The spacious feel of this motorhome is obvious as soon as you step inside the Pilote Pacific P696D. It has generously-sized beds and washroom, and an open plan lounge with long face-to-face settees. Expect this to be popular.
Berths: 2+2 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 595kg
First came low-profile motorhomes with a large front lounge (complete with an open-plan side settee format) and the main bed descending from the ceiling above the seats. Then, as buyers liked the concept but wanted more storage, came similar designs with a garage at the rear and vast wardrobe space above. Chausson and Bürstner both reported strong demand for this type of vehicle, while Itineo demonstrated that the layout could work just as well (perhaps even better) in a modestly sized A-class. Now, inevitably, there are new competitors in this class for the 2020 season, including this new P696D layout in Pilote’s Pacific range.
As a sub-7m model it only comes in Essentiel trim, while the ‘D’ in its classification stands for Dressing (referencing the spacious end washroom-changing-room). Meanwhile, there are various packs available to enhance the spec, as well as options such as the alloy wheels, imitation leather upholstery and oven/grill seen here. UK models are expected to receive a whole host of additional kit to suit British buyers’ desire for fully loaded vehicles.
The really important thing here, though, is the fabulously spacious feeling inside. There’s 1.90m headroom under the raised bed (a massive 2.12m in the kitchen area), an overcab sunroof for daylight and long sofas on either side (a whopping 1.76m on the nearside). Even the table is XXL-sized – at 1.20m by 0.82m – but it folds in half when you’re not in full gastronomy mode, while seven LEDs set into the base of the drop-down bed ensure you’re never sitting in the dark.
The settees are slightly narrow but set at a comfortable height, while the cab seats can rotate through a full 180 degrees for full feet-up relaxation. In that set-up you’re facing the TV (by the entrance), where the bracket can now take up to a 32in screen (it stores tipped through 90 degrees). There’s a flat floor throughout the main living area but there are steps up into the cab and the washroom.
The electric drop-down bed is impressively generous in size, too, at 2.00m by 1.55m. You’ll need to manually lower the table first and remove the settees’ backrests, but the mattress then sits just 780mm off the floor, so there’s no need for a ladder. It’s not just the lounge/bedroom area that’s big, though.
A curved tambour door at the rear leads to a large bathroom with acres of legroom on the toilet. The separate shower (on the nearside) is a fair size, too, and comes with its own roof vent but only one drain hole. The washroom becomes a changing room thanks to twin sliding doors leading into a wardrobe (over the garage) with hanging space on the left and drawers, as well as reduced hanging depth, on the right.
Below that is internal access to the garage area. There’s 1.20m headroom in this space, with a 650mm width at floor level and simple, fixed tie-down hooks in the corners. The larger loading door is on the offside.
The kitchen has decent worktop space, while cooking kit includes a three-burners-in-line hob and Thetford Duplex combined oven/grill. A large cutlery drawer and super-sized pan drawer make for practical storage, while the cooler is a huge 160-litre model.
For extra versatility, the settees can be converted into a pair of travel seats (no extra cushions are required), while the lounge can also be made into a second double bed (below the drop-down, with two infill sections needed).