Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read all about the Pioneer Pizzaro in the Practical Motorhome review

Overview

Rear-door coachbuilts used to be more common but this new Pizzaro from Pioneer is the first we’ve seen since its ancestor, the Autocruise Vista, bowed out in 2005.

Being Autocruise’s sister brand, Pioneer benefits from distinctive design touches and most of the floorplans are shared between the two ranges. Some rear-door vehicles can feel cramped inside; not so this beauty – it’s a virtual Tardis. Although only 17ft 3ins long, it has features usually only seen in larger ‘vans. It should appeal strongly to those looking for a smaller motorhome where a comfortable interior does not compromise quality of finish and build.

Design

Most manufacturers have struggled to match overcab pods to the sleek new Sevel cab, even though it’s made for low-profiles. Pioneer has made the most of the shape, though, with a smooth moulded GRP profile cresting the cab.
With a minimal overhang, the Pizzaro’s shape is in proportion. The lilac skirts give it a jolly look, though the unsightly black bumper section spoils the overall effect.
The gas locker is above the nearside wheel arch at a convenient height.

On the road

The sleek exterior is fronted by the new Peugeot cab with its redesigned headlight set.
The basic 100 Multijet engine will comfortably power this diminutive low-profile along the motorway at 70mph.
If you upgrade to the 2.3-litre engine, you get a six-speed gearbox. It’s not essential, as the 2.2-litre unit is adequate, but at only £1000 it’s worth considering for future resale value.
All in all, the Pizzaro should handle very well, thanks to the new, low chassis.

Lounging & dining

The windowed entry door benefits from an electrically operated step and inside, just before you reach the kitchen on the left, is the wardrobe, with a drawer underneath.
Blown-air heating is powered by diesel, while a Truma boiler provides gas and mains electric heated water.
The living area benefits from natural light via two Dometic roof lights. There is a sliding kitchen window, and a larger window in the seating area.
There are some nice touches throughout, such as the mesh magazine holders on the caravan door, spotlights for reading and the dimmer-switched lighting.
The L-shaped sofa accommodates four adults in comfort, while two others could use the cab swivel seats.
When the table is set up, three could dine with ease (or four if a cab seat were used). Although the table is large, one side is unusable for dining as it runs alongside the kitchen – you could use it for food preparation or service, though.The cooker has a hob with a mains electric plate and two gas burners, with a full-sized oven and grill. Beneath the cooker, the drawer offered a disappointingly restricted space, due to the intrusion of the wheel arch.
One nice touch here is the downlighter, in the extractor fan above the hob, which illuminates the sink and cooking area.
A good amount of worktop area is available, and the glass cover for the hob provides even more (many much larger ‘vans offer far less worksurface).
Beneath the glass sink top is a useful little draining rack, and under the sink there’s a cupboard with a cutlery drawer above it.
Between the sink and oven sits a 74-litre fridge, topped by a 9-litre freezer compartment.

Kitchen

The cooker has a hob with a mains electric plate and two gas burners, with a full-sized oven and grill. Beneath the cooker, the drawer offered a disappointingly restricted space, due to the intrusion of the wheel arch.
One nice touch here is the downlighter, in the extractor fan above the hob, which illuminates the sink and cooking area.
A good amount of worktop area is available, and the glass cover for the hob provides even more (many much larger ‘vans offer far less worksurface).
Beneath the glass sink top is a useful little draining rack, and under the sink there’s a cupboard with a cutlery drawer above it.
Between the sink and oven sits a 74-litre fridge, topped by a 9-litre freezer compartment.

Sleeping

The sofa (with storage space beneath) has a pull-out base which converts into a double bed. It’s comfortably firm and long enough for tall adults.
The windows have effective pleated blinds and flyscreens and the lounge window has additional curtaining.
The Pizzaro is well insulated for year-round use in the UK and once the Eberspächer diesel heater gets going, the interior should warm up quickly.

Washroom

The washroom is the big surprise of this Pizzaro. Here’s why: on either side of the rear entrance door are two inner doors; open one and a separate shower room (with inner waterproof door) appears; the space opposite houses the Thetford swivel cassette toilet and a well-proportioned tip-up basin over which sits a double-mirrored vanity cupboard.
The room has a sliding privacy door so that the lavatory and shower can be used independently while still allowing passage into and out of the ‘van.
When the external door is closed and the shower is in operation, the solid shower door opens to shut off the rest of the ‘van, thereby forming an end bathroom and providing ample room in which to shower and dry oneself.

Storage

There is an ample supply of roof lockers all around, though the one over the cooker is partly occupied by the extractor mechanism. The lockers have strong easy-to-use handles and the spacious overcab locker has internal lighting.
The free-standing table (great for al-fresco dining) is stored in a wall cupboard opposite the wardrobe which has a drawer, a small shelf and cupboard beneath.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3300kg
Payload525kg
Length5.28m17′4″
Width2.18m7′2″
Height2.72m8′11″
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill, Extractor fan
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle

Verdict

The Pizzaro is very neat and we’re certainly impressed with the rear door and shower layout. Also, because it’s a compact 'van, it will be easy to handle on narrow or winding roads.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Compact size when driving; storage; clever washroom arrangement

Cons

  • Kitchen storage; accessibility to kitchen with table up
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