Laika’s Ecovip 9 is one of an all-new range of four family-friendly layouts, offering upper-mid-range specification, stylistic flair and user-friendly design.

It’s a spacious six-berth with a large rear garage space, ideal for families with active teenagers as well as those who favour long-term touring with lots of equipment.

The Ecovip range has been completely redesigned around the new Ducato base vehicle. Despite four on-road seats and a garage, the optional four-tonne MTPLM should allow a generous payload. The option of 2.3- or 3.0-litre engines allows for ample power, coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox, with motorhome-specific gear ratios. Add to that the special, ‘camping car’ chassis – lower and with a wider rear track– this large coachbuilt should drive well.

The main garage door measures 1.15 x 1.72m, with a smaller second door on the nearside, a ramp with dedicated storage, four fixing points, blown-air heating and access from the living area. There’s also an innovative new locker door (behind the front, nearside axle) which lifts up and locks into place, so it won’t get blown off its mounting in the wind.

The smallish lounge comprises a half dinette, a 1.28m-long sofa and cab swivel seats which turn freely, with no restriction from the handbrake, although in-fill cushions are required. Another excellent Laika innovation for 2007 is the single-leg table which clips securely to the wall, so it’s out of the way on the road or when a better lounge space is needed. It also has a fold-out extra leaf so four can dine in comfort. A flatscreen TV sits on a slide-out mounting in an overhead locker behind the driver’s seat.

The kitchen has a three-in-line Cramer hob, which looks practical but doesn’t appear to offer any more workspace than more common, triangular, burner configurations: there is roughly 49 x 34cm of worktop between hob and sink. More innovation comes in the shape of swing-out wire storage trays with lots of room for pots, pans and cans. There’s no oven, though we expect UK importers will fit one as standard.

The washroom sacrifices loo space for a large, separate shower area (roughly 60 x 65cm) with a high quality tray, with Laika’s trademark domestic-bore solid waste pipes providing good drainage. You also get a handy slide-out towel rail.

Come bedtime the overcab and over-garage beds both have comfy latex mattresses, headboards and ducted heating. Laika has opted for maximum bed space but the curvaceous lines of the Luton fit well. The overcab has a massive 74cm headroom at its peak, with barely any rake-off. The dinette bed allows separate berths for teenagers, though it’s not ideal for longer trips.

Thanks to ergonomic design details and a high-quality finish, the Laika offers driveability, multi-berth versatility and a decent payload on the new Ducato. It should compete against the likes of Auto-Trail’s Cheyenne and Swift’s Kon-Tiki/Bessacarr E700.