LAST YEAR PILOTE latched on to the trend for low-profile motorhomes that take advantage of having a drop-down bed and include an end washroom that is so huge it can become a dressing room as well.
The P696D, which was the first model to include such a layout, was such a success that earlier this year the company launched the P626D, offering a similar layout but in a length – 6.2m – that is shorter than some van conversions. What’s more, this motorhome also comes with two fold-out travel seats so it’s just possible that you could use it as your day-to-day vehicle too.
Now for the 2021 season, the P626D is one of five low-profile models that are being presented in the UK with the Evidence package. This is a “take it or leave it” package – you can’t pick and choose which of the options you have – but it does get you all sorts of goodies for a fraction of the total price.
The first extra is obvious from the outside. There is a large skirting locker half way down the vehicle that, because it includes a drawer that slides out, is easy to load.
Other features are focused on the drive. Along with 16-inch alloy wheels you get the 140bhp Fiat Ducato engine, and Fiat’ s new nine-speed gearbox. Along with the cruise control included in the Chassis Pack, that should make for a smoother ride. The cab is smartened up, too, with the inclusion of a Luxury Internal Chassis Pack that gets you a leather steering wheel, leather gear selector and chrome instrument dials. Finally, a rear-view camera is among the list of items in the included Media Pack.
What about when you arrive on site?
An electric step comes with the Evidence offer. There’s a good grab handle to help you get in, and next to it is a touchscreen with controls for heating and electrics – Pilote has now abandoned portable versions of this, which came with all sorts of fancy connections, and reverted to one that stays on the wall but is easier to use.
The travel seats fold back down to provide two comfortable parallel settees. The foldable table doesn’t take up all the space between them: there is still room for someone who wants to stretch their legs out unencumbered.
The lounge is surprisingly bright too, considering there is a drop-down bed, thanks to the large sunroof over the cab and no less than 14 LEDs. But there aren’t any spotlights, so anyone needing extra focus for reading might have to sit in the cab seats. That’s the best place to watch the TV from, too, were you to fit one, because the bracket for it is right by the door.
Wash, then tea
It’s not strictly speaking an end washroom here, because the washroom shares some of the rear end with the kitchen. So although there is space to dress, you might need to share it with whoever is cooking. There’s a step up to this area too.
There is only a two-burner hob next to the sink, and only a combined oven and grill. There is no microwave – there probably wouldn’t be room for one anyway. But as part of the Evidence offer, the sizeable worktop is finished in a striking black that matches the black on a useful nearby spice rack.
Even in this restricted space, however, there is room for ingenuity. Under the shelved cupboard in the corner there is a cubbyhole with a socket that is large enough to take a toaster or small kettle, where they wouldn’t intrude. And the designers have still included a lower storage area that, apart from the oven, is all drawers. No poking about in awkward lockers here.
The fridge sits on the back wall next to the wardrobe.
The washroom on the offside has a swing partition – still only held in position by a plastic catch, which seems a bit flimsy. Still, swing the partition one way and you have a completely clear shower cubicle, with a soap dish and a roof vent but only one drainage hole. Swing it the other way and you have a washroom with a circular loo, a standard washbasin with a small cupboard under it, and a larger cupboard to one side. All this is in the space between the garage, and there is no awkward step up into it.
The bed that drops down is large, at 2m long and 1.6m wide, and it doesn’t get in the way of the door. As an option, you can have a second double made using the telescopic table and cushions, but it is only 1.25m wide, so perhaps best only as an occasional bed. Really this van works best as a two-berth.
Because of that drop-down bed, storage up front is a little skimpy. There are no overhead lockers in the lounge – just small cubbyholes that probably wouldn’t hold much more than a map or two. And the underseat areas are taken up with those folding travel seats, the water tank, the Truma heater and the battery.
Further back, however, the wardrobe is a good size, there’s a cubbyhole for boots in the dressing room floor, and that kitchen cupboard, because of its position, could be used for food or clothes.
Best of all, a sliding flap gives you access to the garage at the back – a garage that is perfectly adequate for a van this size, even if it would probably only hold a folding bike. You’ve always got that skirting locker too.
Practical Motorhome says…
It’s not strictly speaking an end washroom motorhome, because the kitchen takes up some of the rear space, but the general idea is still there in this ‘van. At the length it is, as long as it is just the two of you travelling mainly, this really is a low-profile that might tempt away van conversion fans. Particularly as you get so much more space inside. Storage isn’t hugely generous, but what there is is flexible. We rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.
- Price £53,250
- Sleep 2 (optional 4) Belts 4
- Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
- Engine 2.0-ltire 140bhp Euro 6
- Length/width/height 6.26/2.3/2.85m
- MTPLM 3500kg
- Payload 695kg
- Waste (fresh/waste) 130/95 litres
- Leisure battery 95Ah
- Gas 2 x 13kg
This motorhome also comes with two fold-out travel seats so it’s possible that you could use it as your day-to-day vehicle, too