Driven: 2020 Honda Ballade
If you grew up in the 80's you will most likely remember the Honda Ballade to be one of the hottest vehicles to own. Your elders will probably get caught up in a moment of reminiscing as they tell you all about their time spent with their Ballade. Over the years the Ballade nameplate has slowly adopted a Honda Civic appeal, making a swankier offering than before. These changes may be great to see on such a prestigious sedan, but the Ballade is facing a losing battle. The uprise in SUV's has pretty much killed off sedans, leaving the Ballade with the difficult task of reviving a dying breed. We recently got behind the wheel of the latest Ballade, and to see if Honda has made the right decision by keeping its nameplate alive.
Whether it is an SUV, hatchback, or sedan, you can rely on Honda in making sure that it is built with its consistently strong engine. The Japanese manufacturers have somehow found the right formula in making well-built engines and the latest offering of the Ballade is no different. The Ballade gets improved with a new 1.5 litre DOHC engine that pushes out 88kW of power and 145 Nm of torque. On the road, the Ballade proves to be quite the smooth operator, with its revised Honda's Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) making it the perfect vehicle to cruise around in. The CVT can become slightly whiney under acceleration.
Looking more like a Civic
Looks-wise, the Ballade’s appearance sits somewhere in between the current Civic and the previous Ballade. Its lower stance and halogen headlights give it a sportier character than before. The Ballade may not be appealing to some, but it certainly captures Honda’s distinctive design language. The taillights are also quite pleasant to look at, making one think that they may have taken some inspiration from the Germans for its design. The Ballade may not be a vehicle that will get you around with in style, but it certainly offers a family-friendly appeal.
Spacious and comfortable
Inside, the Ballade offers an ample amount of space, with its boot space alone measuring at 510 litres. In fact, we were quite surprised with how spacious it was inside, proving that it is indeed a family-orientated vehicle. If you are not the biggest fan of the Ballade’s exterior, then its cabin will certainly win you over. It gets packed with a wonderfully designed 8-inch touchscreen system that offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Its Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, and its sound system will make you feel right at home. Seriously, the Ballade offers so much comfort and space that you may find yourself forgetting that you are in a sedan.
Before we stepped inside the Ballade it was easy to write it off as another attempt at reviving a dying market. But after you spend some time with it, you begin to understand why Honda has chosen to keep manufacturing the Ballade. It's spacious, comfortable, and just overall a well-built strong sedan. Honda may have made the Ballade that we have waited many years to see but they face the difficult task of selling it in a market that is practically being run by a massive demand for SUV’s.
Honda Ballade 1.5 Comfort CVT R336 500
Honda Ballade 1.5 Elegance CVT R366 900
The latest Honda Ballade will be sold with a 5-year/200 000 km warranty, 4-year/60 000 km service plan as well as 3 years of AA roadside assistance.