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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.

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
At the tradesmen’s entrance to Australia’s booming light commercial vehicle market, you’ll find utes that are primarily designed for work. With minimal standard equipment to keep a lid on costs, they are characterised by steel wheels, vinyl floors, hardy interiors and fridge white paint. Cab-...Read more
Iveco has recently refreshed its popular Daily E6 range of van and cab-chassis commercials, heralding numerous upgrades in styling, driver comfort, steering, active safety and ownership costs. We recently spent a week aboard one of the Italian manufacturer’s latest van offerings, which competes in...Read more
The local Chevrolet Silverado range offered by GM Specialty Vehicles is contributing to the steady rise in popularity of full-size US pick-ups in Australia. The 2023 Light Duty 1500 range consists of the luxurious and richly-chromed LTZ plus the new premium-priced ZR2 which serves as GMSV’s...Read more
The current generation Mahindra PikUp has been with us since 2007, which is a long time given major players in this market tend to introduce a new generation every decade, or close to it. However, with Mahindra reportedly developing an all-new ute , based on the underpinnings of its latest Scorpio...Read more
Ford recently entered its second-generation Ranger Raptor in some of the world’s toughest off-road racing events including the famous Baja 1000. That said a lot about its confidence in the product, given it competed in a class for vehicles in predominantly showroom specification. The fact that it...Read more
Ford has ventured into the pioneering world of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for commercial use with the launch of its E-Transit, which will compete for buyers in the Light Duty (3501-8000kg) segment of Australia’s Heavy Commercial market. According to the company’s research, the new electrified...Read more
The Mercedes-Benz Vito van competes with 10 rivals in Australia’s mid-size (2.5-3.5-tonne GVM) commercial van market. Compared to Toyota’s dominant HiAce , which commands around 35 per cent of sales in this segment, the significantly more expensive Vito’s 4.0 per cent market share pales by...Read more
During our third and final month with the Ranger XLS we wanted to test its towing performance. Given that many dual cab ute owners want their vehicles to perform the dual roles of weekday worker and weekend escape machine , the ability to efficiently and safely tow is important. That could require...Read more
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter competes for market share with more than a dozen rivals in the highly competitive Light Duty (3501-8000kg GVM) division of Australia's Heavy Commercial segment. Launched in 1995, the Sprinter is approaching three decades of service and during that time has evolved through...Read more
The eighth-generation HiLux, launched locally in 2015, reigns as not only Australia’s top-selling ute but also the nation’s top-selling motor vehicle for the past seven years. Although now in its eighth year in local showrooms, Toyota has been unrelenting in keeping its maturing but still capable...Read more
A worksite on wheels When Ford launched the latest ‘Next Gen’ Ranger it claimed some new design features, particularly in the load tub , were the direct result of feedback from existing owners to improve ease-of-use and versatility for tradies and adventurers alike. These start with the side-steps...Read more
Australia’s small van class (under-2.5 tonne GVM) is a three-way fight between the Peugeot Partner, Renault Kangoo and Volkswagen Caddy Cargo. All are well designed for light delivery work but in 2023 Germany’s sole contender enjoys a dominant lead over its French rivals. Recent industry sales...Read more
RAM Trucks Australia claims the RAM 1500 TRX is the quickest, fastest (those are drag racing terms) and most powerful pick-up truck in the world. Built to rule the road and dominate the desert. The ultimate on-road/off-road big boy’s toy. With launch control and more than 700 supercharged V8 horses...Read more