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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 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
Accepted wisdom in dual cab utes is that you need leaf-spring rear suspension to be taken seriously as a heavy load-hauler. The Nissan Navara and its Mercedes-Benz X Class derivative prove this age-old theory is correct, with their coil-spring rears displaying shortcomings under maximum payloads...Read more
The venerable HiAce is the firmly entrenched sales leader in Australia’s mid-sized (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) commercial van market. That’s a remarkable achievement given the last new model was launched in 2004. So, given that 15 years have passed since then, the long wait for its replacement this year...Read more
The mid-size (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) commercial van segment is one of the most competitive in Australia’s new vehicle market. In 2019, a new contender has joined the battle in the form of Peugeot’s Expert van. This is the second attempt by the famous French marque to gain traction in the local LCV...Read more
There's no denying the Australian 4x4 ute market is one of the most diverse and competitive in the world right now, with 16 different models representing 13 different brands. The 4x2 'workhorse' segment also plays host to some vigorous competition. There are currently 11 different models...Read more