The 2023 Dodge Hornet has landed, bringing the automaker into a new segment of the market and set to reach dealers in December. It will play ball in the heavily contested and varied compact SUV segment with the competition ranging from more mainstream offerings like the new Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 to more upscale proposals such as the BMW X1 and, of course, its Italian twin, the Alfa Romeo Tonale.
Two variants of the Alfa Romeo Tonale-based Hornet will be offered. The flagship model will be the Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid. It features a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine working alongside an electric motor at the rear axle with 121 hp (90 kW). All up, the Dodge Hornet R/T is good for a combined +285 hp and 383 lb-ft (519 Nm) of torque. Working alongside the 1.3-liter is a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power through all four wheels.
Dodge has equipped the Hornet R/T with a 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a starter generator that delivers torque to the engine belt, aiding in dynamic response and recharging of the battery. It can travel up to 30 miles (48 km) on electric power alone.
The Hornet R/T also features an intriguing ‘PowerShot’ feature that provides an extra 25 hp for up to 15 seconds. Dodge says it shaves off one whole second in the sprint to 60 mph (96 km/h), dropping it to 6.1 seconds, and is activated by pulling both paddle shifters and performing a pedal kickdown.
Three hybrid driving modes are also available. In standard ‘Hybrid Mode’, the engine and motor combine to produce maximum efficiency. In ‘Electric Mode’, the SUV operates solely on electric power (go figure…) while in ‘E-Save Mode’, priority is given to the 1.3-liter engine to preserve battery charge. Regenerative braking is also featured.
The second version is the entry-level Dodge Hornet GT. It features the automaker’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Hurricane4 engine rated at 268 hp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. It rocks a nine-speed automatic and is also all-wheel drive. This version can hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.5 seconds.
As standard, the Hornet R/T rides on 18-inch Graphite Grey wheels while the GT has smaller 17-inch Silver alloy wheels. Both variants are available with a Blacktop package that adds 18-inch Abyss alloy wheels, gloss black badging and mirror caps, and gloss black painted day light opening moldings. A Track Package has also been announced with 20-inch wheels and various performance upgrades, include dual-stage-valve suspension with customizable damping.
A host of important features come standard across both R/T and GT models, or are available as options. These include Koni frequency selective damping shocks, Brembo four-piston front brake calipers as standard on the R/T and optional on the GT, and a brake-by-wire Intelligent Braking System for the R/T model. Both models also feature front and rear fully independent suspension and dynamic torque vectoring.
Found in the cabin of the 2023 Dodge Hornet is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster operating alongside a 10.25-inch Uconnect 5 infotainment system. As with other Dodge models, the Uconnect system is Android-based and offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Various safety features come standard, including Automatic Emergency Braking, a Lane Support System, and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Path. The optional Tech Pack adds Level 2 autonomous driving with Intelligent Speed Assist w/Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Attention Assist, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lateral Control/Lane Support with Lane Control and Traffic Jam Assist.
A Harman-Kardon premium sound system with 14 speakers and 465 watts of power is also available for the GT Plus and R/T Plus models, while wireless charging comes standard as well.
Pricing and availability
Dodge has confirmed that the Hornet GT will start at $29,995 before destination while the R/T will be available from $39,995 before destination. Pricing details for the available options and packages options haven’t been announced. What we do know is that orders have opened today and that the GT will start to arrive in dealerships in late 2022 while the Hornet R/T will launch in the spring of 2023. The new Hornet will be built alongside the Alfa Romeo Tonale in Italy.