Mazda MX-5 Kuro

22 Aug, 2012 7:00pm Damion Smy

Special-edition MX-5 Kuro roadster adds more kit and more fun for a bargain price

Verdict

5
The Kuro is a great addition to the MX-5 range. Bigger alloys, decals and stitched leather sports seats make it stand out. And although the handling tweaks are extremely subtle, that’s no bad thing – the car is as much fun as ever from behind the wheel. Plus, you can’t argue with the value: all this extra kit adds just £500 to the price of a regular MX-5.

The new Mazda MX-5 Kuro Edition is designed to add some visual punch and handling sparkle to Mazda’s evergreen roadster. It’s claimed to be inspired by the MX-5 GT4 race car, but does it deliver?

Kuro means black in Japanese, so a set of dark gunmetal 17-inch alloys is fitted, along with black mirrors and a black roof. There’s also a black surround for the front foglamps and grille, while unique decals run the length of the car.

At the back is an aggressive diffuser-style bumper – which adds little to the aerodynamics – plus the twin exhausts get chrome tips. Our test car is finished in Velocity Red Mica, but buyers can also choose from Crystal White Pearl and Brilliant Black.

Inside, the Kuro has classy-looking stone and black leather heated seats, with neat red stitching that’s also used across the door trims. Further red accents on the dashboard contrast with chrome scuff plates, while the red-trimmed floor mats are stitched with the same graphic as on the exterior decal.

So it looks good, but what’s it like to drive? Well, the MX-5 is already a proven performer with a deserved reputation for thrills, but unlike the regular car, the Kuro features a strut brace that stiffens the chassis and tightens up the handling even further.

The great driving position and leather-wrapped steering wheel are carried over from the standard MX-5, while the pedals are perfectly placed and the five-speed manual box offers smooth shifts. The steering is precise and the car’s brilliant handling balance has been carried over, so you can fully exploit the performance of the 124bhp 1.8-litre engine.

The strong brakes inspire confidence, and while the level of grip impresses, there’s enough play to raise a smile in corners. This car will be cheap to run, too, with fuel economy of 39.8mpg and 167g/km CO2 emissions.

As well as our soft-top, there’s a folding hard-top Roadster Coupé version of the MX-5 Kuro, with a 158bhp 2.0-litre engine. This costs £3,500 extra, but gets a limited-slip differential, uprated Bilstein suspension and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Mazda will sell 400 Kuro RCs in the UK, and 200 soft-tops. The latter starts at £18,495 – that’s only £500 more than the regular MX-5, which is amazing value for all those extras.

Key specs

  • Price: £18,495
  • Engine: 1.8-litre 4cyl, 124bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 121mph
  • Economy: 39.8mpg
  • CO2: 167g/km
  • Equipment: Bluetooth, leather trim, heated seats, Bose audio, 17-inch alloys, body graphics
  • On sale: Now
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