In a post-script to today’s reprint of Archie Vicar’s review of the 1981 Triumph Acclaim, I present a few notes on Car magazine’s impressions of the 1980 Honda Ballade.
“Were it not for the Honda-BL deal, the introduction of the Honda Ballade would have passed almost unnoticed in Japan,” wrote Hattori Yoshi. “The Ballade is an unexceptional car: it offers nothing new to jaded Japanese motornoters who are used to new models being introduced just about as often as someone, somewhere is complaining about unfair Japanese imports”.
Hattori explained that the Ballade differed from previous Hondas in that it was a product they felt customers wanted rather than needed; it also joined the lone vehicle in their then-new Verno dealer network – set up to sell the Prelude. Apparently cars in the Verno network were supposed to be a bit more upmarket than those in the Honda chain.
In Hattori’s view the Ballade had “the sort of shape that someone who is not too interested in cars might well buy”. There was more to the Ballade than a conventional shape: it had a pass-through rear-seat back to carry skis or fishing rods. “On the road, the Ballade is quite endearing. The engines [it had a 1.3 or 1.5 litre mill] are lively and responsive, the gearshift good, and the transmission is not harsh. Also, the steering is precise, if dead and the Ballade handles and brakes reasonably well”. Why did the Acclaim only have one engine?
[Source: Car, November 1980. 75 pence.]