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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 Mazda BT-50 had a difficult birth as a Ford Ranger clone in 2011, largely because its elaborate styling didn't seem to know if it was meant to be a car or a truck. However, over the near-decade that has followed, Mazda has done a commendable job through styling tweaks in making the BT-50 look...Read more
Hardcore Aussie off-roaders love manual transmissions for their mechanical simplicity, ability to bump-start an engine with a flat battery and a more direct connection between man and machine when tackling the toughest terrain. In fact, according to VW Commercial Vehicles Australia, it was constant...Read more

Driving an overloaded vehicle is dangerous and illegal. Beyond the...Read more

The RAM 1500 stands apart from Australia’s mainstream pack of turbo-diesel dual cab utes, with its muscular Hemi V8 performance, superior 4.5-tonne tow rating and imposing presence. In fact, RAM Trucks Australia proudly claims that its big, brash American pick-up “eats utes for breakfast.” After a...Read more
The growing popularity of mid-sized commercial vans equipped with seating for five or six, generically known as crew vans, has seen an increasing number of rivals from mainstream manufacturers enter the market with a second row of seats. One of the more recent competitors is the Ford Transit Custom...Read more

If you’re in the market for a ute, what does $20K buy you these days?...Read more

There’s an old saying that if you want to become really good at something, then just keep doing it. That certainly applies to Ford and its iconic Transit van, which following its launch in 1965 has evolved through four generations, an expanded choice of variants and total production of around 10...Read more
Mark Oastler is spending three months with the Isuzu MU-X LS-T to see how it suits his family's needs. Read More: Isuzu MU-X 2020 review: LS-TRead more

You may have seen utes, trucks and buses with brightly-coloured caps or...Read more

The 4x4 dual-cab ute is the most popular and versatile light commercial vehicle in the Australian automotive market, due to its proven ability to serve as both a work truck and/or family hack during the week and escape machine on the weekend. However, not everyone needs high-riding off-road ability...Read more
The Renault Kangoo is the closest competitor to Volkswagen’s top-selling Caddy in Australia’s small van segment (under-2.5 tonne GVM). In 2020 the enduringly popular German light commercial holds a commanding 72 per cent share of this market, compared to the Kangoo’s 21 per cent. However, such a...Read more
Toyota’s current sixth-generation HiAce is an impressive all-rounder, offering a choice of wheelbases, body styles and engine/transmission combinations. These include four-cylinder turbo-diesel and V6 petrol engines with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. We've previously...Read more
Toyota’s 70 Series Land Cruiser is unique in the Australian 4x4 market. With Mercedes-Benz’s decision to cease local sales of its $120K G-Professional in 2019, the LC79 is now the only single-cab cab-chassis off-roader available with the unmatched strength, durability and off-road performance of ‘...Read more
Ford is a making a habit of providing answers to questions that have not been asked. First there was the Baja-inspired Ranger Raptor, a unique version of Australia’s favourite Ford ute with pumped-out guards, a tougher frame and sublime long-travel suspension inspired by ‘pre-runner’ pick-ups used...Read more
Aussie drivers love their 4x4 dual cab utes and it seems they can’t get enough of the premium models. Demand for these top-shelf offerings, with pricing above $60,000, has been running hot over the past two to three years with no signs of cooling any time soon. Market leader Toyota’s flagship is...Read more
As the popularity of 4x4 dual cab utes continues to grow, so too does demand for premium models. And it’s not just family/recreational buyers driving this demand. Top-shelf utes are increasingly common on construction sites, where competition amongst tradies to win job tenders is often matched by a...Read more

Dual cab utes are very popular and a big part of their buyer appeal is...Read more

The current generation iLoad was launched in 2008. With only minor upgrades during its first decade on sale, it was recently given its first facelift with a new grille design plus new comfort and convenience features. These updates don't change the fact that the iLoad is now stretching beyond the...Read more
The LD or Light Duty (3501-8000kg GVM) segment of Australia’s heavy commercial vehicle market is highly competitive with numerous brands fighting for market share. It’s a tough battleground, requiring manufacturers to offer a large number of variants to appeal to buyers with diverse job...Read more

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