breathable, but that’s an easy problem to fix with the addition of a seat and/or seatback pad, which will also have the effect of making the seat even more comfortable.
The seat swivels and slides forward (closer to the steering tiller), and the armrests flip up and are height adjustable.
This not only makes transferring into and out of the Merits Silverado a simple matter, but it also allows you to adjust the seat to create a perfect driving experience.
If that wasn’t enough, the steering tiller itself is also adjustable, allowing you to pull it toward you or keep it literally at arm’s length—depending on your preferences.
Put these various elements together, and it really allows you to tweak the settings until the Silverado fits you like a glove. That not only makes it more comfortable, but it also just makes it more fun to use, and that’s awesome.
Merits Silverado Extreme Scooter Accessories
We’re going to start this section with something that will sound like a contradiction. First, we consider this to be a surprisingly strong component of our Silverado 4 wheel review. Second, Merits only offers three accessories.
We’re going to stretch the definition of “accessory” slightly because the stock model of this scooter comes with all sorts of extras built in that you’d normally have to buy as accessories on other products.
So what does this model have to offer exactly? You get:
- A full LED light package, including headlamps, brake lights, and turn signals
- A generously sized front-mounted storage basket, with additional storage under the tiller
- A full suspension system with shock absorbers for a smoother ride (something most other scooters simply don’t have)
- Automatic safe turning (sensor that automatically reduces your speed when you’re turning)
- And a semi-reclining seat
In terms of genuine accessories you can add when you make your purchase, you can buy a cellphone holder with charger, which can be mounted on the tiller, a storage cover, and a locking rear storage box.
Those are exceptional additions, in our view, and of course, if you want more than this, the aftermarket is teeming with additional possibilities.
The Silverado Mobility Scooter is Surprisingly Easy to Use But Not as Portable as We’d Like
This is an important component of our Silverado extreme review, especially if you’re specifically looking for a machine you can take while traveling.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
This is a heavy machine. Airlines charge by the pound, so this scooter is basically a non-starter if you’re looking for something you can take with you on an airplane.
On the other hand, it comes apart, and heavy or not, once you’ve disassembled it, you can probably squeeze it into the trunk of most full-sized sedans.
If you have a truck, van, or SUV, you won’t have any problems whatsoever, but bear in mind that you will need relatively more upper body strength to haul this scooter into and out of your trunk, then take a few minutes to put it together when you get where you’re going and break it down when you’re ready to head home.
As long as you’re fine with that, you won’t have any issues with the Silverado.
In terms of ease of use, Merits did a masterful job on the control system. It is well-designed and intuitive, so it will only take you a few minutes to master the basics.
The one thing that will take some practice is backing up. Remember, this scooter has a fairly wretched turning radius, so you’re all but certain to find yourself in a situation where you need to execute a multi-point turn. Given that, you may as well resign yourself to getting lots of practice!
Pros & Cons of Merits Silverado Mobility Scooter
We love the Silverado, but we readily admit that it’s not going to be for everyone. It’s got almost too many pros to name, including the fact that the range is stellar, supports a generous amount of user weight, has lots of storage, and is brimming with extras.
In our view, there are only three downsides to be mindful of. First, while it’s not the heaviest scooter on the market, it has some genuine heft to it, making it relatively less travel-friendly than other options.
Second, it’s got a seriously poor turning radius, which means you won’t be able to use it in your home unless you live in an actual palace. That, in turn, means you’ll need two—one for use in your home and this one for trips to town and enjoying the great outdoors.
Third, it’s pricey.
Yes, it’s a rugged, well-built machine, but you’re going to pay a premium for Merits quality. Not everyone will be able to afford that.
Silverado Extreme Mobility Scooter Review Conclusion
The scooter is an absolutely fantastic design, even considering a couple of points of weakness we mentioned in the previous section here in our Silverado Extreme Mobility Scooter review. If you decide you want one, we think you’re going to love it and that it will provide you with years of reliable, hassle-free service.
In the event that you encounter a problem with your machine, know that the folks at Merits have an excellent reputation with post-sales support, so you’ll certainly be in good hands.
We are happy to recommend this one if it won’t unduly strain your budget.
Comparable Products to Consider
If you’ve reached the end of this review and have decided that the Silverado just isn’t for you, here are a couple of other options you may want to consider:
Offered by Shoprider, the Sprinter doesn’t support quite as much weight, but it is a lighter machine and, as such, a bit more travel friendly. It’s still probably too heavy to consider taking on an airplane, but you won’t strain anything as you take the pieces of the Sprinter out of your trunk, either. A very good, capable machine.
One of our favorite designs, in part because it looks like a Tonka toy for grownups. This is a fantastic machine. Rugged, durable, and capable, it’s every bit as versatile as the scooter we just talked about, and it’s got a better turning radius to boot. Well worth taking a look at.
Official Manufacturer Support
References & Resources:
- Merits USA, Official Brand Website.
- Merits Silverado Extreme Mobility Scooter User Manual.
- Fun Outdoor Activities For Disabled Adults, Expert World Travel.
- User Involvement in the Design and Evaluation of a Smart Mobility Aid, ProQuest.
- Wheelchair Exercises & Mobility Activities for Wheelchair Users, Surewise.