There can’t be anything on the utility vehicle market quite as tough and sturdily made as the Ausa. It looks like a military-spec vehicle and it certainly feels like one too. Everything is made of heavy gauge metal or cast aluminium and designed to cope with unkind usage. All plastics are equally solid and there are no flappy papnels in sight.
There’s a good-sized 140cm x 110cm load area too, made of thick steel, plus plenty of chequerplate to reinforce the impression of solidity.
No electric drive here, though we learnt on the day of the test that Ausa had introduced an electrically powered version of the 50D. Instead, we were on more conventional ground, with a twin-cylinder Lombardini diesel engine pushing out 28hp.The transmission is the usual CVT set-up which gets you around without fuss or complication.
The ease with which you can start up the Ausa reminds you how complicated some of the electric vehicles are to get going. There’s no fuss here.
Next to the three electric vehicles we were testing, however, the Ausa seemed pretty noisy. That was partly because its big semi-enclosed cab and windscreen served to amplify the noise of the engine.
But there was also no getting away from the fact that electric vehicles are gloriously quiet compared to their diesel-engined cousins. And though the Ausa feels like a truly indestructible piece of equipment, you do feel like you’re driving a bit of a truck.One thing we didn’t like was the knob that engaged 2wd and 4wd. Despite lots of poring over the instructions, it was hard to get it to shift from one to the other very happily.
Motor: Lombardini 2cyl 26hp
Fuel capacity: 30 litres
Top speed: 43mph