Pilote Pacific P690C Review

By: Malcolm Street, Photography by: IMAGES SUPPLIED


Good looking, easy driving: Malcolm Street finds plenty to like in the newest B-class from Pilote

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Pilote’s Pacific, ready for the open road

The 2020 range from French manufacturer Pilote has arrived in New Zealand, and is distributed by Blenheim-based DeLuxe RV.

The Pilote Pacific P690C is one of the first of the B-class motorhomes to become available. It has an external length of 6950mm, which I think is ideal, being short enough to be an easy handling motorhome but with enough internal space to give a designer plenty of scope. 

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The table can be moved around for ease of use

Layout 

Undoubtedly the main attraction for many people is the island bed in the rear. With the usual cab seat lounge/dining area up front, that pretty much decides the rest of the layout which consists of a nearside kitchen bench and a split bathroom in front of the bedroom. 

Pilote’s colour scheme is subtly done in various shades of brown, buff and white with a bit of speckled grey thrown in for the bench and tabletops. The cabinetry fits together quite well; the cupboards open and close as they should and drawers were a smooth operating experience. Net curtains are fitted to all windows except the one above the kitchen bench. 

There are two floor hatches. The one in front of the bed is a small underfloor area, handy for shoes or out of sight items. The second, towards the front, gives easy access to the grey water tank – very handy for flushing and cleaning. 

Lighting 

Like many RV manufacturers, Pilote has joined the LED light revolution with lighting for all kinds of usage and moods. I particularly like the internal overhead locker lighting; it’s not essential but it does solve the night time problem where lights outside the lockers often make it difficult to see inside. 

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The front area is well laid out for both comfort and practicality

Swivelled seats 

Undoubtedly it was a game changer in the motorhome world when base vehicle manufacturers introduced driver’s cab seats that could be turned back toward the living area. Fiat led the charge about 15 years ago by introducing a motorhome-friendly cab that included swivel cab seats thus making an effective use of the cab area when the vehicle was not being driven. Most motorhomes seem to have them these days. As does the Pacific P690C which uses the cab seats to fit in nicely with the rear lounge and the inwards facing single seat on the driver’s side. The rear seat is fitted with two seatbelts giving the motorhome its four person capacity. 

Between the front and rear seats, the table can be moved backwards and forwards and has a swivel section underneath that neatly extends the table to the offside seating. I like the big skyview hatch above, it does allow for plenty of natural light. 

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Minimalist kitchen bench styling

Cooking 

Looking deceptively simple, the kitchen benchtop, complete with matching splashback, is fitted with a stainless steel sink and a two burner LPG hob. Both are sized to allow a decent amount of benchtop space – not always seen in every European built motorhome. If the hob lid is open, it does hide the powerpoint on the wall, which is a tad fiddly. Locating it a bit higher up the wall would sort that.

Under the benchtop, a Thetford Duplex oven completes the cooking ensemble. There’s a generous amount of storage – two shelf-fitted overhead lockers above and three drawers below, the lower one large enough for a scraps bin. Across the walkway, the cabinet fit-out includes a slimline 138-litre three-way fridge, with cupboards above and below.

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The Xperience tablet-style panel integrates with Truma’s iNet hot water/heater controller

Split bathroom 

To make this layout a practical one, the ablutions facilities – between bedroom and kitchen – are split with the toilet cubicle on the offside and the shower cubicle in the opposite corner. To give some privacy, the toilet door can be used to separate the front and rear areas.

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The split bathroom provides a spacious toilet cubicle. The shower is roomy too

Certainly the toilet cubicle is well appointed with a Dometic cassette loo, a good-sized corner wash basin and a couple of cupboards, both upper and lower. Being able to leave the shower screen door open when not being used makes it easier to walk past when getting in or out of the bed. Both the shower cubicle and toilet have decent sized ventilation hatches. 

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Hanging wardrobes allow for a great bedside shelf area

Island bed 

This year’s Pilote motorhomes have a new look inside and that is certainly obvious in the bedroom area which has a touch of class added to everything, from the curtains to the cabinetry and lighting. 

Measuring 1900mm x 1500m, the bed is surrounded by impressive looking bedhead cabinetry, which includes an extra long bedside cabinet. The observant might note the small ventilation ducts atop the cabinets – the Euros tend to use those as a method of boosting air circulation to minimise condensation issues. 

Control centre 

RV Electrics are getting very sophisticated these days and most of the control is handled by the Xperience tablet-style control located by the habitation door. That also happens to be where the flat screen TV is fitted, but look above the doorway for items like Truma’s iNet hot water/space heater controller (also controlled by the tablet) and the auto satellite controls. 

Base vehicle 

No surprises here, a Fiat Ducato Multijet but instead of the usual 130hp model, Pilote have supplied the slightly more powerful 140hp (104kw/350Nm) turbo diesel. Undoubtedly the main item of interest with this Ducato is that the new nine-speed full automatic has finally arrived. Replacing the old six speed AMT gearbox, the new gearbox is a much smoother driving proposition and works well with the lower powered 2.3 litre engines. For better ride comfort, air bag suspension is fitted to the rear wheels. 

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A stylish motorhome, inside and out

Build 

Fibreglass is used for the main bodywork and that is backed up by the styrofoam insulation – 28mm for the sides/roof and a thicker 50mm for the floor. To minimise hail damage, polyester is used for the roof, and, for a similar reason, impact resistant polyester is also used for the underfloor area. 

Awning style Polyplastic double glazed windows are fitted all round and the Hartal door comes with a window and concertina insect screen in the doorway. 

A great feature of this motorhome is the large garage storage area at the rear, about 1720 litres according to the manufacturer. Great for camping chairs, golf clubs, fishing rods and even a couple of folding bikes. Just a little tip here given the available space, make sure everything is packed in or tied down so that it cannot move around too much.

Off the grid

A fresh water tank capacity of 130 litres and a grey tank of 95 litres gives the motorhome the necessary self-containment certification. In addition to that, the two 100Ah deep cycle AGM batteries and 185W of solar panel give the necessary electrical freedom sans shore power. 

Verdict 

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Something that Pilote’s Pacific P690C offers is plenty of appeal. Well-sized with the happy combination of an easy driving motorhome, yet with plenty of living space and the added attraction of being a classy looking motorhome inside and out. 

Pilote Pacific P690C specifications

Chassis 

Fiat Ducato Multijet 140 

Berths 

Length 

6950mm 

Width 

2300mm 

Height 

2850mm 

Water tanks 

Fresh 130 litre, Grey 95 litre 

GVM 

3500kg 

Tare 

2825kg 

Payload 

675kg 

Price as reviewed: $157,990 (includes GST and on-roads)

Pros

  • Great interior look
  • 140 Fiat engine and new nine speed gearbox
  • Overall fit and finish
  • External storage space
  • Air Top Rear suspension

Cons

  • Bedside powerpoint and USB charger on one side only
  • Single powerpoint in kitchen/lounge area

 

Visit deluxegroup.co.nz for more information.

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