The DeLuxe Group in Blenheim have distribution rights for this classy French-built motorhome. We have featured the brand before in issue 70 of this magazine where we learnt that the French manufacturer Pilote produce these luxurious motor-liners with a high level of craftsmanship – there are many features to drool over and ‘ooh la las’ seem to glide off the tongue when you see one of these motorhomes in real time.

This new 7.8CL model has literally just landed in the country – not enough time for us to get photographs set up, but a quick look through and a chat with Laura Smith at DeLuxe gave me enough details to spotlight the vehicle in this show issue.

A spacious, luxurious front entertainment area, swivel cab seats, fully adjustable table, two lounge seat options and the pull-down ceiling bed above

Construction: Polyester side walls, moisture-resistant wall battens and 35mm insulation – to conserve heat, walls and roof are composed of Styrofoam-lined aluminium; 7mm plywood floor with 25mm insulation and fibreglass protection panel; a one-piece fibreglass dome roof with no water retention; hail-protection covering on the roof; a 26cm double floor that is Class 3 insulated and heated so well it retains and moves heat around (sort of acts like underfloor heating, though is not); aluminium side skirts; double-glazed windows with aluminium frames look good, and the front and rear pieces are a polyester monobloc construction; large boot storage at the rear has swinging garage doors with access from both sides; other storage lockers; electric, defrosting rear-view mirrors are great as well.

Based on a 2019 Fiat Ducato chassis with 180hp, 2.3L turbo diesel engine, six-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox is a front-wheel-drive base, on two axles for the 7850mm-long vehicle. Width is 2240mm, height 2950mm, GVM 5000kg with a payload of 975kg, which is not insignificant. Maximum towing limit is 2000kg which is very good as well.

The large rear boot for storage is accessible on both sides of the vehicle

The interior cab is made for comfort with cabin air-con, DVD Bluetooth stereo and speakers, and on the right-hand side a reversing camera screen in the dashboard. The cab seats are AGUTI lounge chairs with two armrests, swivel bases and are height adjustable, perfect for turning around for extra seating when parked up relaxing.

Stepping up via the electric entry step into the central living area, to the right there is a nice 810mm lounge-style seat, and opposite is the L-shaped lounge with a 1320mm-length seat behind the passenger side. The table is fully adjustable, movement wise, and extendable.

The front pull-down berth has curtains for privacy and comfort

Above this area, in the ceiling is the pull-down second berth bed, 1450mm x 1950mm – when pulled down it has privacy walls and a ladder for access. Storage under the seats is accessible from outside lockers as well. The flooring is vinyl with a wood-look finish.

To the left of entry is a handle to aid entry, and a storage unit with a shelf. The TV is inset in this position with a glass storage cabinet above.

The kitchen is compact but has a great pull-out pantry, under-bench gas oven, gas hob on top with glass cover - nice overhead storage and extra shelves as well

Above the doorway are the control panels and monitors. The 160L three-way auto fridge–freezer tower is around the corner facing the kitchen bench, with storage above it and a full-height pull-out pantry unit next to it before entering the bathroom/bedroom area.

The kitchen is midship, with open shelves on the left wall and under the overhead storage lockers, something a bit different from the norm and nicely lit with LED strip lighting. A splashback surrounds the kitchen window that is fitted with privacy and fly screen blinds, as are all the windows in the vehicle.

The rear bedroom with the island bed, wardrobe storage both sides and overhead lockers

A square stainless sink is inset into the counter top with a three-ring gas hob beside it, both with glass lids to increase preparation space. Under the bench are drawers and cupboard storage, and a Thetford combi gas oven and integrated rubbish bin. All have soft-close latches.

Walking through we have the full-sized shower on the right that offers 1900mm height and an overhead roof vent. To the left a separate en suite toilet room with vanity basin, mirrors with integrated lighting, a pedestal electric flush toilet with 23L portable wheeled cassette.

Lot of extras here with towel rails, toilet-paper holders, storage galore, roof vent and electrical sockets.

The en suite toilet is great with electric flush toilet, vanity and storage spaces. The full-height shower is opposite

In the bedroom the pull-down retractable bed has a slatted base with adjustable headboard – at 1450mm x 1950mm it is a good size. The mattress is Bultex foam. On both sides are wardrobes and storage, and above the bed-head, LED lighting, mood lighting and storage lockers.

The windows offer great views and the roof vent brings extra ventilation when required. Wired and ready for a second TV unit.

2019 Fiat Ducato Le Voyageur 7.8CL four berth Water: Freshwater tank 200L, Grey tank 120L
Power: 200Ah battery, 20A battery charger, 2 x 150W solar panels
Heating: 6000W Combi 6 TRUMA heating and hot water
Entertainment: NZ supplied LCD flat-screen TV with Freeview and DVD, automatic aerial, radio/CD player with Bluetooth
Exterior features: gas point, Fiamma wind-out awning, exterior shower in boot locker. Double-glazed windows and roof hatches throughout