I spent the past couple of days testing one of South Africa’s favorite compact sedans, The Honda Ballade Elegance to see what it has to offer…
The Honda Ballade has played a big part in south African’s B and C sedan segment since it was first introduced in 1982. and honda has recently launched the 8th generation now competing with other well-known cars from its segments such as the Toyota Corolla or Corolla Quest, Hyundai Accent, and Volkswagen Polo.
With the current car market being overtaken by SUVs and crossovers it has become quite hard to see compact sedans like these excel unless they are used for rental, shuttle, or transport services like Uber.
Built on the same platform as the previous generation, the new Ballade is 110-mm longer, 55-mm wider, and lowered by 10-mm while the wheelbase remains unchanged.
Now available in 3-trim levels: the entry-level Ballade Comfort, mid-level Ballade Elegance, and the range-topping model Ballade RS.
Wait a minute. RS?
Unfortunately, it is not what you think. the RS does not stand for a sporty or performance badge as we are so used to seeing on some other car brands. this one stands for Road Sailing. the RS trim is equivalent to the R-line from Volkswagen or ST-line from Ford but only for the aesthetic and cosmetic side, not performance.
The font-end of the Ballade stands out with its long and bold chrome wing sitting on top of the grille and headlights, giving it a catchy look. the comfort and Elegance model are fitted with halogen headlights and standard with LED daytime running lights while the Ballade RS comes fitted standard with LED Headlights.
While the Comfort and Elegance model ride on 15-inch alloy wheels, the range-topping Ballade RS rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and benefits of some other interesting features such as reversing camera, keyless entry, 7-inch instrument cluster screen, and some styling bits such as boot spoiler, faux carbon diffuser, sunroof, and a honeycomb mesh grille.
The interior of the new Honda Ballade is surprisingly very spacious and feels well put together both at the front and at the back, comfortable seats made of cloth upholstery with a really good lumbar and side support, back seat integrated cupholder armrest. A multifunction steering wheel with mounted controls for audio, phone, voice command, and cruise control. available in leather for the RS model.
Push start/stop button, 2x USB charging port, and 1x 12V power socket outlet at the front, 2x 12V Power outlet at the back, 4x speakers and 4x tweeters, electric windows all around.
Packed with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is very easy to use but unfortunately does not come standard with navigation or reversing camera integrated in the Comfort and Elegance model.
One of the most interesting features of the new Honda Ballade Elegance has to be its remote start, which helps you start and warm up the car from distance for as long as 10 minutes.
The Honda Ballade range is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5L petrol engine developing 89kW and 145Nm of torque through a continuous variable transmission (CVT). This powertrain combination works quite well, surprising especially with the new CVT transmission not being as noisy as they usually are.
While Honda claims fuel consumption of 5.5L/100km, I have managed an average of 6.4L/100km not so far off.
The new Honda ballade offers a comfortable and smooth ride quality even on bumpy roads and at high speed.
When it comes to safety the new Honda Ballade range comes fitted standard with a total of 6 airbags. Dual front airbags, side-curtain airbags, and seat airbags. as well as ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Also standard with ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), and ESC (electronic stability control).
How practical is the new Honda Ballade ?
Ergonomic and spacious whether seated in the front or at the back, you get plenty of head, shoulder, and legroom in the cabin. and some smart storage space for smartphones next to the parking brake lever.
With not having the possibility to fold/split the rear seats for extra storage space for long items such as a surf board. The Honda Ballade has 510L of luggage capacity which makes it just as practical as its competitor. spacious enough for 2 Large and 1 Medium-sized suitcase, you could squeeze a little backpack in there as well.
The new Honda Ballade range is priced as follow
1.5 Comfort CVT – R336 500
1.5 Elegance CVT – R366 900
1.5 RS CVT – R396 900
All the prices include a 5-year/200 000 km warranty, 4-year/60 000 km service plan and a 3 years of roadside assistance.
The new Honda Ballade range is slightly priced on the higher side compared to its competitors such as the Toyota Corolla Quest which almost offers the same overall quality.
With that said the Honda Ballade ticks all boxes in terms of build quality, performance, and comfort, offering a unique overall experience and i believe is worth considering.