The venerable Honda Ballade has been re-invigorated as a three-model range with new looks and a full complement of tech features – and sees the introduction of the RS badging for the first time in South Africa.
The original Honda Ballade was launched in South Africa in 1982, and Yuishi Fukuda, president of Honda Motor Southern Africa, says “We are delighted to launch the all-new Ballade to coincide with the celebration of Honda Motor Southern Africa’s 20th anniversary.
“We unleash the power of dreams by focusing on real-world needs of our customers and this is certainly true of the Ballade which is one of our longest-running and most successful nameplates in South Africa.
“The all-new Ballade is a symbol of the brand’s evolution in South Africa over the past two decades, and has contributed to Honda’s peerless reputation for delivering exceptional durability, quality and reliability in every segment in which we compete.”
“With a strikingly sporty and sophisticated exterior design, exceptional interior space and an extensive list of high-tech features, the all-new Ballade represents many generations of Honda innovation at its best,” says Dinesh Govender, Honda GM of Automobiles and Corporate.
“The all-new Ballade is a product for our Honda loyalists and Honda fans alike, who have grown up with the brand in their households and who appreciate the inherent values and qualities associated with owning a Honda.”
The new Ballade has a sculpted body shape emphasised by a lower and wider stance, along with a longer bonnet and short front overhang.
The new model is also larger than the outgoing model: 110 mm longer, 55 mm wider, and 10 mm lower. This translates into a lower centre of gravity for greater on-road stability, boosting cornering confidence and improving overall driving dynamics. This also increases interior space for improved passenger comfort.
The Ballade Comfort and Elegance models are equipped with projector-type halogen lights, while the range topping RS is fitted with LED headlights and fog lights. All models come standard with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights.
The Comfort and Elegance models are equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels, while the RS model gains 16-inch alloys. The flagship RS model is further differentiated through the addition of exclusive RS design elements including front and rear sport bumpers, a rear trunk spoiler, a mesh-type grille and unique fog light housing.
Driver-oriented ergonomics are also a key focus area of the all-new Ballade, offering a comfortable seating position with intuitive access to the various vehicle controls. Furthermore, the new slim A-pillar and repositioned side-mirrors provide an excellent field of view for the driver while also minimising blind spots.
Driving comfort has been significantly bolstered through the fitment of new seat designs featuring high-quality fabric upholstery on Comfort and Elegance models, while the range-topping RS gets premium leather upholstery.
Another addition is the high-resolution 8-inch touchscreen display, which has been integrated into the instrument panel. The brand-new infotainment system comes standard on the Elegance and RS models and grants the user full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The unit also features Bluetooth and steering wheel controls.
Electrically operated side mirrors and windows, cruise control, automatic air-conditioning and auto headlights are all standard features across the range.
The flagship RS model gains a host of additional features and technology such as smart entry with walk-away auto locking, a rear-view parking camera, electric sunroof, and an all-new intuitive 7-inch TFT multi-information display replacing the traditional analogue instrument cluster.
The 1,5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine is improved with the introduction of i-VTEC technology. The new and improved powertrain achieves improved efficiency and reduced emissions, without compromising on performance. It now generates a slightly higher power output of 89 kW at 6 600 r/min, while the same peak torque of 145 Nm is now reached at a lower engine speed of 4 500 r/min.
Claimed average combined cycle consumption is 5,5 l/l00km, along with CO2 emissions of 131g/km.
The Ballade is fitted with a revised version of Honda’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which now features ‘G-Design’ shift control. This creates the sense of driving a traditional automatic transmission through the integration of artificial gears during acceleration, but with the enhanced efficiency of a CVT.
Underpinning the all-new Ballade is a lightweight and highly rigid platform carried over and adapted from the outgoing model. Through the adoption of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) design technology and new high-tensile materials, significant improvements have been achieved in the overall dynamic performance, handling and safety of the new model.
The latest-generation Ballade offers a host of standard safety features across the model range. Active safety features include an advanced anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which allow for more effective vehicle control. Rear parking sensors are standard on all but the base Comfort model, while the RS model gains a reverse parking camera for added convenience.
Passive safety is provided for by driver, front passenger, side and curtain SRS crash bags as standard across the model range. In addition, all models are equipped with seatbelt pretensioners and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
The Honda Ballade range comes standard with Honda’s 5-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a 4-year/60 000 km Service Plan with 15 000 km service intervals.
Ballade 1.5 Comfort CVT R336 500
Ballade 1.5 Elegance CVT R366 900
Ballade 1.5 RS CVT R396 900