Italian luxury brand Laika is part of the giant German Hymer Group, and is currently represented in the UK by sole importer Southdowns Motorhome Centre, near Portsmouth in Hampshire.


What’s changed
Laika has invested heavily in design and development over the last two years and its 2012-season line-up has 17 low-profile models with drop-down beds and new layouts.


The biggest news, though, is the launch of the new Kreos; it’s now Laika’s flagship A-class range, albeit temporarily, because the new nine-model Rexosline A-class range will launch in early 2012.

What you need to know
First, the Kreos A-class. The line-up for 2012 features eight models, ranging in length from 6.99 to 7.6 metres. All eight will be offered on both Fiat AL-KO and Iveco chassis, the latter allowing for higher payloads and twin rear-wheel drive.


You expect beautiful design from Laika, but in this case it’s not just skin deep. The Kreos features a host of new goodies and is fully winterised, with a new double floor filled with 63mm of Styrofoam. Doors are insulated and water pipes are large to avoid freezing. Heated water tanks live in the insulated garages, too.


The new models have been thoroughly tested in a climate chamber to minus 12°C, driven on a test track and high in the snowy Italian mountains.


In the habitation area, ceilings are now clad in Laika’s soft new Iso-Deluxe marine-style anti-stain insulating material. Home comforts are better, with Truma C6 heating in the habitation, plus there’s under-seat cab heating.


The domestic-style cooker, Corian worktops and extractor fans will be a hit. And there has been extra storage space added between the double floors in the Ecovip, Kreos coachbuilts and Kreos 5000 low-profile models.


When you return to the ’van at night, press the remote three times and the lights go on and the step comes out. At bedtime, you just press the inner door handle to lock it.


Laika’s classy new 3-D brushed artwork logo is in gold or silver-platinum.


Laika will celebrate Ecovip’s 20th anniversary next year with a yacht-inspired makeover. For now, though, there are four Ecovip models, the five-berths Classic 1 and 2, the six-berth Ecovip 6 and a four-berth Ecovip 9.


At Laika’s entry level, the X-series is fully customisable and offers two five-berth coachbuilt and ten low-profile ’vans. A Super Living option provides seating for seven people. There’s a ‘Grand Chef’ version of the kitchen and the three-berth low-profile models have drop-down single overcab beds.


Must-see new ’van: Kreos 7009 A-class
Kreos 7009 is sheer luxury at 7.49m long, with four homologated seats, including one extra-large seat in the lounge area. One of the rear twin beds is 2m long and there are doors separating bedroom, large washroom with shower cabin and dressing area, and the lounge.