Although we often focus on using your ’van to go exploring, manufacturers are only too keen to point out just how practical their vehicles can be – not just day-to-day, but for anyone who needs a base for outdoor sports, for example, or takes their canine friends to dog shows. French brand Pilote aims to attract that kind of customer with its new V633M van conversion. 

The first thing you notice is its 2.80m height – you won’t get this ’van under a standard barrier. 

It’s based on the Fiat Ducato. Pilote, like many Continental brands, has started using alternative bases this season, owing to supply issues, but the V633M is staying with the Italian brand this time around.

That means a standard Ducato cab, with drinks holders in the middle. You also get captain’s seats with smart matching upholstery.

The Fiat Ducato cab
Standard Fiat Ducato cab in left-hand-drive test model

The narrow clip-on table in the dinette extends, so whoever is in the swivelled driving seat can reach it – and clips to the outside of the kitchen unit for a spot of outdoor dining.

The height of the ’van allows plenty of space to put the TV fittings out of the way above the travel seat, although the TV is then only really viewable by those sitting in the cab seats.

But the front dinette is not the focal point in this ’van. Within the confines of an XLWB Ducato, Pilote provides a rear area that, thanks to that height and even with the drop-down bed, makes a great space for working on your bike, or grooming a large dog. There’s plenty of storage for any kit needed, too.

The clip-on table in the front dinette
The clip-on table in the front dinette is quite narrow, but it extends out so that the person sitting in the driver’s seat can reach it, too

The kitchen has a two-burner hob in line with the sink, and an extension flap that makes the worktop passable. The half-height fridge could be a bit small if four of you are travelling full time. There’s no oven or microwave, either – even as a cost option.

The extendable worktop and the two-burner hob
Kitchen has two-burner hob and extendable worktop, but there’s no oven or microwave

In the washroom on the other side, the shower tray is the floor. But there is still plenty of space to move about, thanks to the toilet that slides away; although there is only one plughole. 

In a ’van of this height, there is plenty of headroom; the large handbasin also folds away. The whole area is well lit with LEDs, well ventilated with a large roof vent, and neatly sealed off with a tambour door.

That height means Pilote has been able to add a couple of extra windows in the back. This really pays dividends with the beds. The top drop-down bed (standard fit) gets its own window and ceiling LEDs, as does the optional bottom bed, which also has two swan-neck spots and LEDs in the bed panel.

The drop-down bed
Drop-down bed has its own window, ceiling LED lighting and netted-off cubbyhole storage

There isn’t a great deal of headroom when both of the beds are in position, and the ladder could make access to the bottom one a bit tricky.

Even if you’ve gone for the second, optional bed, you might prefer to use this ’van as a two-berth, removing the lower slats and leaving them at home. 

Whatever you think of the beds, you are bound to be impressed by the huge amount of storage. 

One of the 'van's overhead lockers
Excellent storage, with lots of overhead lockers and shelves

That’s not just in the ‘workshop’ area, although it is good there: you’ll find three tambour-door lockers down one side, and once you remove the lower bed slats, two more lockers in among the gas bottle locker and the battery box. There is also a cubbyhole at the back for fobs and keys. Whoever sleeps in the top bed has three cubbyholes.

The extra height means you get large overhead lockers and shelving in the front dinette, and plenty of useful cubbyholes in the cab. 

The kitchen has drawers under the worktop, including one with a ‘drawer within a drawer’ and a small waste bin, a huge overhead cupboard, and another locker higher up. 

The washroom includes roped-off shelving behind the sliding mirror, and another large locker up top.

Practical Motorhome says…

The height of the Pilote V633M could be something that puts off buyers looking for the convenience of a van conversion. But if that’s not an issue for you, there’s a huge amount to love in this ’van, not least the sheer practicality of its layout. Perhaps the only downside is the lack of an oven or microwave.

  • Are you after more great van conversion inspiration? Then take a look at our best campervan guide

Technical spec

  • Price: £66,400
  • Sleeps: 4 
  • Belts: 4 
  • Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato 
  • Engine: 2.2-litre, 120bhp Euro 6D turbodiesel
  • Length/width/height: 6.36/2.05/2.80m (20’9”/6’7”/9’2”)
  • MTPLM: 3500kg
  • MiRO: 2970kg
  • Payload: 530kg
  • Water (fresh/waste): 110/80 litres
  • Leisure battery: 95Ah 
  • Gas: 2 x 13kg

If you liked this, why not take a look at these:

  • Looking for an elegant two berth instead? Then be sure to take a look at our review of the Globecar Roadscout R Elegance, a ‘van that provides a comfortable touring experience.
  • Take a look at our review of the Jöbl Kampa LE, a van conversion that is based on the VW transporter and is ideal for weekend getaways.

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