This Hobby looks similar to Hymer’s innovative Van 522. Its shape and floorplan almost matches the Hymer’s and it even shares part of the name.

But Hobby has refined its rival’s functional floorplan and beautified the interior.

There is a seat where Hymer has a wardrobe (facing the half dinette) so the small lounge could seat five, dine three and sleep one. Though the Van is the longest of our three ‘First Look’ ‘vans this month, by 8cm, it’s still an achievement to provide a fixed bed, a small garage, and a sociable lounge area which is a practical dining space. The wardrobe (such as it is) is under the bed, in the garage space, and has adequate room to hang a jacket.

The model reviewed here has the optional silver paint finish which adds £2300 to the list price. The UK specification includes an upgraded engine, awning, cab air-conditioning and other practical features. Our first impression was of the Van’s visual appeal, but it’s likely to drive superbly, with enough power to keep up with most cars. Dashboard-mounted cruise control is standard, and with front-wheel drive and Ford’s new dashboard-mounted gearstick, this should prove very car-like to drive.

There’s a generous payload and the storage space to take advantage of it. Most owners are likely to fit a bike rack, as the garage is not enormous, but this shouldn’t greatly affect handling as there’s not a huge rear overhang – but you will need to monitor your rear axle weight.

Regardless of such practical matters, the Van’s smooth body shape looks stunning, creating the illusion of a purpose-built vehicle and will make parking and urban driving noticeably easier. Likewise the interior, which has the feel of a far more expensive motorhome, thanks in part to a neat drinks cabinet by the door, stylish light fittings and a cab sunroof.

The washroom combines a large, circular shower space with the toilet so there is also room for a large handbasin. However, this means that the room must be wiped down after showering if it is to be used soon after, but with two drain plugs, it should not take too long to dry in warm weather.

The kitchen, like the washroom, is very compact, but there’s still room for an oven/grill, some tall overhead cupboards and a reasonably sized fridge/freezer.

A ladder leads up to the fixed bed which has as much space as that in an average overcab (the overhead lockers are along the rear wall). The foam mattress should ensure a good night’s sleep, too.

Hobby’s Van is the most expensive of the 2007 models to draw inspiration from Hymer’s Van 522, but it’s the pick of our three ‘First Looks’ this month. Class-leading comfort, coupled with superb styling, makes this one of 2007’s must-have ‘vans.