At 440cm, the midsize sedan is 45 mm longer than the previous model, while the wheelbase has grown by 50 mm to 260cm. The new sedan’s height of 1 475 mm is also 5 mm taller, while vehicle width remains the same.
Honda says the rear legroom of the new Ballade is comparable with upper-D segment sedans. The boot capacity has increased to 536 litres, and also offers a wider aperture to ease access, including a lower loading sill.
Two trim levels
In addition to the extra space, the Honda Ballade is available with two trim levels. The base model has an all-new audio system with integrated USB and Bluetooth, and standard features such as air-conditioning, electric windows, electric folding mirrors, and remote central locking.
The Elegance version gets a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and a seven-inch touchscreen display with icon-based user interface for the audio system, which also has eight speakers in this version.
The touchscreen offers gesture-based control (including tap to select, swipe to scroll, slide to move and pinch to zoom) for more intuitive ease of use, and has an HDMI port that allows images, video and audio data to be accessed from compatible smartphones and devices.
Safety features include six airbags, vehicle stability assist (traction control and electronic stability control), hill start assist, and a reversing camera.
The engine in the 2014 Ballade is still a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with better efficiency and lower emissions. It delivers 88 kW and 145 Nm of torque. Also new is a constantly variable transmission (CVT) with seven virtual gears which allow it to make the most of the engine’s urge.
The manual-equipped models accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 9.6 seconds, which is 0.2 quicker than the outgoing model. Top speed is 185 km/h. The new CVT gearbox-equipped Ballade completes the 0-100 km/h task in 11.1 seconds, trimming almost a second from the previous automatic gearbox-equipped model’s sprint time. Top speed increases to 190 km/h.
The manual version achieves a claimed combined cycle consumption figure of 5.9-litres/100 km, while the CVT model comes in at 5.8-litres/100km.
Honda Ballade 1.5 Trend – R195 900
Honda Ballade 1.5 Trend CVT – R210 500
Honda Ballade 1.5 Elegance – R220 990
Honda Ballade 1.5 Elegance CVT – R235 590
The pricing includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty, a four-year/60 000 km service plan, and one-year roadside assistance.