From £19,5958
Is this ageing saloon still versatile and appealingly priced? We find out with a new special edition

What is it?

Volume-brand saloons like the Mazda 6 may no longer be in favour amongst most family car buyers but, because those firms which continue to sell them are having to work that bit harder for their business these days, some of them are becoming really quite tempting value for money.

There’s a new mid-spec, UK special edition version of the Mazda that illustrates this phenomenon rather nicely. The Mazda 6 Kuro uses the middle-sitting of three available petrol engines, and it’s based on middle-of-three ‘Sport’ equipment level. It was never in danger of becoming an over-priced showroom decoration clearly, and bundles in special paintwork and some unique exterior and interior styling tweaks for a price that still looks pretty cheap. 

It’ll be a rare spot, too; there will only be fifty Mazda 6 Kuro saloons sold in the UK and another fifty tourers.

8 Mazda 6 kuro rearstatic

What's it like?

If you don’t like grey cars on black glossy wheels with black body trim, you need read no further here. That’s the only colour scheme the Kuro comes in.

On the inside you do get burgundy leather to add variety to the monotone theme, at least. The car’s cabin is showing a little bit of age, not least because it still uses Mazda’s last-gen infotainment system with its block-looking graphics, it slightly clumsy rotary input device, and no option for even the occasional fingertip screen input. But the cabin is roomy and comfortable in any case, with simple and readable, mostly analogue instruments, and material cabin quality that’s a bit mixed in places but is certainly no disgrace.

Mazda’s 162bhp 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine can feel just a little bit gutless in some of the firm’s bigger cars, but in the 6 it narrowly escapes that, creating just enough torque to keep the car drivable in the higher intermediate gears. You do still have to shift down and let the crankshaft spin beyond 4000rpm to create any real urgency on the road but, unlike Mazda’s coarser 2.5, the 2.0-litre petrol engine revs very willingly and with just a little hint of sporting zest. The 6’s sweetly weighted and solidly mechanical-feeling manual gearbox also makes maintaining an interest in the driving experience easy.

As do the car’s handling and steering. Despite its standard-fit 19in wheels, the 6 Kuro rides quietly and pliantly - but it also maintains strong and well-balanced grip levels, has just the right amount of heft and response about its steering, and keeps easy close control of its body movements at all times.

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6 Mazda 6 kuro dash

Should I buy one?

If you’re at all of a mind to move out of an SUV and back into a well-priced family car with more of an enticing dynamic flavour - and assuming the highish lab-test emissions of an atmospheric petrol engine won’t put you off - think about it. 

The Mazda 6 Kuro is a car with plenty of versatility in its driving experience, but also an understated and pretty effortless sort of high-speed composure and cornering poise that would make it regularly pleasing, and rarely if ever a punishing, car to drive. It’d do 45mpg on the office commute; and while it won’t feel particularly fast on the long way home, it will certainly do enough to keep you coming back that way.

If you can remember a time when a sub-1.5-tonne four-door with more than 160bhp would have been considered a driver’s car of a kind, there’s no reason not to think of this one in similar terms.

9 Mazda 6 kuro static

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Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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Add a comment…
Razor1972 27 July 2021

 I bought one of these two years ago with a fantastic deal on the Mazda scrapage scheme. I love the looks. It looks better than the boring German cars. The petrol engine pulls fine at legal speeds. You cannot go much faster. The refinement is great. Lovely and quite. Great interior. Standard heads up display which is great. The level on spec is amazing would cost thousands more for any other car.I traveled 240 miles at the legal limit and averaged 48 mpg. What is not to like. Mazda had won most reliable car brand in the USA.  You guys are missing out. The perfect staycation car.

FastRenaultFan 23 July 2021
Still a great looking car.

@Overdrive Well that is because ye British would not but saloons from anyone bar the Germans. Come to Ireland and there is plenty of Toyota Corolla saloons on the road and plenty of Renault and Ford saloons too. Not as many as a decade or two ago do as even here the SUV has made big inroads. Still ot has effected the poor MPV more than the saloon.

jameshobiecat 23 July 2021

I’ve always liked the Mazda 6 and seriously considered buying one at one stage but I can’t help feeling that engine would be too much like hard work. Sure, revy naturally aspirated engines are great in lightweight sports cars, but in this class something with more torque is required.

Love the interior (no touch screen - bliss!), the outside looks great (despite the age), and from what I read the dynamics are pretty good too.

and it has to be soul red!