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Articles by Mark Oastler

Mark Oastler

Mark Oastler

Contributing Journalist

Mark Oastler has been a prominent motoring journalist in print and electronic media for more than three decades.

Now based in Melbourne, his diverse roles have included more than a decade of motor sport TV commentary for both the Seven and Ten networks, editor of Street Machine magazine, founding editor of Australian Muscle Car magazine and freelance contributor to Wheels, Motor, Auto Action, Unique Cars, V8X, AMC, Suncorp and many more.

In addition to his regular LCV reviews and advice pieces for CarsGuide, he is also a feature writer and online TV host for the popular Shannons Club website.

The Mitsubishi Triton has been a solid seller in Australia since the first generation L200 was launched in the late 1970s. The Triton has since evolved through five generations and achieved global sales of 5.6 million units. Although sold in 150 countries, Australia remains one of its most...Read more
The rough stuff The GWM Ute Cannon XSR is aimed at buyers wanting a more hardcore off-road specification than other models in the range, as can be seen by the generous terrain-taming standard equipment that’s unique to this model. That includes sturdy steel bumpers front and rear, extra underbody...Read more
The Mitsubishi Outlander was launched more than two decades ago and through four generations has proven to be a solid performer in Australia’s highly competitive SUV market. The latest generation arrived in 2021, which includes petrol-only and petrol plug-in hybrid models, competes in the ‘ Medium...Read more
The XSR may not be a class-leader in payloads or tow ratings, yet it still offers a set of numbers that for many owners (including hard-working tradies, of course) are more than adequate for many load-carrying and towing tasks. With its 2220kg kerb weight, the off-road-armoured XSR is not...Read more
Aussie buyers could be excused for being wary of SsangYong, given the marque’s chequered history involving numerous ownership changes, crippling debts and in 2021 its rescue from the jaws of receivership by Korean industrial conglomerate KG Group. However, the KG Group’s corporate rehabilitation of...Read more
The iconic 70 Series LandCruiser was introduced in 1985 and, during almost four decades of continuous production, has been the vehicle of choice for the farming, mining and agricultural sectors as well as a favourite of off-road enthusiasts. During that long evolution, Toyota has been careful not...Read more
Value for money Australia’s 4x4 dual cab ute market is arguably the most diverse and competitive in the world, with a dozen rivals competing for buyers in the up-to- 3.5-tonne towing division, plus another three (soon to be four) in the full-size US pick-up class with its 4.5-tonne tow ratings. As...Read more
A foreign visitor could be excused for thinking Australia was on its way to becoming the 51st state of the USA, judging by our national carpark. Not only have Aussies adopted one-tonne dual-cab utes like the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux in ever-increasing numbers, but full-size American pick-ups,...Read more
Numerous commercial van manufacturers are adding battery-electric vehicle (BEV) variants to their model line-ups. Anecdotal evidence suggests these vehicles are best suited to city and suburban fleet duties, in which they cover short-loop daily driving distances that are comfortably within a...Read more
The BMW X5 is a leading contender in the ‘Over $70K Large SUV’ division of Australia’s new car market, which is a hotly-contested segment boasting 15 marques and 25 models. The X5 has hit an enduring sweet spot with Aussie buyers in terms of size, performance and price. BMW prefers to call it a...Read more
The 4x2 segment of Australia’s light commercial vehicle market is where you’ll find utes primarily designed for hard yakka. These base-model workhorses come in a variety of body types including single cab, extra cab, dual cab, ute or cab chassis. Buyers are typically government and commercial...Read more
If Oscar Wilde was correct in claiming that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Ford should be blushing. Its audacious decision to create the Ranger Raptor, an extreme performance version of the local hero, with unique body, chassis, suspension and engine enhancements inspired by...Read more
Towing with the D-Max SX 1.9 4x2 Given its robust performance during last month's GVM test, with more than one tonne of payload, we were keen to see if our D-Max was equally proficient with a trailer in tow during our third and final month of ownership. Towing is an essential requirement for any...Read more
Heavy duty 4x4 off-road wagons with rugged body-on-frame construction are enduringly popular in Australia, as they provide a practical and comfortable solution for many families needing weekday SUV practicality and weekend off-road/towing capability. However, the reality is that many of these...Read more
The Nissan Pathfinder has evolved through five generations since its launch in the mid-1980s. It commenced as a body-on-frame high-riding off-roader like the Navara ute from which it was derived, but today it’s a unitary-bodied, lower-riding crossover with seating for eight. Even so, the fifth-gen...Read more
Ford has identified a gap in its local line-up it needed to fill, by offering a more off-road-focused version of the Ranger Wildtrak called the Wildtrak X. This model name was used in the original T6 Ranger generation so it's been dusted off for a second run. The X is designed for customers who...Read more
Our 4x2 D-Max dual cab-chassis, with 1.9-litre turbo-diesel, has a payload rating that’s 80kg higher than its 3.0-litre equivalent. That may seem illogical, given that the 3.0-litre engine has 30kW more power and 100Nm more torque. However, it all comes down to tare weights, or what these vehicles...Read more
In 2023 Peugeot commands around 50 per cent of sales in Australia’s small (under 2.5-tonne GVM) commercial van segment with its Partner range, which offers a choice of wheelbase lengths and model grades. The French marque has recently introduced its first fully electric variant to the Australian...Read more
For many tradies a one tonne cab-chassis ute will do the job. However, if you need much greater load space and much higher GVM and GCM ratings, the obvious solution is to upgrade to a cab-chassis that competes in the Light Duty (3501-8000kg GVM) segment of the Heavy Commercial vehicle market. One...Read more