Honda Ballade | Latest Review

Eight generations of innovation, perfected. Introducing the new Honda Ballade.


The original Honda Ballade was launched in South Africa in 1982, and it quickly grew to become one of Honda's most iconic models in the country, one which competed well above its class in terms of both style and substance.

Now, almost 40 years later, the Honda Ballade remains one of South Africa's most recognisable brand names and has played a significant role in cultivating the growth of Honda Motor Southern Africa as a stand-alone entity in our market.

“We are delighted to launch the all-new Ballade to coincide with the celebration of Honda Motor Southern Africa's 20th anniversary,” says Yuishi Fukuda, president of Honda Motor Southern Africa. “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,” Fukuda says.

“Our aim is mobility – to free people to enjoy their lives. That means that we must focus on providing products of the highest quality at a reasonable price,” he adds. “To achieve this balance, everything we do, including our product design and business processes, is based on the pillars of quality, durability and reliability. Our customers trust the Honda brand because they know that they can trust our products.”

While remaining true to Honda’s proud heritage, the all-new Ballade raises the bar to a whole new level. “With a strikingly sporty and sophisticated exterior design, exceptional interior space and an extensive list of high-tech features, the all-new Ballade represent many generations of Honda innovation at its best,” states 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,” Govender says.


The all-new Ballade is the first model to introduce the global Honda ‘RS’ brand name to Southern Africa. Honda uniquely defines ‘RS’ as ‘Road Sailing’, a nod to the smooth nature of a boat sailing on water.

With the introduction of the Ballade RS, the model aims to add excitement to the new line-up with the addition of sporty cosmetic enhancements.


The new Ballade’s striking styling reflects a revolutionary silhouette for a sedan of its kind, creating an overall sleek and sporty appearance. This is the result of its clean and sculpted body shape emphasised by a lower and wider stance, along with a longer bonnet and short front overhang. The all-new Ballade ups the ante in just about every way, uniquely differentiating it from every other sedan in its class.

The new model is also larger than the outgoing model: 110mm longer, 55mm wider, and 10mm lower. This translates into a lower centre of gravity for greater on-road stability, boosting cornering confidence and improving overall driving dynamics. This also lends the Ballade a more athletic and dynamic appearance, while also increasing interior space for improved passenger comfort.

Honda’s signature design cues are evident throughout the new Ballade, including a solid wing face that spans the entire front width of the car, while incorporating the brand’s bold grille design and the new slim headlight treatment shared with the larger Honda Civic.

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 distinctive LED taillights that wrap around the side of the body to accentuate the vehicle’s aerodynamic design throughout.

The Comfort and Elegance models are equipped with 15-ich 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.


The all-new Ballade’s interior depicts a modern, driver-oriented design which achieves the perfect combination of functional ease of use, high quality materials and beauty. The minimalistic fascia of the interior depicts Honda’s latest design philosophy, featuring attractive soft-touch and accent materials of premium quality.

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 interior is adorned with premium leather upholstery.

Another exciting addition to the newcomer is the high-resolution eight-inch touchscreen display which has been neatly 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. This allows the driver to easily adjust the contents displayed on the instrument cluster via controls on the steering wheel.


The 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC engine featured on the outgoing model was held in high regard for its optimum balance between performance and efficiency. The all-new Ballade improves on this with the introduction of an 1.5L DOHC engine with 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 89kW at 6 600 r/min, while the same peak torque of 145 Nm is now reached at a lower engine speed of 4500 r/min.

With global oil prices once again on the rise, fuel economy has become an increasingly important consideration for many buyers. Accordingly, customers will benefit from the all-new Ballade returning an average combined cycle consumption figure of 5.5L/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 (ABS) 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 airbags as standard across the model range. In addition, all models are equipped with seatbelt pretensioners and ISOFIX child seat anchors.

As with all Honda models, the all-new Ballade has been constructed with Honda's ACE body structure which allows for the even distribution and redirection of collision energy away from the passenger compartment, while at the same time minimising damage to other impacted vehicles.


The all-new Ballade range will launch with three models: Comfort, Elegance and RS.

All models are equipped with the new1.5L DOHC i-VTEC powertrain and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The colour line-up for the Ballade includes a new Platinum White (Pearl), Radiant Red (Metallic), Lunar Silver (Metallic) and Modern Steel (Metallic)


For additional peace of mind, the Honda Ballade range comes standard with Honda’s five-year/200 000 warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000km Service Plan with 15 000km service intervals. Customers also have the reassurance of three-year AA Roadside Assistance.


Ballade 1.5 Comfort CVT                                 R336 500

Ballade 1.5 Elegance CVT                               R366 900

Ballade 1.5 RS CVT                                         R396 900