Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £48,450 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.58m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 630kg
A six-metre Fiat Ducato with a transverse rear double bed – seen it a million times, yes? Well, certainly this layout isn’t unusual, but there are a few neat features in this Pilote Van to make it stand out in what is very definitely a crowd.
Let’s start by looking at what’s new, for campervans have returned to the Pilote fold after the French firm sold its UK outpost, Danbury. Its Fiat-based models were always built in France anyway, so it’s just a change of name. Inside, meanwhile, the latest Van models can have a full-height walk-through into the cab (with or, as here, without a sunroof).
Of course, numerous others now have this feature but it is well executed here, with reading lights for both cab seats and a white cab ceiling that reflects the light for a bright feel.
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The rest of the interior, too, has an automotive feel, with lots of white and grey. The living area ceiling is padded, as is the surround to the nearside window, while the half-dinette bench has a good deal more shape than most (even if its base feels a tad too soft). The V600G is making a good first impression, and living up to its Premium suffix (standard trim is £2,000 less).
The first real novelty comes in the kitchen, though, where Pilote has come up with a much better system than a little fold-up flap on the end of the galley. Here, the worktop over the sink slides, taking the end of the kitchen unit with it and even revealing a little extra hidden storage.
This is also a kitchen without low-level cupboards; all the storage is in more useful, more practical drawers (five of them, including a built-in waste bin, too).
Then there’s the sort of tall fridge/freezer that you’d more usually see in a coachbuilt – all 141 litres of it, with automatic energy selection. And, above that, is an optional Thetford Duplex oven/grill. OK, there’s not a lot of space between the furniture on either side (a minimum of 530mm) but it’s great to see a proper oven where most rivals just offer a two-burner hob.
There’s more clever thinking in the washroom, where the bench cassette toilet slides away to make more room for showering. That there’s a separate showerhead and no clingy curtain are further pluses, while the washroom also gets a drying rail and an opening window.
The bathroom shelves have elasticated straps to keep everything in place, too. This would be an absolute masterclass in campervan washroom design were it not for the backless format of the fold-down basin, which means you have to be careful not to waste water.
Your H2O lives inboard, under the offside cabinet beneath the rear double bed. On the nearside is a large gas locker, as well as a couple of drawers (though these may become difficult to access if you load up the 680mm-high and 720mm-wide central load area.
A long LED strip illuminates the garage well, though, and the forward panels can be removed for long loads. Even better is the simple way that
the mattress folds all-of-a-piece to stow on the nearside, with the slatted base held vertical by a seatbelt strap for tall loads.
Return the area to bedroom mode and you have a comfortable Bultex mattress measuring 1.80m by 1.33m, but moulded trim panels on either side increase the usable bed length to 1.94m. There are opening windows on three sides and a small roof vent, but beware of sitting up too quickly and catching your head on the rather low-slung shelves.
The example we viewed at Pullingers was loaded with options, including alloys, reversing camera, solar panel, bike rack, awning, automatic gearbox and more. At £58,366, it looked an appealing package with a contemporary design, making these Pilote Vans worth seeking out.