Price from: £71,400 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.99m Width: 2.31m Height: 2.93m Gross weight: 3,500kg (3,650kg and 4,250kg options) Payload: 448kg
If you associate Italian motorhomes with low-cost and often family-orientated models, perhaps even the hire market, you need to retune your thinking with Laika. This is an Erwin Hymer Group brand that can bear comparison with Hymer itself, although the style here eschews Teutonic efficiency for Latin flair.
It’s a marque that has been associated with A-classes since its Laserhome first landed here in 1988 and both its Ecovip and Kreos ranges include A-class models (the entry-level Kosmo line-up is not imported). However, to give the latest Ecovip a more complete ‘Laika look’, it has now inherited the rich wood colour of the Kreos as well as the same style of A-class front.
Unlike the more expensive range, however, it can be specified as a 3,500kg vehicle (to suit drivers without a C1 category driving licence) and offer a choice of Truma blown-air or Alde radiator-based heating systems. Ecovip A-classes are also more compact, starting at under 7m long.
This 609 model is one of three 6.99m layouts, each with a technical double floor that includes the water tanks in a fully insulated location. Standard specification has been reduced in order to provide acceptable payloads, but you still need to be wary of adding too many options if you want to avoid a chassis upgrade to 3,650kg or beyond. A 4,250kg version is available for those who need it.
Firstly, there are two packs to consider. The Comfort Pack (price £1,760 and weight 22.7kg) adds cab air-conditioning, Traction Plus, Hill Descent Control, cruise control, cab carpet and a duckboard for the shower. Then the Dolce Vita Pack (£3,970 and 29.5kg) gives you a multimedia system with sat-nav and reversing camera, a 22in LED TV, satellite dish and remote control of the heating from your smartphone. Both packs offer a saving against specifying the various options individually.
The Ecovip makes a good first impression with a smart moulded interior to the habitation door (with twin bins) and very Italian suede-style upholstery (called Pavia). The round table in the lounge looks the part, too, and it’s not just about image – storage in the double floor and the waste water dump valve positioned here show that practicalities have not been overlooked. Roman blinds are fitted and there’s a hidden TV compartment positioned above the half-dinette.
The kitchen demonstrates the attractive woodwork and comes equipped with a three-burner hob, a deep sink with a chopping board on the reverse side of its lid, and three XXL-sized drawers. Alongside is a 160-litre AES fridge/freezer, above which an oven can be specified as an option. The top lockers have sturdy metal hinges and lock onto a metal rail.
Opposite, the washroom incorporates a circular shower with central drain, plenty of storage for all of your toiletries, and an opening window. The ambience is overwhelmingly woody, rather than white plastic as seen in many rivals.
Towards the rear there’s a wide entrance to the bedroom, which can be closed off with a sliding/folding wooden door. Broad wardrobes are found under each mattress but hanging depth is suited to skirts rather than dresses. Both beds measure 1.94m long.
Unusually (especially for this type of layout), there’s internal access to the garage, via a sliding door. The garage itself can carry up to 250kg and has 1.20m headroom, as well as two large loading doors, but if you want to take full advantage of this space a chassis upgrade will be warranted.