Although previous Ballades have always come across as sensible with a sense of ‘no frills, no fuss’ about them, the very shiny and new model has been bumped up a little in all departments from its predecessor.
In the looks and feel department, the new Honda Ballade 1.5 Elegance steals the platform from the likes of the recently launched Jazz, but is both 45mm longer overall and has a 50mm increase at the wheel base, resulting in better handling and a lot less body roll than the previous model.
Because of the added numbers in both length and height (adding 5mm to the roofline), there is an insane amount of leg and head room within the Ballade. Looking at the vehicle from the outside, you would never say so, but hopping into it shows off just how comfortable you’re going to be on future short or long trips.
Speaking of the outside of the vehicle; there is a noticeable difference in appearance and, because of this, Honda has really nailed appealing to the younger demographic.
It’s not sporting the usual demure and understated look; it’s now somehow edgier on 16inch alloy wheels, the grill and nose swoop is sleeker, over all lines are sharper, the boot sits higher and squarer with an attractive light cluster, and it just has a look of what future Honda models will aspire to with their design ideas.
Even though the 2014 model still matches the power of the 2013 model, the 1.5l I-VTEC petrol engine pushes out a decent 88kW and 145Nm of torque; doesn’t sound like a lot, you say, but since Honda have decided to skim a little bit of weight off the vehicle, the Ballade boasts better response upon take off, resulting in a 0-100kmh response time of 2.5seconds quicker than last year’s model!
Because of the reduction in weight on the vehicle and a light clutch, this means better fuel economy, and we saw a low of 5.7l/100 throughout various driving conditions.
Hopping back into the Ballade, and right into the driver’s seat, you’re met with a comfortable and premium leather covered steering wheel, which features all the requirements of finger touch controls you need in a hurry (cruise control, audio controls and quick scroll touch screen navigation).
Over to the left, the 7inch touch screen display is sleek and easy to use and customize to your preference. Setting up the Bluetooth/Phone connectivity is simple and navigating through other useful features is a breeze. The system is also capable of reading audio, video and images from a USB device, or via HDMI connection, for convenience.
Over all, the 2014 Honda Ballade 1.5 Elegance is a well-rounded package which offers space and comfort for families, but also appeals to the younger crowd with good looks, great entertainment options and likeable drivability.
We really enjoyed commuting around with both styles of living in mind, and or R220 990, it’s an excellent package in this segment.
The pricing includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty, a four-year/60 000 km service plan, and one-year roadside assistance.
For more information, visit www.honda.co.za