Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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It is Pilote's only new floorplan for 2017, but with a UK-friendly end lounge, it's one to get excited about! Don't miss our Pacific P650U Sensation review

Overview

After a whole sweep of changes for the 2016 season, French manufacturer Pilote entered 2017 with only one new coachbuilt layout.

But it’s perhaps a mark of how important the UK market is to the company that the new model in question – the 650U – should feature a Brit-friendly rear U-shaped lounge, albeit given the innovative Pilote interpretation.

As with many of Pilote’s coachbuilts, the layout is available as both a Galaxy A-class, and a Pacific low-profile coachbuilt – not to mention in the usual different spec levels: Essentiel and Sensation in Pacific, and the same two levels plus the top-of-the-range Emotion in Galaxy.

It’s also available as a Bavaria-branded model, again in either low-profile or A-class format.

For our review here we are in the middle ground, with a Pilote Pacific P650U Sensation.

Design

This 6.49m-long ’van sits on a Fiat Ducato base vehicle with a standard chassis.

From the cab you do get a (limited) view through the rear window in the lounge, which possibly explains why a rear-view camera isn’t a factory-fitted option at either spec level.

You do, however, get an external locker at the rear, although it’s not tall enough to take a conventional bicycle.

Lounging & dining

There’s a dinette up front, but it’s a little cramped for four people, even with the cab seats swivelled.

Beside the kitchen is a pull-up padded flap which, while making a great footrest for those in the cab seats, could also double up as a perch for an extra diner. You can still use the door with it down.

A large rooflight and the cab sunroof allow in plenty of daylight. At night-time, although there is only one directional spotlight, there are four that you press to turn on in the cab, and a further two LED lights providing background lighting from the edge of the lockers. A TV bracket slides out from the side of this locker.

There’s a step up into the rear lounge. Back here, in contrast to the front, there is loads of room.

You could probably seat seven people, and those in the corner wouldn’t feel short-changed because there is proper corner cushioning with headrests.

There’s another large rooflight, with two LEDs, and this time four spotlights and in-built speakers.

A large shelf on top of the wardrobe has two mains sockets above it, but no aerial connection.

The foldaway table has its own slotted space opposite the wardrobe. But the single catch that holds it in place didn’t seem particularly strong, and is located well inside the slot.

The hatch in the floor, meanwhile, gives access to the inboard water tank.

The side wall has a pocket for tidying up magazines.

Kitchen

The central offside kitchen is what you expect to find in Continental ’vans. You only get a two-burner hob, a small sink and a grill.

There’s no oven or microwave, although a dealer could potentially install one in the cupboard above the 135-litre Dometic AES fridge.

But you do get an extractor fan and a cocktail cabinet.

What looks like a drawer under the hob turns out to be a worktop extension flap, but because this is not at the same level as the rest of the workspace, it might have limited use.

There is a tiny spice locker and large cutlery drawer under the sink, and beneath that and the grill are two larger drawers.

The single overhead locker is split into shelves. There is also a shelf above the hob with 12V and USB sockets, but it can really only hold smartphones or a small kettle.

Sleeping

Our test ’van didn’t come with the optional third bed in the front dinette, so the only choice for sleeping is to make the bed out of cushions from the rear lounge.

This provides a large, comfy sleeping space, but you’ll need to utilise the table to make it (using that buried-away catch again).

Washroom

It’s in the washroom that Pilote’s penchant for innovation most comes through.

At first it looks as though there’s only a tiny shower that shares space with a medium-sized washbasin.

But undo the small latch on the left, and the basin swings around to completely partition off the loo, which leaves you with a much bigger shower.

Storage

As for storage, both of the underseat areas at the back are clear for loading. But they can only be accessed by lifting up cushions and slats, which we found a bit tricky.

There are six large overhead lockers in the rear lounge, none of which are shelved. The wardrobe, however, is a good size.

At 720kg, the Pilote P650U’s user payload is on the large side.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload720kg
Length6.49m21′4″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.75m9′
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water130L / 95L
Leisure battery105 Ah
Gas tank size13kg
Number of gas tank compartments2

Verdict

The Pilote Pacific P650U Sensation offers a rear-lounge layout on a 6.49m body length that’ll be straightforward to park.

The ’van is a looker, too, but some of the innovations aren’t quite as well executed as we were expecting.

And to see other Pilote motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Enjoy end-lounge living in a 6.49m-long motorhome
  • The washroom has some clever touches
  • It has a healthy payload

Cons

  • Some of its innovations are a little fiddly to use
  • As is typical with Continental ’vans, the kitchen is sparsely specced
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