The new Ballade’s styling creates an overall sleek and somewhat 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. 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.
This Elegance model is equipped with 15-ich alloy wheels, as well as standard 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 Ballade’s interior also impresses thanks to the driver-oriented design, high-quality materials and features. The Ballade offers a comfortable seating position with intuitive access to the various vehicle controls. Entertainment is taken care of via an easy-to-use touch-operated infotainment system which also incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The unit also features Bluetooth and steering wheel controls.
The Ballade features a new 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, while the same peak torque of 145Nm.
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.
The engine and gearbox are a good paring however once you demand all of the performance the little motor and gearbox do let know their struggles. I found the car to be best suited to a relaxed driving style. Once you do that you will be rewarded with a relatively decent ride. The car feels a lot more mature than what its size and occupation in the segment might suggest. It is most definitely worth considering when shopping in the segment.