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.
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.