The Mazda 6 family car gets the brand’s special-edition Kuro treatment
The Mazda 6 Kuro Edition is a good example of a dying breed of car. It gets plenty of standard equipment, the quality feels good enough for the price, it drives sweetly and offers enough practicality. However, combined with the naturally aspirated engine and Mazda’s reluctance to turn towards turbocharging for its petrol motors, a family saloon isn’t what buyers are after in 2021. We love that the 6 still exists, but fear that, as good as it is, many people will look past it in favour of a more-versatile SUV.
Mazda is a master of special editions; just look at its iconic MX-5 sports car and how many limited-run variants it has spawned to keep excitement high. Now the Japanese brand is trying to do the same with its Mazda 6 family saloon through this Kuro Edition trim. But is it injecting some life into a dying sector, or does the big family car still have merit in 2021 when buyers seem to be focusing on SUVs?
The Kuro Edition is available in saloon and ‘Tourer’ estate bodystyles, and it’s the former we’re testing here. Limited to just 100 cars in the UK (50 examples of each bodystyle), it features special Polymetal Grey Metallic paint to mark it out from other Mazda 6 models. The finish is included in the £29,250 starting price.
Kuro Edition cars are based on Sport spec when it comes to equipment, so they have a relatively generous tally that includes a reversing camera, an 11-speaker Bose stereo, keyless operation and a heated leather steering wheel to go with the standard-fit burgundy leather seats.
All Kuro cars use Mazda’s 162bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine. With no turbo (like all of the firm’s petrol engines) it needs working, but it’s a sweeter unit than the 2.5-litre range-topper.
It’s revvier, which plays to the motor’s strengths. This is born out of a deficit of torque; with only 213Nm on tap it’s lacking when compared with turbocharged rivals, but at least the engine is willing.
The only problem is that’s not always how you want to drive a car like this, and with a sweetly controlled chassis that delivers a comfortable ride, the engine refinement is at odds with the rest of the package. Having to extend it into the upper reaches to avoid the flat spot lower down means it can get a bit noisy, but at least the six-speed manual transmission is a joy to use. There’s no automatic option on the Kuro Edition.
The ride feels sophisticated for a family saloon, though. The steering weight is lovely, there’s a good level of grip, and the suspension keeps the Mazda well composed through faster bends. Not being shackled by a higher ride height and a heavier body, like a similarly sized SUV, means the handling is refreshingly enjoyable for a family machine.
But it’s also smooth when travelling at speed and soft enough around town so as not to bump its occupants around.
They won’t have quite as much space as in Mazda’s CX-5, talking of comparisons with SUVs, but the saloon’s 480-litre boot gives it more than enough luggage space and practicality for most occasions.
The Kuro Edition also has 19-inch alloys, automatic LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay (which is a good, because the standard interface with sat-nav could be better), autonomous braking, blind-spot monitoring, all-round parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. The burgundy upholstery looks smart, while the materials are good for the price, but the infotainment system now feels outdated and clunky.
Otherwise, with claimed efficiency of 42.2mpg, the Mazda 6 Kuro Edition is a nicely rounded package, even if CO2 emissions of 152g/km mean it won’t be the most cost-effective company car choice in a sector aimed at buyers looking for just that.