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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.

Toyota's HiLux is feeling the heat from Ford's (PXII) Ranger in Australia's hotly contested 4x4 ute market. Recent national sales figures show the Ranger is outselling the former undisputed champion of this segment and closing the gap on the Toyota's long-standing dominance of the 4x2 ute segment,...Read more
Since its 2010 launch the Amarok has set design, engineering, build quality and performance benchmarks, winning worldwide praise. But local sales have consistently been at the tail end of the top 10. The fully galvanised steel body sits on a separate ladder-frame chassis.Read more
Hyundai’s contender in the under-$60,000 people mover segment boasts a heritage spanning a full decade. During that time it has built a loyal customer base that appreciates its spacious and airy eight-seater cabin, ease of driving, proven durability and five-year warranty. Even so, the iMax and...Read more

Everyone loves to see a long-standing, widely accepted myth well and...Read more

When Nissan launched its all-new NP300 Navara range in 2015, it certainly raised eyebrows with its bold decision to equip all of its dual cabs except cab chassis with coil-spring rear suspension. This was a notable departure from the long accepted wisdom of leaf springs, which since the horse-and-...Read more
Launched in 2010, the Amarok has earned wide industry acclaim yet has failed to put a dent in the sales dominance of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger in the hotly contested 4x4 dual cab ute category. Perhaps realising the twin-turbo 2.0 litre four cylinder diesel it was launched with was considered...Read more
Anyone shopping for a SWB one-tonne van with turbo-diesel and manual transmission will know there’s plenty of competition in this segment (2.5-3.5 tonne GVM) with numerous well-known brands all in the high $30,000 price bracket. So when a new contender arrives that undercuts well-established rivals...Read more
The RAM 2500 from RAM Trucks Australia, which is rated to tow nearly 7.0 tonnes, is designed primarily as a heavy duty towing platform with a huge Cummins turbo-diesel engine, long wheelbase, high kerb weight, exhaust brake and lots of room inside a luxurious cabin. These 'Australianised' RAM...Read more
Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the new Hyundai iLoad diesel auto with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. Toyota's venerable HiAce has been the undisputed leader in the light commercial van market for many years now (even though it's not a genuine one-tonner), but its supremacy in this high...Read more

Owners of Ford’s Everest 4WD concerned about the legality of...Read more

Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the new Toyota HiAce LWB Crew Van with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. The Toyota HiAce was launched in 1967 and has been the benchmark for light commercial vans in Australia for several decades with its combination of good load space, simple robust...Read more
Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the new Mercedes Benz G-Professional Cab Chassis with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at its Australian launch in Melbourne. For the brave men and women of our defence forces there can be no compromise in the vehicles chosen to perform in life-threatening...Read more
Based on our experience, the best towing vehicle is either a full-size 4x4...Read more
We've delved deep beneath the surface to see if the first new HiLux in a decade is worthy of hero worship.Read more
Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the 2016 Mazda BT-50 XTR dual-cab ute with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. Rival manufacturers commit to joint creation of new models to share development costs and(hopefully) sales volumes. However, that clearly has not been the case for the now fractured...Read more
Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the 2016 Ford Transit Custom 290S SWB Van with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. Strong competition in today's LCV market is not restricted to utes. Commercial vans are also attracting the attention of major manufacturers in a segment which continues to push...Read more
Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the 2016 VFII Holden SS V Ute with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. The release of the AU Falcon ute in 1999 heralded a fundamental shift in a long standing rivalry between Ford and Holden, as it broke nearly four decades of Aussie ute tradition by separating...Read more

October 7, 2016 marks the end of Australian-designed and built Fords...Read more

Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the 2016 Renault Trafic short wheelbase twin turbo van, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict. The greatest advantage of a commercial van over a ute or cab-chassis is that your load is carried securely inside a cargo bay protected from weather and theft. It...Read more