Spotlight on…. Pilote
With a comprehensive Fiat Ducato-based model line-up and a newly launched Special Edition campervan, we caught up with Groupe Pilote UK Agent, Martin Storey, to find out more…
When did Pilote start out?
Originally, the first caravan was produced by Mr André Padiou in spring 1962. Then, a few years later, Mr Philippe Padiou became CEO and introduced the very first motorhome – that was back in 1978!
How has the campervan market changed since then?
It used to be all about motorhomes but the campervan market has really grown in the leisure industry and, in the last couple of years, demand has exploded. That’s why Pilote now offers a full range of campervans.
What do you think makes a great campervan conversion?
Practicality and functionality are key, as it’s essential to ensure the campervan suits your personal requirements, so think about the layout and how you’re going to use it.
Of course, build quality is extremely important, too – a good campervan should be designed to last.
What sets Pilote apart from the crowd?
Innovation and design. We make really good use of space, and Pilote campervans include many features that traditionally only used to be available in larger low-profile and A-class motorhomes, such as state of the art heating systems, large gas lockers and spacious cab areas.
How has the brand evolved over the years?
The brand has evolved along with many of the Pilote products. Many features are used to make the campervan as refined as its bigger brothers. Floorplans are key for campervans, providing the best possible storage and bed arrangements, along with self-sufficient qualities such as showering and washroom facilities.
How would you sum up the company’s ethos and values?
We strive to provide the best possible products, offering high quality and unique design features at a competitive price.
Have you got any exciting new developments in the pipeline?
There’s a brand-new special edition of the UK-preferred rear lounge floorplan. All Pilote campervans are now available in two levels of finish to suit personal taste, too.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying a campervan?
I have always proposed the same message in my time in the industry. All leisure vehicles are personal to the user, so it’s extremely important to ensure the desired campervan ticks as many of the personal boxes as possible.
What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked by a customer?
To calculate a vehicle’s payload availability by producing a personal list of all items the client intended to take on his travels! It was very complex, with weights provided for matchsticks, packets of sauce and how many pairs of socks he usually carried… It was quite a bizarre request.
What’s the best campervan trip you’ve personally undertaken?
The very first one. It was my introduction to motorhomes and I used a campervan to take my young son to Legoland in Windsor. He is 26 now!
The Pilote range…
In this ever-changing world, the demand for a ‘staycation’ has exploded in the campervan market.
Pilote is a big part of the van conversion market and, for the 2021 season, offers a full choice of model range, from 5.41m to 6.36m in length, providing something for everyone.
In total, eight floorplans are available for Pilote Van, plus numerous opportunities to enhance and personalise each model to suit your requirements.
For 2021, Pilote presents a completely redesigned V540G, which is the shortest model in the range.
This model comes with the most popular floorplan, a transverse bed layout. The V540G has also been designed with a practical shower/washroom and toilet, which offers greater flexibility for such a short vehicle and makes the V540G very versatile, either as a main vehicle or campervan.
Choices are available once the decision has been made of which lounge configuration you prefer (two or four travelling seats), plus which internal level of finish suits your needs best, Standard or Premium.
In addition, several enhancement packs are available; Super Van Pack – Luxury Internal – Energy – Lithium – Leisure – Media 7/8/9 and TV Sat. All of these options make specification selection effortless to suit your personal needs.
Price from: £45,450
V630LG Special Edition
Pilote Van has launched a special edition version of the V630LG for the 2021 season, which comes with many enhancements as standard.
Measuring 6.36m in length, this has a rear lounge floorplan with central kitchen and shower/washroom – typical for the UK-friendly layout. Open those rear doors wide to take in the scenery when parked up, and stretch out to relax.
Included in the price as standard is the Luxury Internal Pack, Chassis Pack, Media 8 Pack, Energy Pack and Leisure Pack. Plus, the V630LG also comes with a 140hp engine, 16in alloy wheels, Combi diesel blown-air heating, 85-litre compressor fridge, flyscreen door, slatted shower floor, external cold water shower and more.
Price from: £54,884
The V600G has a popular floorplan with a large transverse rear bed and a further berth available in the lounge, and four travel seats. But it’s the detail that makes this 6m-long model stand out from the crowd – it comes with a unique washroom, housing a sliding toilet.
When not used, this slides under the rear bed section, maximising the available space in the shower area and providing a spacious shower cubicle.
This model also benefits from extra room in the lounge area, providing a comfortable space, even when entertaining friends. There’s enough legroom between the swivelled cab seats and forward lounge bench to sit without rubbing knees.
The V600G is available in both levels of interior finish – Standard, with wood furniture complemented with cream trim, or Premium finish, which offers a contemporary style.
Price from: £46,450