Laika, despite its Russian name and its US ownership via the German Erwin Hymer Group, is an Italian firm. It has bucked the trend this season by expanding the Ecovip range to include the Laika Ecovip L4012 Da Vinci Edition.
In the UK, it has been offering special ‘Da Vinci’ editions, with a host of extras, including a solar panel, Truma 6E heating, an external shower, and Comfort and Multimedia Packs.
All those extras do mean the vehicle also comes with a heavier, 4250kg, Fiat Ducato chassis, so these ‘vans are only for those with the appropriate licence.
We went to check out the island-bed L4012 at Emm-Bee Motorhomes in Bury, one of four dealerships currently specialising in Laika in the UK.
The external shape and standard Ducato cab are as you’d expect, but you notice the Italian styling as soon as you walk in through the habitation door. There are two travel seats in the L-shaped settee, but you would never guess – the seat belt is tucked away.
You might think the green fabric would make everything feel dark and cramped (other colours are available), but enough light comes through the sunroof, even with the drop-down bed. There is also a plethora of LEDs, push-on lights below the lockers, and ambient light for cosy evenings.
The Italian styling continues into the kitchen – this motorhome is unusual in including two sinks. They use up a fair bit of workspace, but do have sturdy covers, on which you could work.
The three-burner hob is gas only and there’s a combined oven and grill on this model, but you get an extractor fan, a splashback to protect surfaces by the hob, plenty of lighting and a mains socket under the overhead locker.
Across the way is a two-way opening Dometic fridge with a pan drawer below and a locker above that might house a microwave – there isn’t one as standard.
The L 4012 differs from its sibling, the L 4012 DS, by virtue of which side the shower cubicle is on. Here, it is on the UK nearside, so the toilet is on the offside and its access hatch is under the fitted roll-out awning. That’s a minor’s point, perhaps, but there are a few compromises in this washroom.
The shower, for example, includes plenty of shelves and two drainage holes, but is a little cramped. The main washroom is better, with a raised toilet and a small basin, a mirror, a toothbrush mug a dn a soap dispenser.
There is lots of attention to detail, too, with the Laika symbol making a clever robe hook. But there is a clear window by the toilet, so you would probably have to keep the blind drawn. And there is no rooflight here.
At 1.9 x 11.5m, the island bed is a good size and can be rolled back as a day bed. You also get bendable spotlights in the cubbyholes here, but no USBs; however, there are USBs accessible from the large, comfortable drop-down bed. The latter is operated by a toggle switch.
As for storage: a boot locker that is accessible from outside and includes a spotlight can be found under the offside seat in the lounge. But none of the other settees has storage available. The overhead lockers are shallow, but they extend into the cab and can be firmly shut. There are also three cubbyholes in the double floor, one for the battery.
The wardrobes either side of the island bed are a bit narrow, but you get a drawer and a shelved cupboard under the bed, a large cubbyhole on the floor in front, and two overhead lockers.
Main kitchen storage includes a small pan locker under the oven, a column of three drawers and a large locker partly obscured by the extractor fan. In the washroom there is a large cupboard under the handbasin.
The garage is large and with the bed in ‘high’ position, has plenty of room for bikes and holds to harness them.
PRACTICAL MOTORHOME SAYS…
Beautiful Italian styling and attention to detail make this motorhome look very impressive, and it’s comfortable to sit and sleep in, too. The kitchen is also well equipped. But the washroom is not the most ergonomic we have seen, certainly not at this price point.
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The garage is large and with the bed in 'high' position, has plenty of room for bikes and holds to harness them