UK Drive: The Mazda6 Kuro Edition brings extra style to this sleek saloon

What is it?

All Mazda6 Kuro Edition models come painted in Polymetal Grey
All Mazda6 Kuro Edition models come painted in Polymetal Grey

All Kuro Edition models come painted in Polymetal GreThere was a time not so long ago when non-premium saloons were hugely popular, with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and even Mazda’s 6 all flying out of showroom doors. But these days, this bodystyle isn’t one favoured with buyers – you only have to observe Ford’s decision to axe the Mondeo next year to realise this.

Many of these punters have since flocked to the seemingly unstoppable SUV market, but there are some firms that are continuing with the humble family saloon – Mazda being a fine example of this with its ‘6’. But is there really still life in a model like this?

What’s new?

Just 100 Kuro Edition versions will come to the UK
Just 100 Kuro Edition versions will come to the UK

Three years after the 6’s last major update – which introduced new engines and a plusher interior – this Mazda is having some slight revisions for 2021.

Key to this update is a new limited-run Kuro Edition, which will be available in just 100 units, split evenly between the Saloon we’re trying here and the Tourer estate. It brings predominantly visual changes, with its funky-coloured grey-blue paint, black accents and red leather seats, though we’ll explore more on those later.

What’s under the bonnet?

All Mazda 6 models use petrol engines
All Mazda 6 models use petrol engines

It’s another sign of the times that diesels have been axed from the ‘6’ range for 2021 – just a decade ago the notion of having a car like this without a diesel engine would have seemed odd – so instead there are a trio of naturally-aspirated petrol available.

Power outputs range from 143bhp to 191bhp, but the Kuro Edition is available exclusively with the middle 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine. There isn’t a whiff of electrification on show here, while a six-speed manual gearbox feels reassuringly traditional.

This unit kicks out 163bhp and 213Nm of torque, enabling a 0-60mph time of 9.2 seconds and 134mph flat out. In terms of efficiency, Mazda claims 42.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 152g/km.

What’s it like to drive?

The Mazda6 is one of the best cars to drive in its class
The Mazda6 is one of the best cars to drive in its class

Mazda has a remarkable ability at making ‘normal’ cars feel special to drive, and the 6 is no exception. It’s beautifully judged, with perfectly-weighted steering and minimal body roll, it really means you can push on through the corners far more than you can with any of its rivals.

At the same time, the ride is superb, and even on our test car’s larger 19-inch alloy wheels, it never has that firmer low-speed edge that’s often found.

Its only real weakness is its engine, which – due to the lack of turbocharger – needs working hard to get the best from it. That said, with a fantastic six-speed manual gearbox to operate (no automatic is available on the Kuro Edition), there are definitely worse problems to have.

How does it look?

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Though the current-generation Mazda6 might have been around since 2013 – albeit with a welcome nip-and-tuck in 2018 – we reckon it remains one of the sleekest-looking cars in its segment. With narrow LED headlights that run into a chrome strip surrounding the grille, it’s a seriously appealing design that hasn’t aged a day since it was first unveiled all those years ago.

Though the Kuro Edition’s looks won’t appeal to all, the no-option Polymetal Grey, black 19-inch alloy wheels and sporadic black accents certainly add further street cred to it. You wouldn’t do much worse by sticking with the regular 6, though.

What’s it like inside?

Red leather seats give the Mazda6’s cabin a premium feel
Red leather seats give the Mazda6’s cabin a premium feel

Compared to some rivals, stepping inside the 6 might feel like a step back in time. There’s no big fancy dials and even the infotainment screen – which now looks somewhat small – is only operated by a rotary controller rather than touch. But somehow it really doesn’t feel any worse off for not having all the latest gadgets (or you may argue, gimmicks). The ergonomics are superb, while the quality throughout is impressive – the burgundy leather seats fitted to the Kuro Edition being especially appealing.

While the Tourer might be the more versatile option, this Saloon can still put up a good fight, with 480 litres of boot room and plenty of rear seat space meaning it’s still a useful family car. That said, it’s certainly not as useful as a typical SUV at this price point.

What’s the spec like?

Large 19-inch alloy wheels come on the Kuro Edition
Large 19-inch alloy wheels come on the Kuro Edition

Even in entry-level trims, the Mazda6 is loaded with equipment, including LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and an eight-inch screen with satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay.

The Kuro Edition builds on the mid-spec Sport – which itself adds keyless entry, a reversing camera and an electric driver’s seat – with its Polymetal Grey paint (usually £580), red leather seats (not usually available) and black alloys.

At £29,250, the Kuro Edition works out as £1,460 more than a Sport with the same engine. It probably doesn’t really justify that increase, though if you like how it looks, that extra spend won’t be too hard to stomach.

Verdict

If ever there was a car to show that there’s still life in the regular saloon, the Mazda6 is it. With its great driving experience – far better than just about any other SUV at this price – high-quality equipment and generous standard equipment levels, the 6 remains just as likeable as it did when it was facelifted three years ago. This Kuro Edition adds a dash of extra style to it, too – albeit at a bit of a price.

Though many will still likely look past it to browse SUVs – and even Mazda’s own CX-5 – they’ll be missing out on a trick by doing so. Perhaps the 6 is a secret best kept and cherished by those in the know, then, but also one that you shouldn’t sit on for too long, as – like the Mondeo – it unfortunately might not be around for too many more years.

  • Model: Mazda6

  • Base price: £24,990

  • Model as tested: Mazda6 2.0 165PS Kuro Edition

  • Price as tested: £29,250

  • Engine: 2.0-litre petrol

  • Power: 163bhp

  • Torque: 213Nm

  • Max speed: 134mph

  • 0-60mph: 9.2 seconds

  • MPG: 42.2mpg

  • Emissions: 152g/km