It has a smart, coachbuilt body, but find out if the rest of the Laika H720 impresses in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

The coachbuilt body that completely envelopes all trace of the base vehicle gives the Laika a bespoke feel. The sense of styling remains high, despite having an overcab double bed in every one. You’d feel justifiably proud pulling into a campsite in this ’van.
However, we found the electric side step fouled the bodywork and needed a helping hand when being folded out, or back in.
When it comes to design, the Italians are noted for their sense of flair, but we feel they may have overdone it in the Laika. Our main gripe concerns the curved flow of the corridor, which runs through the rear cab. It may look stylish on a designer’s drawing, but we found it awkward when walking through the cabin.
As you enter the Laika, the sink juts out and can make access tricky, especially if you’re laden down with a heavy case or bags of shopping. This added to the narrow swooping corridor really hinders progress in the Italian ’van. Admittedly it looks good, though, with the soft, light coloured wood and materials.
The living area door is on the driver’s side. This reveals the ’van’s Continental origins, even if the steering wheel is on the right-hand side, UK-style.

On the road

The Fiat Ducato, with a 2.8-litre JTD turbo-diesel engine, forms the Laika’s base vehicle. It has a five-speed manual gearbox, with gear sticks high up on the dashboards. This makes it easy to reach, although it takes care to avoid first gear when aiming for third – a common Ducato foible.
The driving position is comfortable, but there’s not enough adjustment in the steering wheel for all drivers. At least forward and side vision is excellent, thanks to the vast windscreen and large side windows.
The handbrake is on the right of the driver’s seat, which makes it easier to walk through from the cab to the living quarters than in a van with a central floor-mounted gearstick. However, the aisle between the front seats is not as wide as the size of the coachbuilt body might suggest.
Rather handily, the dashboard has a 12V socket for charging mobile phones, as well as a storage cubbyhole under the central console and easy-to-read instruments. There’s also the usual clipboard holder in the centre of the dashboard for aiding map reading.

Lounging & dining

The Laika offers seating for four people at the dining table and the fold-up extension on the table ensures there’s enough space to eat without banging elbows. Its front cabin seats also swivel round to meet the dining table, but there isn’t enough room at the table to dine from these seats.
One aspect of the Laika’s lounge seats that we didn’t like was the curved base of the left-hand bench. It curves towards the rear, which ensures an awkward seating angle for whoever sits there.

Kitchen

Worksurface is disappointingly tiny, so you’ll have to use the dining table as a preparation area.
However, you get a roomy three-ring hobs with plenty of space for pots and pans, and the sink is deep.
To help keep the kitchen clean, there’s a hob cover that folds up to act as a splash guard. Aflame guard attached to the wall ensures that hissing and spitting pots cannot stain the wood finish.
Two roller-fronted shelves and one smaller shelf above the hob provide kitchen storage, and a reasonable-sized cupboard under the sink is the best place to store food. There’s also a socket above the worktop, which is ideally placed to power a kettle.

Sleeping

The Laika has a small stepladder that cantilevers down when used to access the transverse fixed bed. When storing the ladder, though, it flips back up and disappears into the rear garage. It’s a great solution for unhindered entry to the rear bed, and tidily stored.
The drop-down overcab beds requires the front cab seats to be tilted forward, which allows the bed to extend fully into position. Once in place, the bed is more than up to the job of accommodating children or adults.
The Laika has a neat solution for storing the overcab ladder as it simply slides out of, and back into, a dedicated slot in the base moulding.
Finally, the Laika’s dinette bed is easy enough to assemble. However, the rear edge has a step that reduces space at the feet of whoever sleeps to the rearward side.

Washroom

The Laika uses a concertina’d shower door, which is made from frosted plastic. The concertina’d door reaches up to three quarters of the height of the spacious shower cabinet, but does not feel as sturdy as the full-length doors used in some other’vans. Inside the shower cubicle, there are a couple of shelves to keep shampoo bottles on. Three shelves above the good-sized sink and a cupboard above the washroom window supply ample storage. There are other nice touches, too, such as a towel rail and toilet roll holder.
The toilet is fixed, which means the sink can be a little obstructive when using the loo.

Storage

The rear garage is big enough to accommodate a scooter, or pair of bicycles, with ease.
Inside, the Laika provides lots of storage for clothes thanks to slide out drawers under the rear bed and a decent wardrobe. Storage in the lounge and dining area is generous, too.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats2
MTPLM3850kg
Payload658kg
Length7.2m23′7″
Width2.32m7′7″
Height2.9m9′6″
Waste water108L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater

Verdict

The Laika H720 is a worthy motorhome for your money, but many rivals are longer and therefore more spacious.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Sleeps occupants comfortably

Cons

  • Build isn't that great in places
  • The curved corridor is not that easy to live with
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