The Honda Ballade was a subcompact automobile built by Honda of Japan. It began as a four-door higher equipment content version of the Civic in 1980. The Ballade was developed at the same time the Honda Vigor appeared, which was a higher content Honda Accord. The Ballade was sold exclusively in Japan at Honda Verno dealerships alongside the Vigor, Prelude, CR-X, and Quint. In the UK it was launched at the same time as the very similar Triumph Acclaim with which it shared a Honda built engine.
The name of the car was taken from "ballade", a type of French poetry set to music. Due to the fact that both the four-door Ballade sedan, and the five-door hatchback Quintet were both high luxury content vehicles derived from the Honda Civic, the Ballade represented a type of music, and the Quintet represented a musical group. The Ballade competed in Japan with the Toyota Sprinter, and the Nissan Laurel Spirit as the Civic competed with the Corolla, and the Sunny (Sentra).
After 1984, the Ballade shared most of its body panels with the Civic, except for a sportier front end, and formed the basis of the CR-X sports car and the original Rover 200. Of this second generation Ballade the top model - EX-i - featured a 1.5L naturally aspirated 12 valve all-aluminium engine with multi-point fuel injection (using Honda's PGM-FI system) developing 100 brake horsepower (75 kW), the same engine was used on the first generation Civic CRX. Other features of the EX-i included electric windows all-round, electric and heated wing mirrors, metallic paint, vented front disc brakes and hydraulic power-assisted steering. Lower specification models featured the same 1.5L engine but with fuelling provided via a carburretor, giving 85 brake horsepower (63 kW). In keeping with the styling trend shared with other Honda Verno products, the second generation car adopted partially concealled headlights starting in 1983, shared with the Vigor, Quint Integra, Ballade Sports CR-X, and the Prelude.
The Ballade in Japan was replaced in September 1987, with the Honda Concerto 5-door hatchback and sedan as the luxury Civic offering at newly established Honda Clio dealerships in Japan. As the Ballade was essentially a luxury version of the Civic sedan, Honda repositioned the Ballade from Honda Verno, first with the Concerto name, then renamed again as the Honda Domani at Honda Clio, and introduced it with the Honda Accord, the Honda Inspire, and the Honda Legend in 1992, with the Civic now headlining at Honda Primo stores. The sport-oriented version of the Civic loosely held by the Ballade evolved into the Honda Integra, and assumed the market position originally held by the Ballade at Honda Verno dealership locations.
In South Africa, the name plate is revived in 2011 for Honda City sold in other markets.