French manufacturer Pilote has been producing motorhomes for almost 50 years; today, it encompasses a number of brands across a range of price brackets, from the budget coachbuilts of Moovéo to luxury Le Voyageur A-classes.
From 2012, Pilote’s Angers site will be dedicated to producing motorhomes on AL-KO chassis, while its La Limouzinère factory will produce its ‘regular’ motorhomes. The company is represented at four dealerships in the UK; it aims to increase this to eight.
The primary change to the Pilote line-up for the 2012 season is the introduction of the Explorateur Diamond Edition A-class flagship range, which heads up the ‘regular’ Explorateur line-up of luxury A-classes and low-profiles. Other changes for 2012 come in construction: every motorhome in the Référence range upwards will receive a double floor for 2012, and all ‘vans in all ranges are now built using a sandwich construction technique with aluminium inserts. A raft of new layouts – including an impressive island-bed Moovéo – have also been introduced across the Pilote Group’s brands.
What you need to know
The Pilote range – Aventura, Référence, Explorateur and Explorateur Diamond Edition – will consist of 59 models for 2012; all are coachbuilts or A-classes. The Aventura and Référence models are based on the Fiat camper chassis, while the Explorateur models (both regular and Diamond Edition) are based on Fiat/AL-KO or Mercedes Benz.
The key update for 2012 is the introduction of the Explorateur Diamond Edition, a sixteen-model line-up based on either the Fiat or Mercedes chassis, or the corresponding Alko versions. All models have a full lounge and drop-down bed over the cab; rear-bed choices include an island bed (either forward-facing or transverse), a fixed double or fixed singles.
Diamond Editions are exceptionally well insulated with 38mm walls, and a 260mm double floor; they also have Alde heating and two thermostats (including one in the bedroom) to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the interior.
The front of the Diamond Edition ‘vans will look the same whether you specify the Mercedes or Fiat/AL-KO chassis, other than the badge on the nose: the three-point star for the former, and a Pilote-logo ‘P’ for the latter. The six-tonne Mercedes chassis, first seen last year on the Explorateur G837LCE, remains unique to the Pilote group.
The regular Explorateur range has been slimmed for 2012, from 24 models to 13 for the coming year.
Pilote’s Aventura is its base range, and this year features 15 models: two overcabs, seven low-profiles and six A-classes. One new interesting layout is the P716 LGA low-profile: it’s got a good-sized lounge with an electrically operated drop-down bed over the top, and a fixed, transverse bed across the rear.
The company’s mid-range Référence brand sees the addition of the P730 LGJR: a twin-single-bed low-profile with smart ensuite washroom.
Pilote’s budget, family-friendly range of low-profiles and overcab coachbuilts will inherit the Référence range’s styrofoam-insulation construction for 2012, and feature new fabrics. Four new layouts are available for 2012, including the impressive P6 TC: despite being just 6.9 metres in length, it features an island bed.
This is Pilote’s luxury range of high quality A-classes: there are two model-line ups, both the regular Le Voyageur models and the Platinum range. 90% of Le Voyageur’s sales are now of Platinum models, a range introduced for the 2011 season. For 2012 Pilote will only build Le Voyageurs to order, whether for customer or dealer.
The Bavaria brand, with its typically Continental styling, has never really taken off in the UK, but we’ve been told that the great little Arctic F60 DG van conversion – which we highlighted last year as one of our must-sees – will be coming to these shores in future, branded in Pilote livery. It will apparently be called the Pilote F60 DG and feature the same transverse fixed bed, front-dinette layout as the Bavaria version.
UK prices for all 2012 Pilote Group models will be announced to the public at the Motorhome and Caravan Show, at the NEC in October.
Contact Pilote UK – Graham Rowe. Tel 07900 692 309; email firstname.lastname@example.org