Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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New for 2018, with tonnes of storage and a drop-down double bed, let's see what else the fixed-twin-single-bed Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel has to offer

Overview

If you’re one of those people who tend to get confused by model names, it may come as some relief to know that, among its low-profile coachbuilts at least, there are only two new models from French manufacturer Pilote (which has a bit of a reputation for convoluted name tags) to concern yourself with this season.

Both of them come with the numbers 706 and either ‘C’ (for island bed) or ‘GJ’ (for fixed single beds).

Both also feature a double drop-down bed over the front dinette.

We had a look at the GJ at the season launch.

The prototype model we saw there was Essentiel specification, effectively the most basic of the three levels.

However, it included an L-shaped sculpted settee in the dinette and an external shower in the rear garage – features usually reserved for a higher spec.

Regular Essentiel models come with straight settees, and the only shower you get is in the washroom.

Design

For 2018 there’s a new back panel with a bumper and lights, which has been split into three panels to make it easier and cheaper to replace following a minor collision.

However, you’re unlikely to be responsible for said accident, because there’s also a very good 170-degree rear-view camera monitor on the dashboard.

There’s also new skirting along the sides of all Pacific models. For £600 extra you can have an additional locker fitted into this skirting, halfway down the nearside.

But perhaps most impressive is what’s under the ’van: a largely clear undercarriage.

Pilote has redesigned the Pacific floor so that all wiring and plumbing is included within it. It’s also 15mm thicker to aid insulation.

Lounging & dining

On the inside, you get a fairly warm welcome as you step in, thanks to a heating vent that’s directed straight at the habitation door.

The other heating vent in the lounge is under the table in the Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel.

That table slides forwards, backwards and sideways, but not diagonally.

The television slides out from the other side of the door, so at least half the seats in the lounge should get a reasonable view of it.

The large rooflight means you still get daylight coming in, even given the drop-down bed.

Lighting in the cab has also been thought of, with two push-on LEDs.

Kitchen

Pilote has remodelled its kitchen worktops for 2018, to give you more room to work in front of the two-burner hob.

There’s also room behind the rectangular sink to put your kettle, near the mains switches.

Designers often leave the area immediately under the sink alone, but Pilote has included a small locker here where you could easily store spices (if you’ve already exhausted the shelf on the wall).

Underneath this are two more good-sized drawers, although these would be removed to make way for an oven, which doesn’t come as standard.

The slimline fridge is across the aisle in this Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel, and has a cupboard with shelves above.

Sleeping

To accommodate the tall garage at the back of this motorhome, you actually have to take two steps up to reach the bed at the rear.

But it’s worth it; there’s even a shelf where you can leave books or glasses.

A pocket on the wall at the end of the bed will also hold magazines, and sits next to a group of sockets you could use for a second TV.

Lighting back here is okay. There’s only a small Heki in the roof, but the windows each side allow plenty of light in, and there are two spotlights for night-time reading.

The rear fixed single beds each measure 1.91 x 0.81m (6'2" x 2'8"), while that drop-down double at the front is 2.0 x 1.26-1.00m (6'7" x 4'2"-3'3")

Washroom

The central washroom can be completely partitioned off.

The shower cubicle on the nearside is large with a rooflight and light.

On the offside you get a quirky trapezoid-shaped washbasin with two cupboards beneath it, and a large mirror.

Storage

That huge garage is the real plus point in this ’van when it comes to storage.

It’s easily big enough to hold bikes, and is well insulated and lit.

And, even with all the space it takes up, storage room in the rear bedroom isn’t really compromised.

You still get a hanging wardrobe and, although there are only three overhead lockers, there is shelving above the pelmet.

Unlike other manufacturers, Pilote doesn’t include storage inside the bedroom steps, and there isn’t any boot locker near the door.

But the Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel does have a cubbyhole under the washroom floor.

Storage in the kitchen is a bit limited, especially if you choose to fit the optional oven.

There are only two overhead lockers in the front lounge, although all the underseat areas are wonderfully clear, to allow you to fill them – after all, you have a 600kg payload.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload600kg
Length6.99m22′11″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.85m9′4″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water130L / 95L
Leisure battery105 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
2-burner gas hob
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle, Bi-fold shower door

Verdict

Pilote is well known for producing imaginatively designed, quirky motorhomes, and this Pacific 706GJ Essentiel is no exception.

Storage-wise it is excellent and the beds are a good size, too.

You’ll need to ensure you’re happy without the L-shaped seating seen here, though.

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

Conclusion

Pros

  • The fixed single beds are a generous length
  • There's tonnes of storage space

Cons

  • The kitchen is small and too sparsely specced for many British buyers
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