The second day of Dodge’s muscle announcements focused on what they called a “gateway vehicle.” We had guessed that it would be some sort of hybrid Challenger or Charger to bridge the gap between the current gas-powered models and any EVs that come in the future. We were half right, as it is a hybrid, but it is not a Challenger or Charger. Instead, Dodge’s newest vehicle is a small crossover, which is one of the hottest segments in the United States. However, the brand that brought us the Hellcat cars is taking a very different approach at their small SUV, offering a vehicle that is fun to drive, packed with technology, and still affordable.
Tim Kinuskis, Dodge chief executive, noted:
The Dodge brand’s electrified transformation has left the starting line, with the all-new Dodge Hornet R/T representing the first electrified performance vehicle from Dodge. The Dodge Hornet is poised to jolt the mainstream compact utility vehicle segment with looks, feel and performance that are unmistakably Dodge. Hornet shakes up the status quo with aggressive Dodge styling, the most power in the segment from our multi-energy lineup, the best driving dynamics, a full lineup of segment-exclusive performance features, the best standard technology, as well available Direct Connection factory-backed performance upgrades. And this is just the start of the Dodge brand’s electrification journey.”
Some people might scoff at Dodge calling this small SUV “muscle”, but after making a muscular sedan and a muscular large SUV, it makes sense for the brand to make a muscular small vehicle.
Dodge Hornet Trim Levels
When the 2023 Dodge Hornet goes on sale later this year, it will be offered in two trim levels – GT and R/T.
The Hornet GT (shown here) is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that will deliver at least 265 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque (final power numbers have not yet been determined). This engine makes the Hornet GT the quickest, fastest and most powerful vehicle in the segment for under $30,000, with help from a standard 9-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel-drive. The GT features a Sport Mode which leads to sharper throttle response, optimized upshifts, tighter steering, and tweaks to the electronic limited slip differential, allowing the gas-powered Hornet to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
The Hornet R/T is the Dodge brand’s first plug-in hybrid, featuring a turbocharged 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission which work in conjunction with a rear axle-mounted electric motor. This combined system will deliver at least 285 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, with the advanced all-wheel-drive system helping to put that power to the road. This model also features the unique PowerShot system, which provides 25 extra horsepower in 15-second bursts. When using PowerShot, the Hornet R/T PHEV hits 60 from a stop in just 6.1 seconds, but the system can also be used for extra passing power, so it isnt just for hard launches.
Option Packages and Colors
When the Dodge Hornet goes on sale, it will be available with two option packages – the Blacktop Package and the Track Pack. The Blacktop package adds 18-inch black wheels, black mirror caps, black badging and black DLO moldings. The Track Pack sounds like a ton of fun, adding 20-inch wheels, Brembo front brakes, specially tuned adaptive suspension with Koni dampers and Alcantara interior trim.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet will be available in 8 exterior colors – Acapulco Gold, Blu Bayou, Blue Steele (shown here), Gray Cray, Hot Tamale, Q Ball and 8 Ball.
Interior Technology Galore
Pretty much every new vehicle comes with technology that was reserved for luxury models within the past few years, but with the Hornet, Dodge has gone all out in terms of interior tech.
Standard features in every new Dodge Hornet include a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, running the latest UConnect 5 software. This Android-based software offers loads of customization to meet the driver’s needs, with a variety of layouts to provide better access to things like the sound system, climate control, navigation and smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. These cars also come standard with wireless phone charging and Amazon Alexa compatibility, while Level 2 autonomy and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are available.
When the Dodge Hornet goes on sale later this year, the GT model will start at $29,995 and top out at $34,995 while the R/T PHEV starts at $39,995 and climbs to $44,995 when loaded up.