Please forgive the slightly misleading heading above, because – as a lot of people will know – Pilote is as French as they come. It’s just that, recent efforts have seen it making ever more efforts to tackle the UK market, hence the overall floor plan as well as some of the fittings in the new-for-2014 Référence G690LR here.
It also explains the upholstery you see before you (although there are alternatives, including leather). It’s called Scone, and rhymes with “stone… how British!
Like many continental manufacturers, Pilote offers a massively mind-boggling line-up of vehicles that – technically, at least – are all available to us in the UK. Pity the dealer that has to select which models it wants to display in the year ahead… or indeed the poor punters who are expected to choose the one model that’s right for them. Luckily, here, that’s exactly what we’ve done for you.
This G690LR, from the Référence series, is almost a new model for the season ahead.
Almost? Well, there’s no doubt it takes its cues from the previous 640 equivalent, but it’s a crucial half a metre longer, and nearly all of the extra space is given over to that lounge. It also comes out at incredibly good value versus its A-class peers, with prices starting at under £60,000 – just.
But, and there always is a but when it comes to prices, it’s the usual rider: there are loads of optional extras, some of which feature here.
Up front, then, it’s a typical A-class on-site seating area, complete with drop-down bed over the cab area. But, that settee along the nearside is longer than most, and you can extend the rear travel seat adjacent into an L-shaped seating plan, too, again with similar length. And that’s how we like it – be if for entertaining small parties or just for two occupants who like to stretch out. Lazy Brits? No way, we just like a lounge we can sprawl out in (after a hard day’s work, of course).
It also explains features such as the free-standing table. Again, that’s a response to a perceived UK preference for a unit that can be stored away when not in use (whereas throughout the rest of the continent a fixed, pedestal leg table is acceptable). So far, Pilote is also hedging its bets by offering the fixed table, at no extra cost, over here.
Ironically, considering all that seating, there’s only the facility to make one extra bed, from the settee, by pulling out the base for a generous enough 1.90m x 0.85m. The main bed, though, really is the business – on a Bultex mattress with sprung-slatted base for extra support as well as all-important ventilation. It’s a sizeable and supremely comfortable1.85m x 1.35m, pulling down manually into a suitably low position (with the cab seats folded over).
It’s not just about the big lounge and bouncy beds. This model has a UK-specification kitchen among the attributes looking to appeal to us Brits. It gets a full cooker (ie hob with three gas burners and an electric hotplate, separate grill and oven), whilst opposite the main food preparation area is a hefty Dometic 154-litre fridge/freezer, above which is a large (unshelved) cupboard that looks like it could easily cope with a microwave oven (if that is your wish).
Taking up most of the rear of the vehicle, the washroom is generous on space in all but one, possibly important, aspect – that of access to the swivel-bowl toilet. It’s something you’ll want to check for yourselves.
Interestingly, the Référence G6909LR has few, if any, direct rivals – certainly in terms of the floorplan on offer. Closest is Hymer’s B544 – again, a particular favourite here in the UK – but you’re going to have to dig a whole lot deeper into your pockets for this, especially if you go spec’-for-spec.
Verdict: A very UK-friendly floorplan, plus a frisson of French flair
Plus: Highly competitive price, roomy, comfortable
Minus: Toilet space
In-a-nutshell: A-class attributes, AOK price
Cost to insure: £372.50 *
- Pilote Référence G690 LR
- Fiat Ducato, 2.3-litre, 150bhp Euro V
- Dimensions 6.88m L, 2.30m W, 2.85m H
- Maximum weight 3500kg
- Payload 455kg
- Key options: 150bhp engine (£853), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£1,996), Chassis Pack – airbags, rear stabilisers, ESP, LED day-running lights and front fog lamps (£846), Winter Pack – carpet sections, Truma 6 upgrade, second battery, fridge vents (£565), cab air conditioning (£1,006), exterior storage drawer (£424)
- Security and Safety Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking to cab doors, ABS and EBD, twin airbags
- MPG estimate 21-25
Recommended retail price from £59,999**
There’s more information on the Pilote portfolio on the Pilote website and to find out more about our low-cost premiums visit the motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternative: Hymer B544
*Motorhome insurance cost based on Pilote Référence G690 retailing at £59,999. Motorhome must have an immobiliser and approved tracking device fitted within 28 days of inception. UK travel only. Kept in secure storage at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 5000 miles annually. £300 excess applies. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct at 09/12/13.
**On-the-road, including VAT at 20%