BANGKOK, THAILAND - Honda has pulled the covers off its new-generation City compact sedan in Thailand. Essentially it’s the new version of the car you know as the Ballade, as the car is rebadged for the local market, although at this stage Honda South Africa can’t confirm when the new model will hit our shores.
Although it’s not as daringly styled as the larger Civic, the new Ballade certainly takes some design inspiration from its larger sibling, particularly at the front end, and potential buyers will also be pleased to know that there’s a brand new engine beneath the bonnet - and it’s turbocharged.
The previous normally aspirated 1.5-litre engine is making way for a new 1-litre, three-cylinder turbopetrol VTEC engine, which produces 90kW and 173Nm - which is 2kW and 28Nm more than before. It’s mated to a CVT continuously variable gearbox with seven pre-determined steps that drivers can toggle between using the paddle shift levers.
It’s not just the performance that’s sportier than before - Honda is also offering an RS variant for the first time. Although it isn’t any more powerful than the lower-spec models, it does get a raft of racy styling features inside and out. These include a gloss black grille with RS logo and lower bumper lip, LED headlights, black mirror caps and a gloss black boot spoiler. It also gets unique 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside you’ll tell it apart by the suede/leather seats with red stitching and red illumination in the instrument cluster.