The small sedan market is such a competitive market, what with so many good quality cars from the manufacturers making decisions tough for buyers out there.
Although the new ballade is no different, and will make your choices even harder, Honda has always had this no frills, no fuss attitude with their cars and that’s why they have been so popular over the last 30 years.
The sharp angles and the high polished mag wheels all make a compelling argument, reporting that this Ballade is, in fact, now being aimed at the younger demographic and that they are aiming for a sportier run of the mill entry level sedan. The 1.5l i-Vtec engine makes a cracking 88kw and releases only 146g/km worth of c02 emissions. Sure, it’s not hybrid-like, but it is indeed very good and with a low fuel consumption claim of only 5.3l/100km, the Ballade will take you a good distance before you have to fill up again. On our economy run, we shattered Honda’s acclaimed figure and came in with a 4.8l/100km. Keep in mind, this was with a very light foot and traveling at 90km/h on a very quiet road. Yet, this is diesel territory and is very impressive for a 1.5l petrol engine.
You might think that the 1.5l engine might be lacking in terms of power, but Honda knows a thing or two about extracting power from small engines. Just think back to their 1.6 Ballade Vtec from 10 years age; 118kw… it was a screamer of note and is still very popular with the local modifying communities.
This little 1.5 is no different. The 1.5 is very smooth around 3000rpm, but needs to be driven a little harder to reach its total 88kw potential. When the rpm’s get up there, the Ballade is actually pretty nippy; this is mostly due to a tarre mass of only 1082kg. 0-100kph is claimed at 9.8seconds with a flat out top speed of 185km/h.
The interior of the car is actually pretty good. The cloth seats offer good support and the visibility is excellent. This vehicle would be a good option for those shorter drivers among us. The stereo is a 4 speaker unit coupled with great tweeters, offering USB and mp3 support. There is also a Bluetooth hands-free unit installed, but it’s a little out of place in my opinion, mounted on the driver side a-pillar. This is essentially a full spec car with power steering, electric window and an air conditioner. There are also 7 cup holders in and around the car. Why you would need 7, is really beyond me, but hey, they are there.
The Honda features Anti-lock braking, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist and even Vehicle Stability Control. You’ll also find 6 airbags in total; driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. The alarm and immobilizer which is linked to the ECU will also keep thieves at bay.
The Ballade 1.5 Elegance retails for R201 000 and comes standard with a 3 year / 100 000km warranty and a 4 year / 60 000km service plan. The service intervals are every 15000km.
For more info, check out Honda.co.za