Mazda favourite

maturing nicely

Mazda6 Kuro Edition, front static
Mazda6 Kuro Edition, front action
Mazda6 Kuro Edition, rear static
Mazda6 Kuro Edition, rear static
Mazda6 Kuro Edition, dashboard
Mazda6 Kuro Edition, rear seats

THERE'S no denying the new limited edition Mazda6 is a stand out car in its gleaming polymetal grey metallic paintwork, black door mirrors and handsome black alloy wheels. But is it the one to go for?

Only a handful versions of this Kuro Edition of the spacious saloon and Tourer estate are heading to the UK, which will make them a rare sight - if that bothers you.

If it doesn't you can save a useful £880 by asking instead for the Sport version of the car - and that saving includes paying £580 extra for the fancy paint. You won't get the black wheels or mirrors but you'll get everything else.

Oh, and you'll have to settle for seats finished in black leather, not the undeniably good looking red cowhide of the Kuro Edition.

Whichever version you go for will be thoroughly well equipped, in the manner of a car that's gently trading on superior equipment levels as it reaches motoring maturity. Launched in 2012 and given a solid facelift in 2018, the Mazda6 qualifies as a senior student in the showroom school of motoring.

Standard kit includes a reversing camera, an 11-speaker Bose audio system, keyless entry, a heated steering wheel, eight way power adjustment for the driver's seat (six ways for the front passenger), reversing camera and parking peepers front and rear and a head up display for the driver. Apple CarPlay now comes with every new Mazda6 too.

You'd have to think hard and long to find anything even remotely lacking in the bits and pieces that come with the Kuro Edition. Ditto the slightly cheaper Sport.

Both share a 2.0-litre petrol engine putting out 163bhp, enough for 134mph and 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and 152g/km on the emissions front and 42.2mpg official average economy.

Use the (typically Mazda) crisp six-speed gearbox and the car makes decent enough progress and showed an encouraging 44.1mpg after a 40 mile workout on a set of typical British roads, from rapid main to snail's pace village.

Not though the sort of sporty forward motion you might be hoping for with the sleek looks of both saloon (£29,250) and Tourer (£30,250); for that you need to look at the Mazda6 range topper GT Sport.

Its bigger 2.5-litre, 194bhp engine and automatic gearbox make it feel both relaxed and potent. There's a price to pay for this extra urge, of course - from £32,370.

The current Mazda6 range kicks off with SE-L grade saloons and Tourers (from £24,990 and £25,990 respectively) that comes decently equipped and powered by a 143bhp version of the same power unit you'll find in the new special editions.

Back on the road in the Kuro Edition, the ride feels just a bit too lively on a typical British main road, only properly settling when you hit a (rare) patch of newly laid black top.

This underlying firmness does add to the way this large-ish car carves its way confidently through corners, helping it to still feel like the drivers' car it was on its introduction those several years ago.

Likewise, still present in spades is the way Mazda makes all its cars feel centred on giving the driver an easy time, so you'll find simple to read instruments and enough proper switches to make some manufacturers' touch screen-heavy efforts feel clumsy.

Yes, the Mazda6 has matured into well-mannered middle age. And none the worse for that.

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