You guys obviously know that the 2021 Mazda6 is no stranger to me, but this is the refreshed model with the new turbo engine. And since I have tremendous admiration for all things Mazda these days, I just had to take it for a spin. The bottom line is that even if most consumers don’t give a damn about this car because it’s not an SUV, it’s still one of the best sedans in its class.
If you’re wondering why my Mazda6 is as black as Darth Vader’s helmet, that’s because it’s part of the Kuro trim, which is new for 2021. Looks cool, doesn’t it? That paint job is called Jet Black Mica, but Kuro also comes in Polymetal Grey Metallic paint, which is similar to what you can get on a Mazda3 hatchback. I personally don’t like black wheels on a black car, but the Kuro package allows you to give those 19-inchers a gunmetal look, which I much prefer.The 2021 Mazda6 Kuro also comes exclusively with a red leather interior (more on that later) and blacked out mirrors. It also comes standard with the recently integrated tubocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine. While entry level Mazda6s pump out 187 horsepower, this one makes a more substantial 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. But there’s a catch: like the Mazda CX-9 I recently reviewed, you’ll only get these numbers when fueling on 93 octane gas. On regular pump fuel, your Mazda6 Turbo will only make 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.Also, like in the Mazda3. that engine cannot be mated to a manual gearbox. This means your only option is a six-speed automatic. The Mazda6 is only available with front-wheel drive. Contrary to a Camry, an Altima and now a Kia K5, all-wheel drive is not an option. There’s also no sign of electrification in the entire lineup.Pricing for a 2021 Mazda6 kicks off at $27,550. The turbo engine is only available on this Kuro and the range-topping Signature models. As it sits, my tester stickered at $37,950, or about two grand less than a top-flight Signature trim. That one spices things up by adding real Nappa leather seating and Sen wood trim.
Just like the Mazda3, there’s a sense of grace in the way the 6 dances on a winding road. It’s a longer, heavier car, yes, but it’s still highly athletic. And immensely fun. Mazda vehicles of late have ranked at the top for driver engagement. The Mazda6 feels light on its feet, yet stiff as a bar, but also compliant over beaten tarmac. You can plow down a country back road with it at tremendous speeds and it’ll gracefully eat everything up.In other words, it’s refined, very much like the high-end German alternatives, but with its own flair. Meanwhile the turbo engine never runs out of steam, but I do wish it had more character and sounded a little better. The car also never feels fast. I mean, it is quick. The speedometer moves quickly, but the drama is sadly not there.Enter, say, a roundabout too fast in the Mazda6, and a slight pull on the steering puts this midsizer back into place. The chassis responds quickly, while the gearbox downshifts as if it has anticipated your next move. It’s the kind of telepathy you’d expect from a Porsche, not a Mazda. I’m not saying this drives like a Porsche, from from it. But it is proving that Mazda knows how to do premium vehicles. This beautiful interpretation of the midsize sedan is carried over inside where a clean, uncluttered dashboard design greats you in a well put together cabin. It’s all tastefully well presented, especially with those spicy red leather surfaces. There are good quality materials too, and a striking but never too flashy look. Mazda’s semi-digital analog gauges continue to look and work great, while the steering feels amazing; small and thick. Good seats, and driving position. Spacious rear bench.The Mazda6 still makes do with the old version of the Mazda Connect infotainment interface. That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s getting dated and lacks the speed and functionalities we’ve come to expect from today’s cars. Where it still beats the new system, however, is in its simplicity and ease of operation.Like BMW’s iDrive setup, Mazda allows the user to operate the system via a console-mounted rotary knob dial. It works well, and you always know where to point it due to the simplicity and purity of the main menu. These great ergonomics are a bit diluted in the new system, which is why I continue to prefer this old legacy one.Look, the 2021 Mazda6 is a great sedan, even if it’s lacking important things like electrification, all-wheel drive and more updated tech. It’s more rowdy than a Honda Accord due to its unrefined engine, and the lack of more gears makes it drone on the highway. The Mazda6 is never as quiet as a Camry at highways speeds. But Mazda’s sedan brings to the table an indescribable ownership experience. It’s more fun to drive than its rivals, looks better too. It’s just as well built, but looks and feels like it should cost $10,000 more. If you don’t need all-wheel drive and you’re looking for a bit of an event each time you drive your car, consider the Mazda6, because this sedan is at the top of its game.
Review of the 2021 Mazda6 Kuro by William Clavey
- Beautifully styled
- Sports sedan handling, quick
- Comfortable and well-appointed cabin
- No all-wheel drive
- Ageing technology
- No hybrid option
9 / 10
Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.
Special thanks: Mazda Canada
Photography: Guillaume Fournier
Contact the author: [email protected]