Dodge Hornet Packs Muscular Performance into a Small SUV

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.

2023 Dodge Hornet

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.

2023 Dodge Hornet

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.

2023 Dodge Hornet

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.

2023 Dodge Hornet

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.

See for more photos, information, and specs.

43 thoughts on “Dodge Hornet Packs Muscular Performance into a Small SUV”

  1. Ughk!!!
    Okay, so……..Yeah I’m at a loss for words right now and not completely in a good way.
    Initial thoughts: I’m trying to be positive but it’s hard.
    Yeah, soooo, I already mentioned before what I figured was going to happen with the GLH and that’s kind of what happened. I understand this vehicle from a marketing performance and yes. T.K was right in what he said. it’s an opportunity to inject a lot of Dodge performance into an otherwise boring vanilla market. The GLH idea is a good idea. Are we looking at a 300+ HP vehicle that this particular market hasn’t seen absolutely. Are we looking at a vehicle that’s going to have a ton of performance parts from Direct Connection and an aftermarket following? more than likely. I liked the presentation. I did geek out a little when I saw the GLH and even got a little excited when I heard what the Track pack offered on the GT and I’m thinking, “what more will the GLH offer?” I’m also wondering about the “Hurricane-4. The regular Hornet R/T makes 285+hp and 383lb-ft of torque, putting the torque just 12lb-ft shy of the 5.7L Hemi. If that’s the case, This truly means that the GLH should eclipse 400lb-ft of torque and over 300hp. If that’s the new base engine for the upcoming performance vehicles from Dodge, we’re good, especially if these are smaller lighter cars. But also seeing this, It lets us see what the new body language for dodge is going to be for the next-gen cars (more specifically, the next “Charger”) . We already got a glimpse awhile back of “the red car under the cover” and it’s side vents and design are an exaggerated version of what we see on the GLH. Looking at the slideshows from EV Day, we can see the next gen sedan has the narrow headlights similar to what we see on the Hornet. We also know it’s getting a large spoiler, and similar styling from the ’99 Charger Concept. T.K. also spilled something else today in calling the R/T the “First electrified Dodge”, but it’s not all electric, it’s a hybrid. To me, that indicates that these next “muscle cars'” are not going to be all fully electric but mostly hybrids with Hurricane-4 and Hurricane-6 powerplants while the top end car will most likely be electric. Tim also said tomorrows presentation is going to be deafening! I’m not totally upset right now about this because I understand what’s going on and yes it’s new. However, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow will be better news!

    • I believe that they should have put the 1.3 Turbo w/ 6A, mild or no hybrid in the G.T. and the 2.0 Turbo plug-in hybrid W/ 9A or 6A hybridized in the R/T. Need over 300 H.P. to be competitive in that segment. Toyota GR Corolla has a MIGHTY 1.5 I-3 Turbo w/ 300+ H.P. ($40-45K base). The price point should be close. No substitution for cubic inches (LOL). Anyway tomorrow MIGHT be a better day my friend.

      • Agreed. While I tried to stay as positive as I could and focus on other aspects and not just the car itself. I hoped that my reply to the news of the Hornet would be an almost sheer veil to my overall disappointment. While I do see the reasoning behind the move to create the Hornet in the first place and I understand that Dodge is pushing the boundaries in segments that it does not normally entertain for the sake of survival, I do feel it could have been better executed. Mostly in styling. As I said, it does give some foreshadowing to the upcoming “performance vehicles” and overall, the reason it doesn’t work on Hornet is mostly because of size and proportion. The Hornet looks awkward.
        Here are my honest thoughts of what I feel the brand is about to do. I’ve hinted this before but I’m going to fully come out and say it. I’m not worried about Dodge turning the Challenger or Charger into a Mach E type vehicle, per say. However, T.K is moving the brand into more profitable segments. Let’s be honest, although Dodge has made a killing with the Charger, Challenger and Durango, Those segments aren’t the hottest segments anymore. We all know this to be true. There aren’t very many coupes in the world and crossovers and SUVs both large and small have taken over the sedan market. We also had this fad of SUV coupes for awhile from Mercedes, BMW and Porsche. As I said before I don’t see the Charger and Challenger name being used on these vehicles but I do feel like we are going to start seeing more “performance vehicles” in the same vein of the Mach E, the new Blazer SS, the Kia EV6 GT, the upcoming Toyota Crown, the Ford EVOS thing, the Lamborghini Urus, the Audi RS Q8, and other vehicles of this type. These vehicles pack major performance (minus the Ford junk) into platforms that blend performance with better than a car practicality. Dodge has a plethora of names that it could use for the upcoming performance vehicles and if they’re going to pull out the GLH moniker and Direct Connection and the SRT brand is gone. Beyond the Magnum Idea, names like the Dodge Stealth, Dodge Daytona, Dodge Avenger and Dodge Viper come to mine along with resurrected names from AMC (the place where the Hornet derived from). Names like Javelin & Rebel could also be used. We already found out why Dodge is resurrecting the Cuda nameplate because of the Direct Connection Cuda cars that are coming out along with the GTX. If you think about it, the other names make more sense because these are cars that are associated with non V8 powertrains and for their time, were the pinnacles of Mopar performance. Could the Dart be resurrected as a hot-hatch to do battle with the Corolla GR, the Civic Type R and the more than likely future Acura Integra Type S? Sure it could. Given the guestimated specs of the GLH Hornet, that kind of power in a hatchback car would destroy a Type R civic, Teggy or the Corolla GR. While the loss of the Challenger wouldn’t truly upset me, could I live with a twin-turbo Inline-6, AWD low riding crossover that’s RWD based and has most of the anatomy of Charger that got a dose of evolutionary design? Absolutely! Especially one with a list of Direct connection parts. I had a current gen Charger and while I loved it, it didn’t have quite enough room inside. I’m an outdoors person so I needed a bit more room. Would a car that has better performance than the current scat pack with a bit more room be ideal for me? The answer is absolutely YES! A vehicle like that with the option of a base Hurricane 4 pushing out over 300hp and 470lb-ft of torque with two conventional 3.0L Hurricane-6 powerplants, a hybrid one and a top of the line electric version would be great! It would bridge the gap between the Charger and current Durango and also leave room for when the Durango goes on and goes to Body on Frame. IDK I could be wrong but that’s just what i speculate. like i said, hopefully tomorrow will bring better news.

        • Of course tomorrow will bring better news. Let’s call this good enough news. We could see a performance SUV on the STLA large platform, the new Challenger and Charger are a definite and something like a midsize Giulia coupe spin off Avenger could be in the works. Throw in a new Durango and a Viper spun off the Alfa Romeo spun off Maserati MC-20 donor that’s imminent and we have more than better news, we have a dream to follow to fruition. Now should you and I feel better? I see better in your thinking and mine too. Much better.

  2. As for the vehicle itself… I can’t say I like it all that much. It already looks dated and I can’t say I think the front looks all that great. Then from the side, it looks curved and rounded like and Alfa, while the front is more angular. I truly think it looks dated already and not all that appealing. If you turn on a video game and there is a generic crossover in the game, it looks like this.

    Despite my poo poo-ing it’s looks, I hope it succeeds to some degree. I just… I just don’t know if people will think of Dodge for a crossover that really doesn’t provide anything all that stellar. This honestly seems more like a stop-gap before they can make something better. The Dart seemed more significant to me than this.

  3. Same old, as USUAL, fugly suv junk. SUV’s are like cell phones, a scourge on society. Time to go to a manufacturer that actually makes nice looking, REAL cars. Bye Mopar.

  4. WOW, what a huge let down, i was looking forward to seeing some out of this world futuristic Challenger or Charger, but what happens, another ugly, bad handling, no styling, non aerodynamic, slow, glorified dump truck called an SUV. Not only that, its only a rebadged European thing, not even new from the USA. All the best cars are going to China, they must be really laughing their heads off. Best place to buy an American car is in China. Hey Biden, better stay good friends with China, other wise we will never see any gorgeous American cars.

  5. Bad day, just looking at the write up on another car site, they really rubbish this bread box thing called an SUV. Come on America, need great cars like the 1970s, not square house brick looking things, i would be a shame to park an SUV in my drive.

      • Glad to see you are so open minded. Think this Hornet will do ok. There are folks out there waiting for a pocket rocker and another Dodge. Actually wish it could have mor3 tied to the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, etc. Quite a world following there. So what if it is a cousin to Fiat – not a %500 either. They do make great cars in their stable – think Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, etc. Need to have a broader view of the world there my friend you might be surprised.

      • No, not really. It is an FCA vehicle, certainly no 500. The aHornet will do well if more open minded people will really honestly look at it. The motor is a MOPAR based motor, shared with others, and is a good one. The front end does have some Mitsubishi, but that is okay. Should have stayed with them. Had GLH-A before and a Shadow with the 2.2 turbo. Great cars stayed with them anyway, far superior engineering there. The GLH version I certainly look at as have owned one before.

  6. Agreed! Don’t forget the lovely Honda Crosstour that started that whole craze. Glad you said Mach E “type” and nothing further. P.S.A: A.M.C. Hornet began life as the Hudson Hornet which was a brand that was purchased by A.M.C. After their demise. Have a good one!

  7. OK guys, give me a break. The Hornet is NOT a Fiat, in and of itself, not a bad thing in this segment, but as everyone knew, spin off of the Alfa Romeo Tonale. That SUV has been lauded globally for its performance, handling dynamics, advanced technology and gorgeous styling so calling this dated is insincere at best. Dodge did a reasonably good job of giving the vehicle a Dodge look on a excellent base that every Dodge dealer and most Dodge fans should be thrilled to add to the brand line up. Is it all everyone might wish for, probably not. Is it a very competitive, actually important addition to our brand, of course and this Dodge guy is glad to have it in the line up. Sales numbers, not unfounded negativity will determine the final call on the Hornet. My personal first impression is not a home run, but clearly a triple. Really guys, give me a break and be honest here, it’s a vehicle that Dodge needed and we can’t expect much more from a compact SUV.

    • Hey Billy, Give you a break? Seriously? Ever heard of FCA LLC? If not, let me spell it out for you. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Limited Liability Corporation. The 2.0 Turbo in the Hornet (a.k.a. Toenail) is the same engine that’s in the Giulia and Stelvio.

      • Very seriously, I have been a Chrysler Corporation and ALL its derivatives stock holder, a total Mopar owner, racer, collector for decades and I know the deal. Indeed, some commenters that are totally engaged on this topic need to give me and reality a break, this is not the then, it’s the now and reality, resources, corporate guidelines and the market dictates that reality. Dodge desperately needs volume product to sustain the Challengers, Chargers and hopefully the Vipers that define the brand. If they could live with the Caravan and Journey to keep Dodge alive, they can certainly embrace this frankly, very impressive and affordable volume intent SUV. Yes my friend, I know the deal and I need a break from the overblown rhetoric that denigrates the effort and the brand performance personality that Dodge has done such a good job of executing in a very lucrative segment. I close with one more request from the engaged…open your eyes!

        • WOW! Very impressed with all of your credentials. Especially the part about the “racer and collector for decades”. Sorry to hear about that stockholder situation.

          • It in fact, over many guises, has been one of my best investments. STLA and it’s Ferrari split are growing well and paying dividends. It’s had speed bumps, but no regrets. My ‘69 Barracuda drag car and my highly collectible original ‘70 Challenger R/T four speed are now memories sold and gone, I made a bundle on them along with more enjoyment money could buy. Mopar to my bones.

          • Never said there would not be any buyers. Not a bad looking vehicle. Decent power for its class.Quality to be determined. Not a Stellantis hater. Presently and previously own or have owned a number of MOPAR cars, S.U.V.s and Pickups. Signing off.

            • Point being the close relationship between Hornet and Tonale will have negligible impact on either brand in North America since they will appeal to a very different demographic and likely not be cross shopped. Hornet will be just what it is, a Dodge and a very good one at that as Alfa Romeo quality is first rate on recent vehicles. My Cherokee is, in my opinion, a best in class SUV, and it has some Alfa Romeo roots which make it a barometer for Hornet success. Car nuts know below the surface on things like this, few in the general buying public will know or care less. Me, I hope for lots more sharing between Alfa Romeo and Dodge, it bodes well for both brands.

  8. I think that most of us in here are on the same page about the Hornet. Will it appeal to a certain crowd? of course it will. Are most of us in here a part of that crowd? I don’t think so. What we can say is that we know T.K and team do read our comments and conversations as he said he does during Monday’s Current muscle announcement. The Hornet isn’t horrible, it’s just not for us. I feel it to be a “compliance” vehicle and a vehicle to generate the revenue needed to continue to make the other cars that “we the people” want. While V8 Muscle cars and V10 vipers are not going to be around anymore, we already know that Dodge is going to give us vehicles we are going to enjoy for years to come while doing what they can to be compliant so they can continue to do what they’ve been doing for so long.

  9. I sure hope its not another “modern Dart” crash i just never was impressed with the hornet (AMC) except in pro stock trim (Wally Booth) days.

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