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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 Ford Ranger, in its work-focused 4x2 XL model grade, offers a choice of body, suspension and transmissions to suit different job requirements. These include Hi-Rider models, which offer the same raised suspension height as 4x4 variants along with a locking differential. This results in extra...Read more
The Ford Ranger was Australia’s top-selling 4x4 in 2017. In the process it knocked off its arch rival for the first time, the Toyota Hilux, even though Toyota shifted more Hiluxes overall thanks to its long established strength in 4x2 sales, mainly to commercial fleets. Even so, the Ranger’s...Read more
The Ford Ranger XL Plus has unique features designed to meet the specific requirements of mining companies, government departments and other organisations needing more functionality from their vehicle fleets in the field. The XL Plus could also appeal to some private buyers. On top of the vinyl...Read more
The XLT has always been a popular pick for Ranger buyers as it offers a...Read more
The XLS is designed to bridge the gap between 4x4 XL and XLT models on price and features, offering a more appealing package for both fleet and private buyers without compromising the XL’s no-nonsense work-focused persona. Based on the XL dual cab ute , it shares all of its features including Ford’...Read more
The XL is the entry point for the 2018 Ford Ranger range. With its 16-inch steel wheels it’s the back-to-basics workhorse aimed more at those with muddy boots than sharp suits. The no-frills cabin has a tough vinyl hose-out floor but is a comfortable mobile office that includes useful features like...Read more
The Caddy is the undisputed king of the compact (that's under 2.5-tonne GVM) van class in Australia. The popular Volkswagen soaks up about 60 per cent of all sales in this small but important segment, meaning two out of every three compact vans sold are wearing a Caddy badge. At least part of that...Read more
Australia's increasingly competitive 4x4 dual cab ute market has prompted some manufacturers to offer additional models that fill gaps between entry-level, mid-range or top-shelf grades. These ‘in-betweeners' are usually created in response to feedback from customers for whom the traditional three-...Read more
When Holden launched the RG Colorado in 2012, it was obvious General Motors had seriously underestimated the benchmark in Australia’s booming 4x4 ute market. Holden was left with no choice but to pull the thing apart, identify all the problem areas (and there were plenty), engineer solutions to...Read more
Mid-sized commercial vans in the popular 2.5-3.5 tonne GVM segment used to be little more than containers-on-wheels in which performance, safety and driver comfort were not considered high priorities. However, numerous manufacturers now offer vans that can not only haul competitive payloads but...Read more
The metamorphosis of the humble 4x4 dual cab ute from a bare-boned utilitarian workhorse to a work-and-play family fun machine has been remarkable. One of the driving forces behind the booming popularity of dual cab utes in this dual-purpose role has been Ford's premium-grade Ranger Wildtrak ,...Read more
The rise and rise of 4x4 dual cab ute ownership proves these high-riding hay haulers have created a lucrative sweet spot in the Australian car market. The Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux are not only runaway leaders of their segment, they recently became the industry’s two top-selling models for the...Read more
While the popularity of diesel-powered dual-cab utes continues to grow and grow, the same can’t be said for those equipped with petrol engines, with less torque and higher fuel consumption blamed for their drooping sales. Want proof? Even top-selling Toyota recently took the axe to the the 4.0-...Read more
Great Wall has been China’s best-selling ute brand for nearly two decades...Read more
The small (under 2.5 tonne GVM) commercial van market in Australia is characterised by fewer sales and competitors than the medium (2.5-3.5-tonne GVM) van segment. The requirements of small vans tend to be more specialised, typically involving light loads, stop-start city traffic and confined pick-...Read more
Although Ford's Transit is Europe's most popular commercial van it has struggled to compete with the likes of Toyota's top-selling HiAce and Hyundai's iLoad in Australia's mid-sized (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) van segment, largely due to the lack of an automatic transmission. In June 2017 Ford Australia's...Read more
Toyota has a lot riding on the enduring success of its latest NG-series HiLux in an increasingly competitive Australian and global ute market that forced it to freeze its initial design plans and come up with something better. Much better in fact, because this is the best one yet and it relied...Read more
There's an emerging trend within the popular 2.5 to 3.5-tonne medium-sized van segment that's offering a practical alternative to the large SUV or dual cab ute as a work-and-play vehicle – the Crew van. The Hyundai iLoad , Mercedes Vito , Toyota HiAce and VW Transporter all offer the option of a...Read more
Not all commercial enterprises require medium-sized commercial vans like the Toyota HiAce or Hyundai iLoad with 2.5-3.5 tonne GVM capacity. That's why there's a healthy market for under-2.5 tonne GVM versions tailored to suit small to medium-sized businesses and fleets. The Renault Kangoo has...Read more