The Kreos 5009 has a luxurious, stylish finish that sets it apart from lesser low-profile ’vans. Its kitchen, washroom and bedroom all impressed and the double-floor and Alde heating make it ideal for year-round use. The inclusion of the mandatory Dolce Vita pack means an options list is almost superfluous but the near-£95k price tag also brings A-class alternatives into contention.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Al-Ko Price from: £93,820 Berths: 2/5 Travel seats: 4/5 Length: 7.69m Width: 2.30m Height: 2.99m Gross weight: 4,500kg
If style is important to you in a motorhome, then take a look at a Laika Kreos. The Italians have a reputation for great looks and this is no exception.
The low-profile Kreos 5009 has stylish design by the bucket load, especially inside. And, in the UK, it comes with a mandatory Dolce Vita pack, so by default, you get many more features as standard, including the upgraded 4,500kg chassis and six-speed Comfort-Matic robotised semi-automatic gearbox.
Another benefit of the UK Dolce Vita pack is the 150bhp, 2.3-litre engine, as opposed to the standard 130-horsepower engine. This makes performance effortless and more responsive when pulling away from roundabouts or tackling hills.
Driving is a pleasure. The Kreos clipped along Lincolnshire’s roads and dealt with the hills around Lincoln with ease. The acoustic insulation between the cab and the diesel engine makes driving quiet and comfortable and, despite the breezy day and passing lorries on local dual-carriageways, the Kreos felt stable and secure on the road.
You will probably be familiar with the Fiat Ducato cab and its features as so many motorhomes are based upon it. It’s not the most stylish aspect here, looking rather dated as the dash’ design hasn’t really changed since 2007, but the leather trim and walnut-effect inserts on the dashboard do try to lift the ambience. And the Kreos also has an Al-Ko chassis and is based on the 43 Heavy version of the Ducato. With the upgraded chassis and reinforced Al-Ko suspension you get a better driving experience – and a generous payload of over a tonne (even with all the options added for the UK market).
Laika has upholstered the standard Fiat seats with cream-coloured leather and soft hide covers the armrests to add a touch of luxury. Other cab extras include automatic climate control, digital radio with CD-player, leather steering wheel, 7in reversing camera screen where the rear view mirror would usually sit, front foglamps, cupholders, and 12V and USB charging sockets.
Above, there’s a medium-sized skylight, with small lockers on either side of the luton. These are much more usable than open shelves, as seen in some rivals. Above the driver and passenger seats are LED reading lights, too, and cab blinds are fitted.
Spin the seats around and you begin to appreciate the rest of the Kreos’ design. The model tested had redwood (Noce Italiano) furniture and glossy cream locker doors to match the leather seats. The L-shaped lounge seats are as comfortable as the two up front, while unusual are the curves where backrests meet the cab.
With its fixed leg, it’s easy to slide the large tabletop into different positions, depending on who you’re entertaining or feeding. You can sit four around the table and the lounge is a social place where you’ll want to spend time with your friends or family.
On a practical note, there are two rear travel seats but, as tested, the Kreos is only a two-berth. A single bed created from the lounge seats is an option, as is a drop-down double in the ceiling above. A fifth travel seat is also available at extra cost.
Above the seats are many generous lockers with huge soft-close hinges.
Another neat design is in the offside overhead locker where a 32in TV is concealed. Your telly slides down from behind the cupboard, which feels more luxury yacht than motorhome.
The lighting in the living space is notable. With clusters of LED downlights, strips of subtle uplighting behind panels and blue LEDs near your feet in the lounge, the atmosphere they create can be bright and cheerful. Or, you can change the mood to subtle, calm and cool with a different combination.
In the double floor with its smart, wood finish, are two lit access holes for storing other gear. These lockers lead into a huge, underfloor space and the hatches are hidden when the UK-spec carpets are in situ. More on the double floor later.
By the habitation door, there’s a tall mirror to check your image on your way out/in. Above it, there’s a winged greyhound coat hook (reminding you of the Laika brand, named after the first dog in space) for hanging your chic raincoat.
The cool design continues in the kitchen. Why have a corner when you can have a curve? The grey, stone-like surface makes it look marble-topped. The main sink is round with a removable lid, which you can attach to the side to give more surface space. Behind is a second sink, which includes a draining board.
The three-burner gas hob has an extractor fan above. It’s a useful feature to keep your motorhome as odour-free as possible – why risk getting cooking fumes and grease over it?
Below the counter are five drawers, which give you plenty of space for food, cooking utensils, crockery or ingredients. Above is a large, wide cupboard with downlights in its base.
Opposite the galley is a Tec-Tower, which includes a 160-litre Dometic fridge/freezer with a gas oven above (but no grill).
The oven is quite high, so be prepared to use a step if you’re vertically challenged. This fridge has automatic energy selection and is an HPC ‘high-performance’ model to cater for hotter Mediterranean climes.
Finally, with a tall, thin, backlit mirror on the wall between the fridge and the washroom, I felt I was in a smart yacht on the Italian Riviera, not the reality of a motorhome on a wet afternoon in Lincolnshire.
Building on the experience so far, the washroom proved to be just as stylish as the rest of the Kreos, although the shower finish was a little out of sync with the rest of the design.
There is a curved wooden door, which you can open to cut off the washroom and bedroom from the rest of the vehicle. Privacy doesn’t stop there. Between the bedroom and washroom you slide a door across to create a partition – and a large zone in which to wash and do your ablutions in complete seclusion.
The washroom has a standard Thetford swivel loo, a generously sized basin and an extension on its left that’s useful for laying down your toothbrush, etc. Above the basin are two mirror-fronted cupboards for storing your lotions, perfumes and aftershave. Few motorhomes give this much surface area to checking your image and, of course, the downlights reflect off the mirror so you always look your best. In the ceiling, there is skylight and there’s an opening window to keep the room fresh.
The shower, opposite, has a tinted door that leads into a reasonably-sized cubicle (198cm high by 65cm wide by 57cm deep). I’m a big chap and I could shower in here easily, while four shelves cater for shampoos and shower gels and there’s a wooden duckboard with two drain holes below.
Yet, the eye-catching feature is the lighting. On one side of the shower, there’s a vertical white LED light. On the other side is a contrasting blue LED strip. The effect creates an atmosphere that resembles the transporter room on the USS Starship Enterprise.
When you’ve finished washing, you can hang your towel out to dry either on the rail attached to the ceiling or in the washroom opposite. My only reservation here is that the shower feels a little plasticky.
There are three steps up to the single beds, with the middle one opening to reveal a shoe cupboard. To the left and right of the steps are double-door wardrobes (63cm high by 65cm wide by 51cm deep). Each has an internal light and you can access either from above by folding back the mattress and lifting up the base.
The single beds are both the same size – 1.95m long by 70cm wide at the narrowest point – and comfortable, partly due to the excellent mattresses (Laika Wellness Silver Thermo). The other reason is the plastic springs underneath, while a useful detail is the ability to raise the head end of the beds for reading (without banging your head on the top lockers!), via a ratchet mechanism.
In the centre, by the steps, you can extend the bed base to create a double, if you prefer, but the mattress extension cushion and ladder are an optional extra (£270).
The faux leather headboard adds to the airy, classy feel in the bedroom, as do the long, narrow windows on each side. Beneath the windows are the Alde heating ducts and above the beds are reading lights, each with an integrated USB charging point.
For storage, there’s a wide locker at the head of the bed, plus two further lockers on each side. To cap it all, the padded ceiling has a unique (super-cool) downlight with blue and white LED lights which project light across the ceiling.
The 16in alloy wheels, distinctive horizontal rear road light strips and the silver-and-white Laika livery elevate this ’van from the ranks of mere high street fashion to more Milan catwalk.
There’s practicality, too. You’ll be able to store your bikes or a scooter in the large garage and secure them with the anchor points in the floor and ceiling. The rear garage is 2.13m across by 1.29m wide and 1.25m high and has a light strip across the back wall and a spotlight on the offside, along with 230V and 12V points. Three netted pockets are suitable for storing tools or spares. Maximum load weight for the garage is 250kg.
When it’s hot and sunny, you’ll maintain your cool in the shade of the standard-fit awning (a 4.5m Fiamma roll-out unit that’s another Dolce Vita Pack accessory). Or, if you’ve just stepped out of the sea (the Med of course), you can rinse yourself down at the external hot and cold shower point, too.
On the offside, there’s a gas locker for two 6kg cylinders and, for your muddy boots, there’s a small external locker (62cm wide by 26cm high by 37cm deep) which opens up at the back into the underfloor locker.
On the nearside, there is a second locker (1.60m wide by 26cm high by 36cm deep) in which you’d probably store walking poles, skis or other longer items, but it opens up at the rear into the big, double floor space (2.04m wide by 1.38m deep by 20cm high). This is a good location for storing outdoor furniture to use under the awning on the offside.
The heated double floor acts as an insulating chamber to keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer. The winterisation includes the inboard water and waste tanks, as well as the pipework. The waste water tap is on the offside below the garage. Its diameter looks big enough to enable you to empty the tank quickly.
My only concern with the underfloor storage space is its lack of anchor points to secure anything you store in there.