First Drive: 2021 Mazda 6 Kuro Edition Review

A limited-edition special of the ageing Mazda 6...
26th August 2021
Seán Ward



Welcome to the Mazda 6, and if it looks familiar then, well, it would do, as this generation of 6 was launched at the 2012 Moscow International Auto Salon and is still going strong. Its days are numbered, however, so Mazda has launched the Kuro Edition to keep things fresh. Just 100 examples will be sold in the UK in Tourer and saloon bodystyles, all complete with Polymetal Grey metallic paint, black 19-inch alloy wheels, black wing mirrors, a burgundy interior plus some other goodies.

We like

  • Sweet gearbox
  • Nice interior with real life buttons
  • Great ride

We don't like

  • Infotainment system is showing its age
  • Engine needs to be revved hard to make progress
  • Steering is too light



The Mazda 6’s form is refreshingly simple. The grille isn’t too big, there’s a nice line of chrome that runs up from below the grille to prop up the pleasingly smooth headlights, and there aren’t random, overly aggressive lines thrown in to corrupt the Mazda 6’s form. The front wheel-arch is curvaceous, arching down to below the wingmirrors, while just above there’s a subtle crease that runs all the way back to the boot. Twin exhaust pipes at the rear are a treat. The Polymetal Grey paint won’t be for everyone but the black wheels and black are nice enough.

Performance and Handling


The Mazda 6 is sold exclusively with a range of petrol engines, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 145PS (107kW) or 165PS (121kW), or a 2.5-litre with 194PS (143kW). The Kuro Edition is sold only with the top-spec 2.0-litre, the performance middle ground of the range.

As well as 165PS there’s 213Nm (158lb ft) of torque, and because Mazda’s philosophy revolves around naturally aspirated engines peak power is at 6,000rpm and peak torque at 4,000rpm – startlingly high, really, compared to similarly powered competitors. But it makes for a different driving experience, one that rewards a few more revs. Granted, there are times when you wish you didn’t have to stir the six-speed manual ‘box to make it up a steep hill, but it helps form the car’s character and sets it apart from other everyday saloons. The throttle response is sharp, too, and the gearbox is as sweet as you’ll find in a saloon, so it is far from the end of the world.

The noise? It’s fairly fruity, actually, revving out to a naff soft-limiter at 6,500rpm, but there’s a wheezy strain to the engine’s voice for the last 500rpm or so.

A surprise were the brakes, with a delightfully firm pedal. The ride is good too, with less roll than you’d expect and terrific damping, absorbing many chunky lumps, bumps and potholes with remarkable ease, but the steering, although direct, is just too light.



Considering the Mazda 6 was launched in 2012 the interior has fared well, but in places it is starting to show its age. The infotainment screen, for example, is relatively small and, compared to the systems of its competitors, feels like a bit of an afterthought. The interface within it is simple enough but it’s a bit old school. Mazda has updated some of its model range with a larger screen and fresher UI, but that hasn’t, and likely won’t, make it to this generation of 6.

On the whole, however, the cabin is pleasant and gimmick free. The burgundy interior is fantastic, visibility great and, while you feel as though you’re sitting a little high, the driving position and the adjustability in the seat and wheel is pretty decent. I cannot express just how refreshing it is to have physical controls for everything in the cabin as well. There’s no haptic feedback, no gesture control, just good old fashioned knobs and buttons. There’s even an analogue tachometer and speedometer, two endangered species in this day and age.

Technology and Features


As mentioned previously you get the grey paint, a colour that is normally £580. The wheels, meanwhile, are only available on the Kuro Edition, as is the burgundy interior and black mirrors. Having said that, that is where the benefits above the middling ‘Sport’ model end (there are three normal trims available, namely the SE-L, Sport and GT Sport), so you’ll have to decide whether or not £1,460 justifies the price hike.

Included as standard, as on the Sport, are a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, LED front and rear lights, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry dual-zone climate control, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, heated seats, radar cruise, hill assist and a DAB radio.

As you’d expect there’s Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and to connect to them is an incredibly simple process. There’s an 11-speaker Bose sound system with which you can enjoy your banging tunes as well.



Mazda has always placed a healthy emphasis on driving dynamics and, despite the 6’s age, that still shows. It’s a sweet handling car despite nearly a decade passing since its introduction. It also does without a number of technologies we’ve experienced on newer saloons and estates from other brands, features like haptic feedback and gesture control, neither of which are really necessary.

If you’re looking for a car with all the gadgets and gizmos the 6 isn’t for you. If you want a simple, enjoyable daily driver, it might be going grey but it is still well worth considering.



2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol


165PS (121kW) @ 6,000rpm


213Nm (158lb ft) @ 4,000rpm


Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive

Kerb weight



9.4 seconds

Top speed


Fuel economy


CO2 emissions